Hello, Until today, we thought we just needed one brood box and one super because that is what came with the flow hive. However we had a couple of people mention to us tonight at a beekeepers meeting that they used two. They didn’t mention why just that they used two brood boxes. Is there anyone in Victoria, BC, Canada (or anywhere on Vancouver Island or Vancouver) on this forum who could confirm that it’s a very good idea to use two brood boxes, and not just one, in our climate? Thank you! Observing the bees’ progress, we think we’ll be adding a second box very soon.
They use 2 boxes because of the shorter season and the more bees the more likely the larger amount of stored honey. Since our winters include snow in some areas one has to get a large enough hive to winter over and keep warm. I’m in Tennessee and I use 2 brood boxes as we have a 5 month cold season. Go with what your successful local beekeepers do.
I agree with @Martha’s remarks above. You should definitely have 2 brood boxes for better chances of overwintering successfully, and some people even like to use 3! Two should be enough, but just be aware that you may also need to feed your bees over winter. You may also need to make a moisture quilt box, and consider some kind of winter insulation, if your locals do that.
It is very good that you are attending the local beekeeping meeting. Local knowledge is pure gold in running a hive successfully, even if they don’t use Flow hives. Everything about beekeeping is the same in all types of hive. It is only the extraction method that is different and we can help you with that.
We’ve been keeping bees in Seattle for 12 years and we usually run two brood boxes, but only the bottom one is a deep. That way the bees don’t have too large of a space to keep heated throughout the winter.
We also remove any additional honey supers from the hive, leaving just a deep plus medium, and harvest some of the cut-comb honey. We save and store about a dozen frames of honey/pollen to feed back to the bees in the spring, if they need it, as we do not use sugar water or supplements.
We’re on our third year with the Flow, and haven’t found the right rhythm for our bees and the Flow, but this year we are trying one deep brood box, Queen excluder, then Flow frames-no second brood box…yet. Our hope is that we’ll get to harvest the Flow frames in July/early August, then remove it and replace with second brood box for the bees to prepare for fall and winter.
I must disagree with your statement that everything about beekeeping is the same in all types of hives!
We find each of our hives to have its own personality, and that combined with the weather, season, and what kind of bees they are makes a difference in how we care for them.
And don’t forget there are the different types of approaches to beekeeping (Conventional and Natural Beekeepers)
OK, maybe it was a bit over broad, but my point was that the Flow hive is not super special or different. Inspections need to be done in the same way as for any other hive. Pests and diseases will happen, as in any other hive. Swarming may happen, as in any other type of hive. Queens will be lost, as in any other. Food resources need to be managed, as in any other. Humidity, condensation and insulation need to be considered, as in any other.
That is all I meant, I just chose not to type it all out the first time…