Rotating frames out

Hi brains trust.
We have a frame in our brood box that it always light on brood and activity and we want to rotate it out. It’s 2nd from the edge.
Hive is otherwise strong.

I’ve read how to do it with a normal hive, but how do we do it when we have a flow super on top?
Am I right in saying we just have to sacrifice the bit of brood that’s in it?
Can we just take it out and replace it with a frame of foundation?
Thanks in advance.

If your hive is strong then take it out and feed to the chooks.


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Hi Ron, I’d be inclined to suggest you wait until the colony is strong enough to split. In the mean time you could get a second brood box ready for when the time comes. Most beekeepers will advise that we need at least 2 colonies going. Just in case something goes wrong with the first one. The second hive can be traditional, in that case you can manipulate the frames back & forth.

Cedar suggests to cycle the brood frames out by placing them in the roof. It can be done (it IS a tight fit) if you open the hole in the crown board, also you need to have a decent population of bees in the honey super. I would cut any drone comb out first. I’d only leave worker brood in the frame.

A couple of things to think about, cheers


Hiya Jeff, if you added another box on top of the super and put one brood frame in it would the bees find it and look after the brood until it’s all emerged or would you finish up having to feed it to the chooks. :smiley:

Hi Skegley, I believe the bees would look after the brood much the same as they would if it was in the roof. I would only do it if there was plenty of bees in the flow super. However it’s just natural for bees to take care of brood & they will be drawn to it, regardless of what part of the hive it’s placed.

The only caution would be if there wasn’t enough bees in the colony to care for it. The brood could either perish from cold, or overheat. It could also be a place for beetles to start laying, if that applies.

Yes, Ron, you can remove that frame and replace it with a fresh wired frame of foundation straight away if you wish. Or you could make it an outer frame to see if the bees will use it for a stores frame.
Can you see anything visually that is turning the bees off wanting to use it. A pic of the frame might give us a clue. A poorly embedded wire into the foundation is easily seen as rows of empty cells.

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Thanks everyone.
I didn’t take a photos of it sadly. Wax is dark (I know that’s not an issue in itself) and was only about a quarter or less filled with brood 2 weeks ago, and was the same yesterday. Couldn’t see anything in them, even with the thick glasses i bought in the dollar shop just for that reason.

Hive weight has built about 13kg in a month, but the flow seems to have stopped. It’s been steady for 9 days now.

Heaps of bees in both the brood box and the super, and the super is about 75% full of honey/nectar.

Seeing the odd hive beetle and an occasional wax moth larvae, but neither of them in numbers I’m worried about.

Queen is laying all the way to the inside face of the outside frames… But not the frame talked about earlier. They seem to be very calm bees when we do inspections so I hope I can prevent swarming next spring and hold on to her majesty for another season.

That’s about it really.

Hi Ron we have learnt from @jeffh that a second hive or preparation for a split is essential for long term management of the hive.
We now carry two flow hives but prior to that even with one flow hive we always had a spare 5 frame nuc box and spare frames ready to go to do a split. After about 2 months we just sell the split. Always someone to take them and this way you don’t loose from them swarming on you. This way you have somewhere to rotate frames to.
Our splits are placed one metre from the original and we have done a few now.
We have typically had to do one split per flowhive a year.


That sounds like you have a good hive and your up and running with a good laying queen.
You should work on the theory that every spring you have at least the potential for at least one swarming from your hive, you should prepare for that and have an action plan in place for when it happens.
The weight increase will be up and down over a season and a steady increase is something to be happy about.
Cheers Ron

Thanks Pete
I plan on being well prepared for next sprinng. I’m a little apprehensive about it, but plenty of reading over winter should have me feeling better.
Hey, if you or JeffH are ever anywhere near coogee in Sydney, if love to buy you a beer. Your advice has been very welcome.
Same goes for Dawn.


Very generous of you, thank you! It is my ambition to visit Australia one day, but at the moment I am a bit overwhelmed with family illness in the UK whilst living in the US. Priorities suck sometimes! :thinking:

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That could be a pint as well. Assuming you’re anywhere near Carlisle next Christmas. I’m married to a Cumbrian.