Encouraging bees to use Flow™ frames

One of the common criticisms of the Flow™ hive and the Flow frames is the use of plastic in its components. An often repeated argument is that bees don't like plastic and will only use it as a last resort. With many new beekeepers installing Flow™ frames into hives without experience in using plastic hive components, the bees may appear immediately reluctant to 'move up', reinforcing the belief that plastic is the problem. The below process is a straightforward method that uses collected excess wax to encourage the bees into the Flow™ frames by making the frames more familiar to the bee colony that's active below.

Before using this method, the Flow™ frames were placed on an active hive for two weeks during a light honey flow. During this period, there was no activity in the Flow™ super, and when the super was removed there were less than a handful of bees active on the Flow™ frames.

A plastic excluder was in place for the entire process. An excluder is critical in a Flow™ configuration as the queen will lay in Flow™ frames

Standard Flow™ frame in the closed position

Block of excess wax melted down from burr comb used to rub the face of the Flow™ frame

The face of the Flow™ frame acts as a grater and the high points of the frame catch the wax (be careful not to damage the Flow™ frame)

Underside of the wax block shows minor amount of wax used

Close up of frame showing full coverage of wax on the high points

Excess wax can be collected and reused

Immediately after adding the Flow™ frames back into the hive, bees start to 'correct' the messy wax

Less than 24 hours later the bees have moved the wax from the high points on the frame and are actively filling the gaps between the cells