Substituting brood frames for one flow frame

Can I use two of my filled brood box frames in place of a flow frame, I thought this would encourage the bees to come up fadter

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Two brood frames wont replace one flow frame, however it’s a great idea to do that. It’s a good way to expand the colony. You could remove 2 flow frames from the middle, replace them with the 2 brood frames, close the gaps, then leave the gaps on the sides temporarily.

You will need to purchase more brood frames to replace the frames you moved up.


OK @JeffH, please forgive me, but I can’t pass up this opportunity. In your opinion, wouldn’t the best idea be to remove all Flow frames? :imp: Sorry @Karenk, this is a long-standing joke on this forum. A few searches will reveal all, but I wouldn’t worry about it. :wink:

It would expand the colony, and expand your biceps as you spin the honey out of the non-Flow frames forever more!

Forgive me, Wilma, for I have provoked… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :laughing:

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Hi Dawn, not really. @Karenk could remove two more once the brood fills again. That will get a lot of bees working above the QX. When the 4 brood frames are full of honey, they can be removed, then replaced with the 4 flow frames. The honey can either get spun, cut as comb or crushed & strained.

I promised @Dan2 that I would set my flow frames up again before the jellybush honey starts. I’ll probably do a similar thing that karenk is suggesting, except I wont have the flow frames in place first.

Sorry, I missed that joke, it must have went completely over my head.

PS, in an 8 frame brood, that would mean you would only need to remove one more flow frames if you take two more brood frames out. Then everything can be reasonably tight again.

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It depends- if the two brood frames are coming from the brood box below- I fear it would slow things down more than speed them up. If you are adding more brood from another hive- then that’s another matter- and it should give the bees a boost in population. Personally I would try and get the brood box booming below before I thought about messing with it. In my own experience you don’t need to do anything to encourage the bees onto flow frames- except build up a strong colony below. The only frames I might move up from there are the outermost ones if they are mostly capped honey- and I wanted to add fresh foundation to the brood box- say in early spring. We have had bees completely fill flow frames without doing anything to them at all. If you do swap a brood frame with a flow frame- you might expect to see some bridging comb- as there will be excess space between the frames.


Just wondering have you left all your flow frames on this winter ?
Regards brian

hello there,
this year it’s a mixed bag. I had to move a lot of my hives and I removed all the supers on them- flow and standard. My mum has left hers on and my brother removed his a week ago. The reason my brother removed his was there is a bit of an issue with dampness in the supers over mid-winter last year- they tend to get damp- and sometimes a bit of mold on them. Also the bees really don’t go up in them much- or store much winter honey. My brother drained his off the hive and is feeding the honey back to the bees over the next month (the honey was not quite ripe).

So I am still unsure of what I will do most years. I am going to try and make some moisture quilt boxes and try them out- to see how a flow super goes over winter with the extra ventilation and insulation they provide.

Also: this spring I plan to get my supers on very early- assuming the colonies are strong- as the last few seasons it seems like spring starts for the bees a few weeks before it does on the calendar. We seem to have our best flows in early spring and I don’t want to miss them. So my plan is to start inspecting hives as swarm management two weeks before spring starts- and if colonies are strong to super them pretty quickly.

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Thanks Jack that sounds like a plan.
Wondering if any other people in Adelaide or SA are getting Mold in the flow super over winter ?

I would be surprised if they didn’t. I think the only way to stop the moisture issue would be with some kind of hive ventilation. I guess most beekeepers here remove most honey supers over winter- and the same thing applies to a flow super. It will be interesting to see if a moisture quilt box will resolve it. It has been cold but not very wet so far this winter- yet I noticed the moisture increasing in the one hive I still have with a flow super on it- and that hive has an upper entrance directly into the flow super so is more ventilated than others. i plan to remove that super when I move the hive to my new house next week.

I think one advantage of leaving the super on might be a decreased chance of swarming in early spring. As the colony starts expanding it will be able to start working the frames again earlier. On the other hand the advantage of removing it is the colony will be nice and warm and snug over winter and might come out of it stronger.

These days we remove the flow super form the hive- and bring it inside and harvest it over a tray to catch any drips. This is quite easy actually- so removing it is not such a big deal. The resulting honey may not be ripe but can be frozen and fed back to the bees over winter. When my brother did his the other day he hardly had any leaking from his flow frames at all- only two teaspoons- and his frame were only partially capped and some cells filled with watery nectar.