It looks like the temperatures are finally moderating (at least for now!), and the bees are bringing in lots of pollen, so it seemed like a good time to add on the Flow honey super.
After opening and closing the Flow honey super to make sure everything was working, I misted each side of each frame with a 1:1 sugar/water syrup. I’ve read from people already getting honey from their Flow that this is a good way to get the bees interested in the frames. They will clean up the sugar/water and start filling the cracks in the frames with wax, then start on honey production.
The hives were pretty mellow this morning around 11am – it was in the mid-50s and a slight breeze. All the action was at the front of the hive, so with a little smoke, I was able to remove the outer cover and inner cover. I checked the bottom brood boxes and things are going well. They have 70-80% of the frames drawn out and full of brood, honey, and pollen. That percentage seems to be the conventional wisdom of “full enough to add another box to the hive so they can expand”.
Easy peasy to set the honey super on top of the queen excluder, then inner cover on top of that. When setting the outer cover in position, I saw that the knobs on the top wood strip are too long and the outer cover will not sit flat. Next time at the hardware store, I’m going to look for smaller knobs. I may remove the current knobs and see if I can sand them down enough to let the outer cover sit flat.
The hive without the Flow honey super is my weakest hive. They don’t have the frames in the bottom boxes built up enough for me to add a honey super. I’ll keep monitoring them. If they get a honey super this summer, it will be a traditional 10-frame medium box.
If you’re wondering about the bottom board, it’s a Freeman Beetle Trap bottom board (comes in 8- and 10-frame version). The white thing in the back is the pull-out tray where you add a mixture of oil and water. The bees will hassle the beetles, which fall through a screen and drown. You can replace the oil/water mixture when it gets gross, or strain the solids out of the oil and reuse. I’m happy with the results – have caught hive beetles and some ants. It also catches falling debris from the hive, so the mixture will get scummy if you don’t change or strain it regularly.
All three hives were busy this morning – lots of pollen arriving. Some pale yellow, bright yellow, and orange. All the girls coming back with pollen were loaded down. It’s amazing how they can fly with that much on their legs!