When is the best time to add a super?

If you’ve had your colony in your brood box for a couple of months now, perhaps you’re wondering when you should add your Flow Super… Great question!

Colony numbers

We've found the most successful method is to wait until all of the brood frames have been built out by your bees. If you add your super early, it is likely the bees will not begin exploring the new level of their home, and it may become a place for opportunistic pests to hide.

To determine whether your colony is ready to have the super added, you’ll need to undertake a brood inspection. Hopefully, by now you’ve already had a peek into your brood box, but if you’d like a refresher, read our article on how to conduct a brood box inspection.

It’s not just a matter of having a full brood box – you also want to make sure your colony is building their worker bee number before you add the Flow Super. When inspecting, look for frames with a mixture of capped and uncapped worker brood. Read more on how to determine whether your queen is laying and whether your hive may be queenless.

There is one final step to take before adding your Flow Super – make sure you’ve reset the Flow Frames, and have adjusted the screws so all the Frames sit flush to the rear of the super.

We recommend adding the queen excluder to the brood box, below the Flow Super, so your queen bee stays securely below in the brood box.

Now what...

Once you add your Flow Super, before you can start harvesting honey, you’ll first see the bees completing the cells of the Flow Frames.

Then watch them store nectar, and evaporate the water content to perfection, fanning with their wings to turn it to honey.

The timing of this process will depend largely on local conditions, and whether there are many flowering plants. If there is a strong nectar flow (lots of the same type of plant flowering), you might see your bees busily filling the cells in a matter of weeks (the shortest time period we’ve seen a colony fill Flow Frames was 10 days). If there are only dribs and drabs of blooms about, it might take a couple of months.

We’ve found the first time bees are introduced to the Flow Frames that this filling cycle can sometimes take a bit longer, but once you’ve harvested once (i.e. the bees have already completed the cells of the frames), this process is much quicker.

If you don’t see the bees taking to the Flow Frames after a few weeks, here are some tips for troubleshooting.

And make sure to contact our customer support team – we’re here to help you every step of the way.