Today I inspected my mothers have and we took a large swarm prevention split off it. The hive is a single brood with full flow- the standard flow configuration.
the flow super is very heavy and mostly fully capped honey. However all the central four frames have the distinctive pattern where there is a large half disc section at the bottom of the frame that is completely uncapped- and empty of nectar. Those sections are also covered in more propolis so look darker. The bees are clearly leaving those sections open for the queen to lay in -the classic pattern- however obviously she cannot because of the queen excluder. Those sections are problematic because it wouldn’t be wise to harvest those frames as is - due to honey leaking out of the open cells.
Two weeks ago I inspected my brothers hive: it had the same pattern. I also inspected my own flow hybrid: same pattern. Last year on my flow hybrid the bees never capped those section even after an entire season.
What’s the solution? One seems to be adding a second brood box- I think that would work. But for a suburban hive having a huge colony is not always desirable. I know my mum doesn’t want hers any bigger- and I know I have more than enough bees flying around my own backyard as it is…
So- my idea is to add ideal boxes between the single brood and the flow- and above the QX. The idea would be that the bees could leave that half moon uncapped section in the ideal super instead of at the bottom of the flow frames. The ideal could be left on over winter for extra stores for the bees- also giving them more room in spring to expand into. You could periodically harvest ideal frames or just leave them permanently and harvest only the flow frames.
anyone tried this- have a reason they think its a bad idea- or any other thoughts about that uncapped pattern?