The prospect of adding a Flow Super to a new brood colony is exciting, however, it is really important to wait until the brood box is completely established (i.e. lots of brood, honey stores and most frames full) before adding extra space.
Video: Is my brood box ready for a super?
How to know when your brood box is ready to add the super
- To check whether your colony is ready for supering, you need to open up the brood box – so, you'll need to use the appropriate safety gear.
- It is important to install your bees in the brood box and wait until they are fully established before adding the Flow Super. This often takes 1 to 8 weeks, but can be longer if conditions are not favourable. It will also depend on how you acquired your colony, and will vary greatly depending on the time of year and the local resources available for your bees.
- We supply foundationless frames with our brood boxes, as we think it’s beneficial for the bees to build their comb from scratch. Many beekeepers also use foundation in their frames as it requires less maintenance when the bees are first establishing themselves in the brood box. When using foundationless frames it’s a good idea to inspect the brood box whilst the colony is building the comb to prevent the bees from building cross-comb in the frame. This way if they have run off course, you can gently nudge the comb back in place.
- Remember to keep all of the brood frames tightly together towards the centre of the box. If there is any extra space this should be distributed evenly on the outer edges of the brood box to further reduce the risks of cross comb. For best results, it is recommended that you check to ensure that all brood frames have been drawn out and contain substantial comb before adding the Super. The combination of a full brood box and a significant amount of bees will help to encourage your bees to make fast progress on the Flow Frames.
To add your Flow Super/ Hybrid Super
- Once you are ready to add your Flow Super to the brood box, you need to place the queen excluder between the two boxes to prevent the queen from moving into the super and laying eggs in your Flow Frames.
- Next, place your Flow Super on top of the queen excluder.
- If you have a Hybrid Super, it needs to be set up with the 3 Flow Frames pushed together in the centre and secured in place with the supplied screws or dowel). The extra traditional timber frames in a Hybrid Super need to be added; 2 on either side of the Flow Frames. These should be pushed up close to the Flow Frames with any gaps in the super to the outside edges—this will help the bees to build straight comb. The Flow Hive Hybrid Super 3 comes with special brood frame slots to ensure that the spacing is even and optimal.
- Make sure you reset your Flow Frames before adding them to the super to ensure they are in correct alignment.
- For Hybrid Supers, double-check there are no gaps on the edge of where the Key Access Cover sits which would allow bees to exit when you are harvesting (the Flow Hive Hybrid Super 3 comes with modified timber panels to prevent this). You can choose to swap a brood frame with one of your traditional timber frames to encourage fast progress in the super – just make that if there is any drone brood, allow a gap at the roof for about two weeks, to allow the drones to exit once they have hatched.