My mean girls have completely propolized the flow frames with really orange colored propolis and they are really thick crawling on the flow frames. I see them diving into the cells but they have not given us any honey yet. I started late this year, crazy spring weather. I put the flow frames on as the second box but the queen is a busy bee. Do to the heavy bearding, I thought they were going to swarm do to being out of room so I took the super off and added a second box then I added the honey super back on as the third box about 2 weeks ago. They immediately left the honey super flow frames alone and went to work on the new box of empty frames. Now they have started coming back into the honey super. Hopefully I will see some honey soon. They are still bearding in the late afternoon but I think that is to cool off, not to swarm. I did wipe burr comb on the flow frames. Any thoughts ???
My guess is that beekeepers in your area use two deep brood boxes to get thru the winter. I would take the flow super off until the second brood box you have is 80% full. Once they have that full then you can confidently put on the flow super. Depending on what kind of fall flow you have they may put some excess honey in the flow super but at this point your focus should be to get them the resources they need to make it thru the winter. Having too much room will slow them down because they have to work harder to regulate the temperature in the hive. In my first year I didn’t harvest until the end of August. I got a little over 2 gallons from the 6 flow frames. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get honey this year but it sounds promising that they were closing the cells in the flow frames. I am sure they will go right back to work on the flow frames once they have the second brood box full.
Hi Chris, @Bianca gave what I thought was excellent advice on how to get bees to fill flow frames. The thread is “Advice needed, bees seem to reject floframes”.
Thanks for reaching out to the Flow Forum with your experience.
As @JeffH has kindly pointed out, I offered some guidelines on this topic to another forum member that you might like to review. I’ve personalised the notes to suit you a little below.
- Only add the Flow Super when every other frame in the hive is completely drawn out!
- Only use 1 brood box and 1 Flow Super in your hive set up
- Only add the Flow Super when your brood box is heaving with bees and looks similar to the photo below
- Only add the Flow Super when you know from local and experienced knowledge that there is plenty of forage available for your bees and it is the right time in the season
Every bee colony is different and their performance can depend on a myriad of factors. Bees will show preference to traditional empty frames, however, after your first harvest you will not notice a difference. I strongly recommend you adopt an intuitive and carefully observant approach for reading your hive and environment in order to make the right decisions for your colony.
Good luck and feel free to consult a Flow customer support member by emailing us at email@example.com
Hey Chris, you got good advice and lots to read now but my one tip for you is this: bees propolizing Flow frames is a dead giveaway that they are not ready to use it for honey storage. Bees will propolize the bejesus out of anything they see as unwanted space. Make sure you wash off that gunk before storing the frames, or it might be very difficult to operate when the time comes.
Thanks everyone. I will keep trying. I think they would have probably filled the super with honey by now if I had not of interrupted them by adding that second brood box. By the way, I forgot to mention that there was some comb on top of the queen excluder and it had some of the best looking golden honey on it that I’ve ever seen. Not sure why it was there.
My bees love doing that too, just below the Flow frames. I think they do it as a protest for me putting a queen excluder in their way!
Sounds like your on your way ! Got a question or two … Have you checked with any local beekeeper or club ? Sounds like your running double deep 8 frame boxes … n have a 6 frame standard Flow-Super, right ? That would be normal for us northern Hemisphere beekeeping folks. It’s really helpful to help us by sharing several photos of your setup, top view of both … a couple of your flow-frames too (full frame n close-ups) help us give you better n more accurate ideas.
Here are several photo examples:
I’m in my third season with my two flows. First year it was way to late in the season to expect more than my two double deeps combed out n a winter supply of 60 plus lbs of Liquid Gold for their winter dining n survival needs. Last year (2017) looked more than hopeful. But a dreath hit us here in our part of Puget Sound forcing all my hives to draw all the honey back down into the lower two deeps. Our success was was wintering over all hives because all my colonies end up with enough honey to survive.
Now we are crossing our finger that we will have successful (2018) harvest. Our main flow (blackberry) is winding down. I’m hoping plenty weeds next to keep a positive inward nectar flow. It sounds like you have a great score of harvest …
Can you see any honey going into the cells in the Flow frames from the rear viewing window?
I can only see a mass of bees on both sides of frame # 3 n 4 but they haven’t worked to the window end as far as see nectar bro. We are on the down hill side of our Biggy flow of the summer. I got 10 hives n they haven’t really gotten much in my shallow honey supers either. It’s a nectar flow n bee population numbers game up here. In Puget Sound out of Seattle … it’s tricky … I’m at the edge of urban city (use to be forest n small farms) so not sure if my bee numbers are low to
bring the harvest in or just on the edge of not enough nectar crop. Last inspection the bee numbers n capped n mixed brood looked okay. They have plenty of honey in the lower double deep boxes. So wouldn’t take much to them storing if a couple of small flows hit.
Hope that is what you were driving at about how my bees are doing. I’ll have 60 to 80 lbs of honey easy per 8 n 10 deep frame langstroths.
P.S. I even set a shallow honey super over the Flow-Super to entice the girls up. There!s just not a push upward yet.
Hi Gerald, great description of your situation thanks…
I was hoping you were seeing a bit of honey in the end widows, but there might be time yet! I couldn’t fill two deeps and get anything in a top super so I think you are doing well. All the best with them
Appreciate the note ! I’m part of a local college research group of hives with Green River college here n their bug professor is my mentor n we also work together with about 80 other hives in 4 or 5 locations. Each apiary is having varying degrees of success or lack of also.
Like everyone I yearly look forward to a treat of golden honey but not in a panic or fret when the sweet harvest slips out of my reach. More what we are trying is to see what may or may not work best locally here in Puget Sound region. The area is a collauge of beach, lowland, city, Burbs, foothills n mountain situation.
Our weather like yours can be variable n tricky. Winters are cool to cold, wet to just damp, long n gray. Summer usually start first of July n last only thru August. Our Springs are usually cool n off/on wet but this year is proving to be rather the reverse. I’m a serious Wx buff so have Wx instruments n keep records in logs as well as submit data to a Noaa program.
This season I’ve started raise several 5 frame Nuc colonies that I use for stealing needed extra brood for my 8 n 10 frame colonies when they have number/worker issues. I’m having to learn n watch these (what I call Chimney hives) fast growing vertical colonies that can flare n rapidly push up like a semi-controlled chimney fire ! .
Well ! Got to get the old coffee ️ pot brewing n another summer day started. Just let the old hens loss for the day n I’ll check my garden for water needs soon.
Cheer n happy Beekeeping,
Here’s a couple early morning pix from one of my two apiaries…