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Too early (cold temps) for flow super?


#1

Hi! I’m in central Virginia and we have had a very mild winter. My mentor came by yesterday and we had a look inside the hive - three deep boxes - top is pretty full of honey and comb and LOTS of young bees. She suggests I add another super. I want to add the flow as I was too late starting this last year to add it. She is concerned that we will have a cold snap next week where temps will drop into 30s(F) and maybe below and thinks that I should add a regular box of frames - some with guides - and wait tilll temps are consistently above 50F before adding Flow super. Any thoughts on this from other Flow users ? My hive is her first using the Flow. Thanks !


#2

Wow, 3 brood boxes for a mild winter? Not sure what it’s like where you live, we only ever have one broodbox.
As it sounds, I would put the flow box, it’s just like any other super.
And once it’s warm, I would even consider taking that 3rd box of honey off and extract the honey. It will probably force your bees into the flow frames for storage. Rub some burr comb onto the flow frames and dribble a few drops of sugar water on them before installing.
For any chance of flow honey, don’t add another box. Don’t understand that way of thinking. It would boycott the whole idea.
In the end though, I don’t know about your climate. Guess for 3 boxes for overwintering, it must be real cold.


#3

I would listen to your mentor. But with three deeps full of bees as soon as I saw drones I would split that hive. In Maryland our nectar flow start when the black locust trees bloom. Usually late April. That’s when I add my flow super.


#4

Morning Beth,

Hmmm, so you have three deeps already ! And I am assuming the lower brood n next up (2rd box) are @ 80% capacity or more with brood, mixed brood n probably outer frames mixed honey/pollen or just honey, correct ?! And your 2rd (third box up) are nearing the 80% mark … Correct ?! (Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups) ! And she suggests now adding another full deep super, correct ?!

You must already have one heck of a nectar flow there in the Richmond area presently. If you have two boxes of true brood already n that third is nearing its 3/4 goal … Something needs done ! Or you’ll get they in SWARM Mode ! That’s a lot of bees so early n potential energy …

Question ! Have you added some wax to your Flow-super prepping it ?! Sometimes if the nectar flow wanes the workers hesitate going up thru the QE (queen excluder) … I’ve even sprayed all the flow-frames with sugar water to pull them up … There are many good articles on bee wax n sugar-water prepping on the forum so do a quick "word search) n get those 5 flow-frames ready !

Since your local mentor has suggested adding … I’d go with adding either a medium or deep super but if your sure you now have n will have a strong nectar flow … The FLOW-SUPER just might be Good Idea ! With that bunch of bustling bees it sounds like a Green Light to ADD …

A SUPER is A SUPER !! Since you supposedly have a powerful work force I’d go with “FLOW” ! Heck! If it’s that ready … I’d do it. But make sure you prep with wax n sugar water !!! That should help pull them up. You sure don’t need a SWARM !

Out here in Washington State our weather is chilly n very wet. No forage flowers at all. Not seen a bee put there nose out in a week of mid n low 30’s. I won’t be adding my flow probably until late May or early June !

.

Let me suggest also keeping good hive notebook n a flower (what’s in bloom when log even on a calendar) log ! That way you can analyze later n next season what worked n what didn’t.

Good luck n happy beekeeping !

Gerald


#5

hi
please answer me anyone :slight_smile:

is this true about flow hive ?
"Bees cannot be left in a plastic hive indefinitely and expected to remain healthy and productive; "


#6

This thread is about beekeeping in central Virginia, not some other part of the world/country.

I recommend starting a separate thread on your area of the world/country so folks in that area can contribute with answers that are relevant.


#7

I think she is concerned for the Flow box if the temps drop to below freezing. My third box is mostly honey. We just had an early nectar flow and the rest was from their overwinter reserves. But the top box has some wonky and wavy comb ( I used foundation-less frames.) she wants new box to have some guides in to get them to build straight and then we will remove the wonky frames.


#8

Thanks, Gerald. I will prep my Flow as you suggested. I think she is just afraid of temps falling below freezing again - that may harm the flow frames ??


#9

Thanks. I guess we will be looking at a split. My girls have been kicking out drones and look like they have removed some drones from cells in mid - development. That’s what it looks like anyway.

i


#10

Flow frames can be frozen with absolutely no problem.


#11

Cold won’t hurt the Flow-frames. The plastic can easily handle that okay. Just the bee will be slowed n not go up stair for awhile ( need nectar push ) get get them upstairs.