How do I get my bees to take to their Flow Frames?

Although some colonies can be a little slow to make progress on the Flow Frames, your bees should, in time naturally take to the Flow Frames. If you’re finding your hive a little slow to get going and want to speed things up, here is some information to help.

It’s important to note that before your bees will move into the Flow Super and start working on the Flow Frames, you’ll need the two following things in abundance:

1. Lots of bees

In order to get the bees to work on your Flow Frames, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a really strong colony with lots of bees.

The brood frames should be covered in bees and all frames need to be built out.

Your bees will only start working on the Flow Frames once all the other available space has been built-out or filled – so it’s important not to add the Flow Super onto the brood until all the space is filled, as this can leave the colony vulnerable to pests.

2. Enough available forage

Once you’ve got a healthy sized colony, you’ll need a good nectar flow – if there is a dearth in forage, it is unlikely the bees will be storing nectar (to convert to honey) in the Flow Frames.

With a combination of these two factors—and some patience—your bees should be taking to your Flow Frames in no time.

These images show what it looks like when the bees ARE taking to the Flow Frames:

The bees have started working on the Flow Frames, waxing the gaps  – the top right-hand corner has yet to have the gaps filled.

Here the cell walls are complete and the bees have begun storing nectar in the Flow Frame

If you’ve got both of the above in abundance, and you’re finding your bees are still a little slow to work on the Flow Frames, here are some tips which may help with the progress:

Add wax to the Flow Frames

Pressing burr comb into the surface of the Flow Frames or painting them with wax can encourage the bees to move the wax around, and start working on the frames – they’ll be joining the gaps, coating the cells with wax, and then depositing nectar.

Remove the queen excluder (temporarily)

Sometimes the queen excluder can be a preventative factor in the bees moving above the brood box. You may want to consider removing this to encourage them to move up and work on the Flow Frames.
If you choose to do this, please make sure once you replace the queen excluder that the queen is certainly below the excluder – otherwise you may get drone brood in your Flow Frames.

If you do get drone brood in your Flow Frames, you’ll need to wait 21 days until they have hatched, then leave the roof slightly ajar so they can exit the hive and reenter into the brood box, otherwise they will get stuck in the Flow Super.
If the bees don’t clean out the silk-cocoon, you may also want to clean your Flow Frames before the bees store honey in them again – read more about cleaning your Flow Frames here.

Temporarily move a timber frame into the super 

It is best to use a timber frame that primarily has honey stored on it – usually one of the edge frames.

You can remove a Flow Frame and replace it with this conventional frame, which can encourage the bees to continue working on the Flow Frames adjacent to the timber frame.

Make sure not to remove the rear harvesting door if you are trying this option, otherwise a rush of bees can fly out the back!

Once the bees have begun working on the frames, you can then remove the timber frame and replace the Flow Frame.


Tried all of the above and still having trouble?

Troubleshoot with our friendly customer support team via email, phone or chat.

You may also want to read further about how to get bees to take to Flow Frames here by Glenn Locke of Orara Valley Honey