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Remove the super or not

Hi everyone,

For those who may not know, this is my first hive, I put the bees in around May 15th this year. I did an inspection of the hive today. The hive is doing amazing, 4 full frame of capped honey, good strong brood patterns with plenty of larvae on the remaining frames.

The bees seem to be working on the 3 center flow frames, I am now seeing a lot of bees towards the front viewing window of the hive and the flow frame box it self is nice and heavy.

Here is my dilemma, the daytime temperature has been hovering around 60 to 65° (18°C) on average if my math is correct.

Now the night time temperature has been around 40 to 45° on average and some times a little colder. I was going to remove the super and wrap the hive but the bees seem to be working very diligently on filling the frames.

During the day there is a lot of activity with foraging newbies doing their orientation flights.

So should I still remove the super or what until the daytime time temperature gets a little colder, the only reason I would leave the super on is to get honey for myself am I being selfish trying to push it.

The only thing I am not sure of is if the bees are replenishing what they are eating in the brood box.

Hi Mike, in your area your bees would do best with two brood boxes & it sounds like you have just one. Though it’s too late in the season for your colony to be able to expand to that size, you can still give them a good shot at making it through your cold NY winter! Or I could be wrong and you do have a second brood box? How have you been dealing with varroa mites so far?

Either way, your super should come off. The nectar being brought in now is typically more prone to crystallization - great for winter food supplies for the bees, but not ideal for Flow frames. And, any nectar coming in to a single brood colony heading for a cold winter right now needs to stay in that colony.

Another concern is that your bees might begin to propolize the Flow frames very soon if they haven’t already. That will literally gum up the works for future harvests, and be a difficult cleaning task for you. Is there any nectar or capped honey in those center frames? If so, try to drain it and then feed it back to your colony. You can put it into a jar or baggy feeder under the outer cover/roof, and continue to feed with 2:1 syrup when it’s gone.

After removing it and the QX, your Flow super can be placed on its side a distance away from your hive and the bees will clean up all remaining traces of nectar & honey. Then you can put it away for the winter after freezing the frames for 24-48 hrs and wrapping in burlap or cloth.

Have a look at info about insulation and other winter prep items you can do to boost a smaller colony’s chances of survival. Best of luck & keep us posted :blush:

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Hi Eva,

This is my fist hive and I only have one. I have not seen and varroa mites so far, unless I did the power test wrong. I can see the center frames towards the front have some capping and some on capped nectar closer to the front. I will take the flow super off and wrap the hive with 2" foam insulation. So whatever honey I get out of the center frames I should give back to the bees and also keep feeding the bees through the winter? I did order another flow hive to have for next spring.

Thank you for your advice much appreciated.

Sure thing Mike. Yes, you should feed back the honey to the bees - but I won’t tell if you have a little taste yourself :wink:. Do you know of any local beekeepers with experience in winter feeding? I’ve used white sugar moistened with a tiny bit of water just to keep it in a flattened clump shape, placed on a layer of newspaper directly on the top bars. Other beekeepers make or buy fondant, which I haven’t tried. Depending on the weather in late winter, you might need some supplemental pollen-based feed to help a small population rear new brood.

Hi Eva,
Unfortunately I don’t know any local beekeepers that do this as a hobby. There is one commercial beekeeper where I actually buy my honey from until I can start harvesting my own, he was a little helpful but once I mention the flow hive he sort of shutdown Annette and had a perplexed look on his face.

When I first received my nuc, I did feed them for a couple of weeks. I will purchase some pollen patties and will continue to feed them through the winter with any luck my bees will survive and hopefully I will be able to split a hive next spring.

Michael Smart,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Right, now I remember you mentioning that in an earlier post. Unfortunately you’re not alone in that experience - seems there are experienced beeks like the one you spoke to all over the world, who shut down newbeeks once the Flow hive is mentioned. Sad, because they lose a valuable chance to learn something too!

It might be worth finding another opportunity to tap this guy for his expertise on best practices for your local climate. Remember you don’t have to bring up the fact that you have a Flow - it’s just a different method of harvesting after all, and all aspects of beekeeping and hive management remain the same.

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