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Notes on leaving flow super over winter


Great to see these updates @Faroe


Just for interest. I have left my Flow Super on over this Winter. I robbed only once this year with about 18Kg and the Flow was back to about 50% full when the main nectar flow finished. That 50% has not changed much, maybe down a bit. This week in one frame, the bees will fill and cap 90% of the cells, next week they will uncap and not so much consume a lot of the honey but just seem to shift it around to another frame and cap it.

Very hard to do a lot of monitoring because of cool weather however looking through the windows the hive has lost no vigour and honey stocks fairly constant.
We do have the advantage of having good sources of nectar and pollen all year and on days when its not too cold, or windy or rainy the bees certainly are out in force. Have a couple of months yet before the spring blooms but I am confident the leaving the Flow on over Winter succeeded. I am planning to extract all the honey in the Flow mid/late Spring to be ready for the Marri flow of nectar which is our main source of honey for the year.

I caution, that leaving the Flow on in other areas and climates may detrimental to the hive and in most cases should be removed over Winter…


I am guessing our climates would be similar and a few weeks ago I fitted my two flow supers and conventional supers on the rest of the hives, although it is winter the bees have been increasing the pollen and nectar in all the hives and no reduction in bee numbers.
I guess one mans winter is another mans summer. Today I did a split of a hive, brood and super, which if left much longer it would likely have swarmed. Here there is pollen and nectar foraging for all the year.


that’s a good idea to soak them first! that just might do the trick. Cheers!

Here are some pics- the empty frame is from the same hive as the full one. As you can see the empty one is far more affected. Obviously the honey in the wax forms a physical barrier, but you can see how the mold has not gone on to the surface of the capped honey, so I think that wax itself has anti-mold properties and the honey too no doubt.

It’s not pretty these frames are only18 months old.


Have you tried soaking in warm Caustic Soda, or sodium hypochlorite yet?


Jack, I would be surprised if that mould didn’t disappear if you soaked it in napisan/sodium hypochlorite for a few minutes.


Wow, that is a name I haven’t heard in over 50 years. :blush:


A household name in Australia still :slight_smile: Grew up with my step mum saying - “just soak it in some napisan” :fairy:

Although, I must say - I do not know of the exact ingredients in Napisan, maybe it is not just Sodium Hypochlorite. So, it would be best to check the ingredients and concentration before using on your Flow Frames.


Hi @semaphore Jack, after I read your post and went to open up my hive in Melbourne backyard, found a same problem as yours… I left 25% honey spread over 4 frames since end Feb, they either moved down to the brood box or have eaten most of the top flow frames honey and only has a handful size of capped honey left there until today… The 2 outter frames are getting moulds too, especially the one that has no sun… So I took all off and extracted the remaining honey and clean…

Initially I used 70C water with a tiny bottle brush to scrub in the laundry sink but going no where …i then used 100C boiling water from the kettle, it melt quickly the wax but some stubborn mould at the base wouldn’t come off so I resorted to the Kogan Steam Mop ($59 from their online store) where it comes with the extra attachment nozzle that pumps out 108C steam water… It worked well but having to do it outside as it spitted the melt wax everywhere sticking to my tools, clothes, shoes …a bee even came to check out when the waxing smell flying in the air.

So a lesson being learnt here, I will do my final extraction in Feb or March then remove it for autumn stores and over winter… My bees are foraging throughout winter but I don’t think it is sufficiently for extra stores.


I think I’ll likely do the same going forward. I was hoping for winter honey- but I think the bees use it as they collect it and have enough room in the brood.

However if I have a super over 50% full I might consider leaving it. I have some steam cleaning machines but would be s but worried the steam might damage the plastic? From what I understand steam can be 400c? I’d even worry at 100c ?

I’m going to try soaking mine in warm water with mild detergent then high pressure water spray. Hopefully a prolonged soaking will soften the mold…


You could try diluted White King (sodium hypochlorite - it’s like a liquid chlorine) …if you dare. Deadly on mould. Rinse off well I guess. See link to cleaning/sterilisation etc below…


@Semaphore Soak the frames in NapiSan for about 4 hours then rinse with water and let them air dry, the mold and the mold spores will be gone.


Hi Busso, I am in Siesta Park near the beach - always very humid - and this Is my first winter with a flow hive. I have had lots of condensation issues and have just checked the flow frames and have quite a big mould problem. I wondered If you could send me a photo of your strategy to improve ventilation described in this post as I can’t picture it. I have taken off the flow frames and will try the napisan solution after freezing them for a few days. Di


Have just looked through my photos and I don’t have one useful to you.
I’ll do one tomorrow and hopefully post tomorrow night


Thanks. I have been reading up on the moisture quilt. Have you tried one?



Even with good ventilation you will have humidity problems if your bee population isn’t high enough. Your idea to deal with the condensation in some way is important if you do’t remove the extra space.


@Dianne I used a vented flat lid this winter instead of the gable flow roof and have had far less of an issue with mould compared to last year (less = practically no mould)

This is the type of lid I used this year https://www.hiveworks.com.au/hive-lid-assembled-waxed~622

I also restricted the entry by 50%


would’t it be quite easy to put mesh over the inner cover hole - and put in some vents in the gable roof? I just drilled a bunch of small vent holes into my my mums gabled roof and now the damp that was sometimes there is gone.

Back to the Napisan: I have looked in several supermarkets but couln’t find it? Is it still widely available? I did soak one frame in a pre-soak stain removing powder with warm water and then sprayed it with a high pressure hose. It did remove some degree of the dark staining but the frame still doesn’t look like new.


@Semaphore you could drill holes. I had issues with leaking, and then roaches under flashing so I just got the vented lid - easier.

As for napisan, look for “Vanish”. Napisan is in smaller letters above that. (These two links are different)


No, but have thought about it. Mainly to help regulate the hive in Winter. High humidity I believe would benefit bees in that the temperature can be colder but the comfort up. You know the “feels like” the weather man quotes.
Water in the hive (unless on the sides of the boxs) is perilous for the hive and may cause them to abscond. Then again I am not an expert in this.

I have done it this way no mesh no bugs or anything in yet but its a good idea to mesh the hole.

on and have no problems except a bit of mist on the viewing perspex.