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Wintering question - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Hey all,

So a question. Possibly a few…

To start with, my configuration is


After my last post when I was not surprised to not get a lot of honey from a flow frame, it turns out I was not opening them fully - My mistake.

So anyway. I managed to remove the flow frame box and take a peek at the top brood. It turned out there has been very little laying going on, and it’s jam packed with honey. So I took pretty much everything from the flow box, which was far more than we need so plenty to give away.

Anyway. My question is this.

How do I get into the bottom brood box to check everything is OK for winter. In terms of numbers, there is no shortage of bees. The hive seems very strong with no concerns.

The trouble is the top brood, the one with the honey in is just too heavy to lift, and I have no helper. It’s going nowhere.

The only think I can think is removing each frame the top brood until it’s light enough to lift off? But thats going to really seriously upset the hive. I’m thinking I’m better off leaving things as they are?


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Hi Edna,
Jape is correct. You remove the frames one-by-one inspecting each one and making notes or at least a mental note of the amount of honey and brood, you also need to inspect for disease as this can take hold quickly and if you don’t intervene you could end up losing all your bees. I use a combination of frame holders and a spare box to put the frames into, the frame holders are handy as they slide on the side of the hive allowing to make a thorough inspection leaving the bees on the frames. However in your situation I would suggest a spare box from a bees supply shop, put it on the ground and then move 4-5 frames into the spare box, then the top brood should be light enough to lift off and put on top of the spare. The use a frame holder on your bottom brood box to temporarily put the frames whilst you have a good look through you box. Make sure you can see eggs, capped brood, pollen and honey this takes away the need to find the queen. Then make note of the number of honey frames to the number of brood frames. A rough guide is 1 frame of honey to 1 frame of brood for wintering in Australia. When you put your frames back, try and get them in to the same position as they came, its not crucial but helps to settle bees afterwards. Also an important note for wintering is to ensure you have honey frames on either side of your brood, this helps with insulation.


Thanks everyone. Those frame holders look handy. I will have to invest in those and a spare box I think. That should make it easier.

Certainly the top hive had a lot of honey ~6 frames full and some capped brood and eggs. Last year for winter, prior to the flowhive (this is our second year), we only had a single brood level. I left them for 6 full frames over winter and they managed/did not die out, they were very active last winter as well.


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That is the way to do it. Don’t skip it. I just use an empty box, resting it on top of an upside down roof (flat roof style), so if the queen or any young bees fall off the frames, they don’t get lost. I can’t lift a full deep on my own, so you have described perfectly the way that I do it. :slight_smile:


I use a spare box. Take a frame at a time and put it into the spare box. When finished just return them to the hive in the same order. Make sure the spare is sitting on a bit of old plywood or the bees get stuck in the grass.

Do this to the top box then use that box for the next level. If you work smoothly and only use a little smoke they should stay calm.



Thanks everyone. I think the spare box is the way to go, and less smoke!


Hi there I too are a 1st season flow hive owner and a very delighted one at that.

Im from Perth Western Australia and was a late starter being late December. My bees have finally started storing in my super with 2 frames almost full. I have only 1 brood box and whilst they seem a strong happy and disease free colony they have far less brood than previously. They have 3-4 full frames of honey stored in the brood box and the remainder were mixtures of honey, nectar with small areas of brood.

Im contemplating removing one of the full capped honey frames and adding a foundation frame for the more brood.

Am I over mothering as they bees should know the correct proportions of each - brood, nectar, pollen and honey?

Thoughts and suggestions welcome.


To be blunt, a hive started late like that should not have a honey super on it, it should be just building up for winter. Is the super a flow super above a QE? However, with the relatively mild winters of Perth I would leave them alone. Just check regularly through winter that they have food, if not then feed them but they should get through all right.