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Six vs three flow frames


#1

Modifying a Langstroth and not sure whether to do it for three or six flow frames.

Live outside Canberra - short summers.


#2

You will get lots of opinions on this. I would say people have mixed experience with the hybrid supers. The bees can be reluctant to use the Flow frames when traditional frames are available. Personally I would go for all Flow frames. :blush:


Photos of a 10 frame Langstroth Box made to fit Flow Frames
Flow Super Hybrid
#3

Dawn,
many thanks , I will keep feeding them over winter with sugar,

Many thanks

Jim


#4

I also would go for a complete flow super. I was able to produce some lovely natural combs in my hybrid super- but had issues with the flow frames not being consistently filled- and remaining uncapped for long periods. I also had more bridge and burr comb issues due to the spacing in a hybrid super.

having said that other people have had better luck than I did- and how much of my experience was down to that particular colony is impossible to say.

I just got rid of my hybrid and converted it to 6 flow frames- adding a box of foundation-less ideal frames for my comb honey production instead. For me that works out well as I can manage the two boxes separately: the ideal for comb and the flow for honey. I think it’s a great combination if you have a single backyard hive.


#5

We are testing our hybrid super now vs the full flow super so will be interested to see the results.
We put 2 fully capped standard frames next to them. I was very conscious of the bee spacing in that configuration so made brackets that filled the gaps at the top but allowed the standard frame to sit hard up against the flow frames. It is definately more fiddly doing the hybrid but it allows somewhere to rotate frames to. We also used plastic foundation next to flow frames in the hybrid thinking a bit more like for like materials.
Time will tell :grinning:


#6

If the frames are closer to the flow frames - do you have a bigger gap between them and the walls? I found on mine the bees consistently bridged from the combs to the walls (and window) meaning my perfect combs got a little ruptured whenever they were removed. That was one of the’issues’ that put me off the hybrid. I’d be tempted to put spacers in make the box slightly smaller and correct the bee space if I had persevered with it.

Basically I also tested side by side with multiple full flow boxes- and I preferred them.


#7

I think that the best thing to do with the traditional frames in a hybrid flow super would be to wire them up & fit wax foundation. That would eliminate most of that bridging comb.


#8

I would have agreed with you jeff… until I discovered the joys of 100% foundation-less cut honeycomb. I wired up a heap of frames- then decided I wanted to try and make as much foundation-less honeycomb as I can…

I watched a youtube lecture by a US based honeycomb producer- I was surprised to find he used foundation. Then I looked at looked at honeycomb for sale locally and noticed it was thick in the middle- which i assume is due to foundation. I like the idea of extra light ‘melt in your mouth’ foundationless virgin honeycomb for eating.


#9

It’s alright if you don’t have false teeth.

I produced honey comb commercially for a few years. I only used foundation. I did try foundationless with half frames once. However I found that foundation was best.

You DID mention bees consistently bridging combs to walls & combs got little ruptured whenever they were removed.


#10

In the US, you can buy extra thin foundation for comb honey.

I alternated full sheets with starter strips in one hive this year. As the colony was from a nucleus, they didn’t build up enough stores in the brood boxes to use it, but we will try again next season.


#11

I’ve got a few ideal boxes with just 1cm starter strips of wax. On two hives they drew them out beautifully and quickly and the resultant comb honey is super good. On another hive they’ve yet to get started on the frames. I put in one frame with foundation but the bees ignored that too so I took it out.

My brother checkerboarded foundationless/wired foundation. We cut the honey comb out and spun the wired frames: he has decided to get rid of the wired ones next time round and going ‘au natural’. My brother eats a chunk of honeycomb everyday now on his cereal for breakfast.

He decided to believe that the wax draws toxins out of the body after i theorised that it ‘might’. Even if it doesn’t: it does- if you believe it! Placebo. I’ve even started to half believe it myself! In fact I’m sure it’s true…:face_with_monocle:

When I sell my comb honey I’ll be stating ‘100% virgin comb- no wax foundation used’. I’ll educate my buyers as the difference. I think it’s a premium product - the most untouched honey you can get- and worth a few hurdles to achieve.

I also like that it’s cheaper.

I’d much rather eat a piece of fresh pure white comb than nibble on a sheet of foundation…

@jeffH I think I’d have had just as much bridge comb using foundation- the combs were beautifully drawn out and flat- it’s just that addition 1/4 inch of bee space in the flow hybrid. Even the flow frames bridge comb on the outer sides which you hardly get in a full flow box


#12

Yes have the bigger gap on the outside but so far so good. Only been a couple of weeks. The standard 8 frame has a bigger gap on the outside also but I suppose I haven’t really measured the distance on the hybrid. I didn’t think the bee space was an issue on the outside unless of course it was too small ?


#13

Hi Jeff why does the wax vs plastic foundation alter the depth they build?


#14

Hi Gaz, my point being that, if the bees purposely left that gap for their convenience, that’s possible with wax foundation. With plastic foundation, the bees only have the option of directing air around the outside of the frames. They probably do a pretty good job of that anyway.

The bees do a good job of working around whatever obstacle is present.

We often find gaps in honey & brood frames on the sides & tops that I assume the bees created to assist them with air flow.


#15

Many thanks - great advice and gone fit it with full flow.


#16

Hi Jack, believe me, you’ll get very little bridging comb by using wax foundation. I’m only going by my most recent experiences of putting wax foundation into my honey supers. You saw the results of that yourself in one of my videos earlier this year. Remember that frame that I said I was going to put back into the brood?


#17

Thanks Jeff, so that explains some of the random bridging comb in various areas. I thought they just did it to annoy us humans😀
We have my wife’s father’s ABC of Bees book that I think I’m on my 3rd run through now as we get more hands on experience. More questions coming your way soon!


#18

No worries Gaz, that’s a great book.

On the subject of bridging comb & obstacles: I once removed a colony out of a tea chest that was full of antique car parts. The bees found a gap in the corner. They built their comb in and around all of the parts.

Seeing all of the various places that bees move into is quite educational. Also the places where they build their nest after they find the gap can also keep you thinking & theorizing.


#19

Our bees create marvelous cut-comb honey on both deep and medium frames in our “foundationless” or naturally drawn comb hives. We’ve found the best way to keep the comb straight is to alternate it with already drawn comb, or to use starter strips on the frames.

Our bees often leave passages through the comb and also openings on the sides and/or bottom of the frames; this has not been a problem for stability of our comb. :purple_heart::honeybee::honey_pot:


#20

For the record, I’ve only been able to harvest from the hybrids so far.