One super or two?

My brood box seems to be jam-packed with bees. I don’t particularly want more hives (I have only one) so can I add another super with empty frames (not Flow hive frames) and let them make honey for their winter feed? That way I feel I can just harvest the honey from the original Flow Hive super.

Adding another super will increase the space for bees but that won’t stop the colony from swarming. Maybe contact a local bee keeper and ask him to do a split of your hive and offer him the split if you don’t want a second hive.
Having a second hive has many advantages beyond twice the amount of honey. The extra time do a 2nd inspection is not much really, the time is taken up by suiting up and getting the smoker going well. :thinking:


Thank you. I will give a second hive some serious thought…:nerd_face:

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In the UK, that is an excellent idea. With British National and WBC hives, many British beekeepers run “brood and a half” hives for winter stores. You need that to get through winter without feeding syrup and fondant.

If you do add a box, I would chose a medium depth Langstroth box if you have a flow hive. If you have a National, chose a normal super depth box, not a brood depth box. Make sure you take the queen excluder out by September, so that the bees don’t form a cluster above it. :wink:

I wouldn’t split a hive in the UK in August. Too little time for them to build up before winter. :blush:


I suggested a split as an option to weaken out the hive to prevent or at least lower the risk of swarming. But as @Magpie40 only says she lives in England, with its variants in climate, I advised involving a local bee keeper if she wanted to go that way, he should know her local climate and so be in a far better position to advise her about when winter normally happens and how severe it might be.

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Sorry Peter, but I had a reason for saying what I wrote. Experience. :smile:

I used to be a “local” beekeeper in the UK. I kept bees there in various widely separated locations (Leeds, Oxford, the Chilterns, among others) until 1997, and with my husband, we only have about 30 years of beekeeping experience across much of the UK. :crazy_face:

The UK doesn’t have a huge variation in climate, as it is an island, not a continent, despite what Boris Johnson might think. :smile:

UK winters tend to be wet, windy and quite long. However, they are not usually full of prolonged ice and snow. Most places in the UK which are not mountainous will have no more than a week of snow each year. Summer usually happens one weekend at the end of July (British joke, which wasn’t true this year). Nowhere in the UK is even close to subtropical.

Everywhere in the UK will have had the bulk of its nectar flow by the end of July. Hence a split after June is risky. One in July or later is unwise. For next year, great idea. Two hives is also a great idea. Asking a local beekeeper is also a very good idea, but I was local once. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Of course the climate may have changed hugely since I left, thanks to our carbon emissions, but I doubt it has changed enough that my thoughts are outdated. :blush:

Just my humble thoughts, and trying to be helpful in case local advice is not available. :wink:

Edit: Climate zones in the UK for completeness, showing very little variation compared with the rest of Europe, the US and other continents :wink: :


I take your point but I wasn’t thinking anywhere in the UK is even remotely sub-tropical but neither would I regard the whole of the uk as having one climate, I have friends in Kent who don’t regard their winter as cold, wonder if they are just used to it.
That is the reason I suggested getting a local bee keeper involved. I figure he being there now and knowing the conditions he would know what best to do.
I’m having trouble with the past Summer and now the warmest winter on record trying to figure out what is happening here and how best to manage my hives, far be it than for me to advise someone in the UK, somewhere.
I won’t get involved in a chat about climate change world wide but it is changing enough here that past experience and here and now are different.

Thanks for your help. Do you mean a medium depth super box (not brood box) and if so, how deep is a medium depth? As you can tell, this is my first attempt at BK :blush:

Me again :nerd_face: Will the empty frames from my Flow hive fit the Langstroth super?

The wooden frames supplied for a Flow Hive brood box are the same measurements as those for a full depth Langstroth hive. But the Flow Frames as is in a Flow Hive Super are not able to be used in a Langstroth box as they sit higher from the bottom of the end lugs to the top of the frame.
Hope that answers your question. Where are you in England?

Well, this is all semantics, but just to be clear hive boxes can be brood boxes or supers no matter what the depth of the wood. Brood or super will depend on where you put them and what the bees do with them. Brood boxes are generally those which are placed below the queen excluder (QX). Supers are above the QX and are used only for the purposes of extracting honey, not for raising more bees. :blush: Beekeepers are often a bit sloppy in this terminology, but that is the correct way to use it.

So I mean a medium box, which is 6 and 5/8" deep or 16.8cm deep, like these in the US. I bet Thorne in the UK has something similar:

The wood frames supplied by Flow will not fit the depth, as the brood boxes are over 9 inches deep. The top bars will fit fine, just the brood frames will be too long. You will need to get some medium depth Langstroth frames (frames are 6 1/4" deep), and some medium Langstroth foundation if you want to use foundation.

Keep asking questions. They are all good ones! :wink:

British beekeepers have an interesting little aide-memoire:

A swarm in May is worth a stack of hay.
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.

In other words, swarms in July or later will likely not survive the winter, and won’t make you a good honey harvest that season. As a split is a kind of artificial swarm, the same wisdom could be applied to doing splits. :wink: Just my way of looking at it, but many British beekeepers think that way too.

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I just asked my husband for his detailed thoughts on this. He said definitely not to split at this time of year.

He had some additional thoughts to help you a bit:

  1. Go with the extra medium depth box. Put it below the Flow super.
  2. If the honey in the Flow super is capped, harvest it ASAP
  3. Take the Flow super off the hive after harvesting, otherwise the bees will jam the opening mechanism during the autumn, when they tend to go crazy with propolis in the hive.
  4. Feed them once the Flow super is off, especially if you intend to leave the medium box on the hive for the winter (he would, if they start using it).

Just another opinion to give you more options.

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A very interesting ditty Dawn, and could still apply for a climate change denier if they still can’t/won’t accept that in the case of England they are having a record breaking Summer heats.

As I have said before, for local climate conditions involving bee keeping for this Summer in England the best source of information would be a local bee keeper. I accept you don’t agree so I will pass to you for the last word on the subject.

Seems to me that Dawn is more than qualified to comment here about local conditions, much like we all do about areas we have either lived before or have knowledge of the climate.


If Climate change isn’t happening I would agree but friends in Kent, a part of England, tell me that this Summer there is much hotter than they have ever known. My advice was to ask a local bee keeper about the conditions now for advice, is there anything wrong in her doing that?

No nothing wrong with that, but here is your original advice…
“Maybe contact a local bee keeper and ask him to do a split of your hive and offer him the split if you don’t want a second hive.”
Dawn based her and her partners local experience simply knew this was not advisable and since Magpie40 was “seriously” considering it, she advised otherwise. The thread went a bit off track after that.

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I assumed that a local bee keeper would advise not to do a split if it wasn’t an option, geez, did I miss crossing a T or a full stop. Bee keepers with experience enough to do a split are worth listening to, in my opinion, about local conditions. All rather pedantic in my opinion. It certainly has gone off the thread. Maybe my answer was not as you would but I don’t really I would go into obvious details that a bee keeper would assume.

why not rotate 3 or 4 frames from the brood box into the new super, making sure there are no queen cells on the frames
put fresh frames for queeny to lay in and that should settle her down for a couple of weeks

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Thank you all for your advice but I never intended to start World War III among beekeepers :wink: