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Remove flow frame super if won’t be ready before winter

I see lots of bees for past 2 months on my flow super, but there is no honey ready; not even close. I’m thinking there is no way they could get it done for fall/winter fast approaching. Should I just remove the super and let them concentrate on the 2 brood boxes for them to create winter food supply? The brood boxes look healthy, with brood and some honey…but not enough for winter. I may not be able to get honey this year(year.1).
Have others had similar experiences in past?
Thank you.

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!

Yes. The Flow super should not really be on the hive at all, unless the lower 2 brood boxes are full. It is very unusual for most people to get honey from a hive in the first year, unless you live in a real nectar haven. You may need to feed them in the fall and even over winter if they don’t have enough stores.


Welcome to the forum Celine and thanks for reaching out for advice. Normally if a hive builds up to a double brood hive in the first year you have done well. The common mistake is adding the super too early when it isn’t needed by the bees. So I agree with Dawn and remove it so the bees have less space to heat. Sure, monitor the stores in the brood boxes and feed syrup as needed in the fall and over Winter. Expecting to harvest honey in the first year isn’t likely if you have a short harvesting season.


I third the motion. Remove the super now. Where I live there is no point to ever leave a flow super on over winter and if we do they can get moldy and age must faster then if we remove them. Sometimes there is unripe nectar in the super when we remove them- if that’s the case we harvest it off the hive and freeze the nectar to feed back to the bees just before spring.


I have a similar situation, except it’s just 2 brood boxes of which they barely started on the 2nd brood box.
This is my first year with a hive and I started with 6 filled frames and 2 empty ones.
The 2 empty ones are now just about filled up.
Last Sunday I saw them festooning a bit in the empty top brood box. (empty as in not even cells)
So I’m thinking of removing the 2nd brood box, as I suspect they won’t finish filling those up at all by winter.

I suppose I just take it off, put it down next to the hive and wait until the bees have found their way back to the hive?


Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!

You can shake them off into the hive. A quick downward movement will get most of them off, and it doesn’t hurt them. They usually don’t even get annoyed about it. :blush:

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I agree with Dawn’s advice and with you Winter approaching the bees will benefit from a smaller space to keep warm. You might need to feed them with syrup over the winter. Remove the top box off the hive as with the cooler weather they are not going to do much with the extra box which they probably didn’t need.


Hi Peter48,

I have one brood box and installed the flow super last month, the bees seem to have finished sealing the flow super combs and just started that I can see adding nectar to the middle combs that I can see from the front. When I look at the side windows I don’t see any nectar in the combs. If I am reading correctly is the suggestion that I remove the flow Super and do not add any other box and just leave the one brood box that is full brood, pollen and Honey?

With your winter coming the colony will pack down with less bees in the colony and a smaller brood size so the bees will move some of the pollen and nectar down into the brood box to have it close to the brood so you might see the super will become empty of store, that is quiet normal in a cold climate If the super is empty then my advice would be to then remove it so that the bees can easier maintain the needed heat in the hive. It serves no positive purpose to have an empty super on the hive.
I’m not advising taking the super off the hive if there is stores in it. In the Winter it isn’t likely the bees will forage enough to produce a surplus so I wouldn’t think an empty box added makes sense.
When I had hives in Winters of 20F they began Winter as double brood hives and a medium super of stores, by the end of Winter the medium was empty and removed and the brood was less than 50% as found in Spring thru to the fall. In Summer those hives had stacked supers on the hives, often 4 supers deep when I couldn’t keep up with extracting in a strong flow.
Hope that explains better Mike

Mike’s super is a Flow - he needs to take it off for winter, stores or not.

Flow frames were designed for ease of harvesting, not for overwintering, the latter being hazardous to the queen as most Flow supers are placed above a queen excluder. Clustered bees needing to move upwards for honey can inadvertently leave their queen behind - she cannot get through the excluder and will die of starvation and cold. Never mind the issues with propolis, mold and residing pests.