Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Tassy second brood box, under or over?

Hi folks,
I’ve seen some chat about needing to add another brood box to prep for winter, then a super on top.
Should you wait for the current super to fill before adding another brood box or doesn’t that matter.
Also under or over the current brood box. Doesn’t the queen like being higher up and in this position during winter?
Many thanks

1 Like

It does matter. Once your first brood box is full, you should add the second brood box, not the super. If the second brood box fills before the end of the season, you can add the super at that point. The idea is to give the bees all the resources that they need to make it through winter before you add the super. The super will be used for harvesting honey for you, and you should probably take it off for the winter, so that it doesn’t get gummed up with propolis. :wink:

Generally people put the new brood box on top. I have put it underneath too, and that works, but it is much less convenient for me, as I have to lift a heavy brood box off to put the new one under.

Varies very much. I think Rusty Burlew at www.honeybeesuite.com has some infrared photos on her web site showing bee clusters in various places. They don’t necessarily have a preference for upper or lower. They will cluster where the food is and the cold wind is not… :blush:


Hi Dawn

Many thanks for your reply
The hive I have at home has had the super on for a few weeks with a full brood box below. The bees had been very busy in the flow frames, I assume getting them ready. There is a strong smell of honey when you sit and watch.
It’s spring and this colony had swarmed and was placed in this hive.
So where to begin, I had a look today.

And a capped queen cell

Lots of brood, larvae of all sizes, bees coming out of cells.

So do I split this hive? Didn’t see the queen and can’t say I saw eggs but should have looked harder. Very full of bees.

1 Like

Hi folks
Just thoughts on my last post if the queen cell is capped and they Haven’t swarmed was there a queen in there?

Its Spring and you have capped queen cells. Your bees either have swarmed or are about to do so.
This booklet tells you all you need to know and what you should do.

As to whether you need two brood boxes for winter, I would advise you to make contact with local beekeepers and see what works in your climate. A flow hive is a different way of extracting honey but the way of beekeeping is exactly the same as other beekeepers so do benefit from their local knowledge.
If adding a second broodbox, I prefer to add it on top for the reason Dawn mentioned but also because heat from the lower box rises and makes drawing comb easier for the bees.

1 Like

From my experience the impression I immediately got from your excellent photos is that those queen cells are not swarm cells but rather supercedure cells…three reasons why I think that:

a) The location of your queen cells is near the top bar…in my apiaries…in a single brood box scenario… I find swarm cells hanging from the bottom bar, sometimes even touching or attached to the bottom board. In a double broodbox scenario, invariably the queen cells are in the joining area between the upper and lower brood boxes…often, but not always, embeded in the attaching burr comb.

b) The photos show no evidence of cells full of nectar…typically when my hives are in swarming mode, many non-brood cells adjacent or mixed in with the capped brood are topped up with nectar…thus shutting down the queen’s egg laying and triggering swarming.

c) You state that there is brood in various stages…typically I see slabs of capped brood and much less…if non-existent… brood in less mature stages.

It sounds from your other post that you have relied on swarms for a bee source to populate your hives. Keep in mind that most larger swarms have old queens heading them…prime candidates to supercede…so they easily could be past their “best before date” in short order…and the hive should be allowed to supercede or the queen replaced by the beekeeper.

Lastly, a springtime in my area is notorious for temperature fluctuations…and this affects the mating success of early virgin queens. Often I’ve seen a newly mated queen start laying well and then two weeks later there are supercedure cells in the hive…a real inconvenience. For early season queens, mated queens from California are great…fall mated queen from New Zealand can be even better. The point is, be prepared to restablish a new queen in an aging swarm.

These comments I’ve made should be taken with a grain of salt as swarming tendencies vary so much from one area to another…even in the same country.


Have you ever tried Hawaii, @Doug1? Big Island Queens are absolutely gorgeous and every one that I have bought has been exceptionally well-mated. They have queens from September to March (and the rest of the year, although supplies are limited). You may have to call to get a queen, as sometimes the online reservation doesn’t work, or incorrectly says Sold Out, even when they have queens available. During the rest of the year, Olivarez queens are great too:

Great to hear you like those Hawaiian queens…how early in the season have you got them…March/April?

Our province’s beekeeping industry has relied heavily on Hawaiian queens and they are the earliest queen source for us…generally they are in great shape but last spring the Alberta Beekeepers Coop had problems with delivery due to Covid…they relied on a non-traditional delivery company with disastrous results for many beekeepers… damaged in transport. From then on the manager from the co-op travelled himself/another driver to Seattle to pick them up…I got some of those queens…excellent. He made several trips.

Think Olivarez bought out that Hawaiian queen producer too.

1 Like

I have bought them in February and March from BIQ. You are right, they have been part of Olivarez for quite some time. They still use their previous name, but the customer service phone number is the same for both queen producers. You just have to specify which location you you want the queen from when you call to order.

My hawaiian queens were shipped USPS Express - no problem at all. I haven’t bought one for a couple of years though. I got a new queen from Olivarez in October this year - she was shipped UPS overnight. Fortunately I was home when she arrived, because the delivery guy left her box in full sun, despite the warning label not to do so… :thinking: :thinking: :thinking:

So queen cells with larvae in a full brood box that already has a super on it. Bees very busy in the super but no honey yet.
Saw a suggestion if there is a good flow on with a full brood box and they haven’t got the flow super ready quickly enough this may trigger swarm?
Anyhow saw Cedar’s split video where he found a queen cell !
Three frames with queen cells, cups moved to a new box with a frame with capped brood and larvae.
Found the queen and quickly returned the frame back in the original box, yay!
Fingers crossed :crossed_fingers: all goes well :crazy_face: