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Almost ready to Harvest my rooftop hive in Los Angeles


Looks like we have a winter nectar flow, the frames are all about filled, I expect by next week harvest begins. Got the new GoPro Fusion camera, so I’ll film the harvest with it. This hive would have been ready in Spring, but the bees swarmed and I never got a viable queen to come back from a mating flight. Eventually added a new swarm in June to replenish the hive and a month later the brood box was full of larva ready to hatch. This time instead of adding back a second box, I added the Flow super. Just going on how this hive has progressed sitting on the apartment roof, when I had 2 brood boxes they filled the second one with only honey and was bringing in nectar all year unless it rained.

November 29th, the last week has been warm and it’s filling much faster…

November 3rd update

This was the way it looked October 13th


Winter harvest
I can dream
In winter my bees are asleep gently humming their Spring song



Those lucky southerners ! Busy bees all or nearly all year around … Yah … my bees are humming softly n splitting wax paper out the front door.


Interesting. Where are you in LA? I just harvested my last frame from my Flow Hive in prep for removing it and going down to 2 brood boxes. I live around Santa Barbara. Do I understand you are going to leave the Flow on year round and configure with one brood box and the Flow for the winter? I had thought about that myself. If so, do you have a queen excluder between the brood box and the Flow?


This hive is in the city of Los Angeles, the temperatures here rarely get cold enough for the bees to go inactive, unlike my hives in the SFV, where I remove the honey supers during the winter, those hives have dual brood boxes. Last few year that I put the hive on the rooftop, they brought in nectar year round and seem to like laying brood only in one box, the second was always filled with honey. I’ll be adding a medium to the hive this week so they have room to store while they finish capping the Flow Frames. I will only harvest a few frames at a time, just to insure there’s stores for the rainy days.


Just for the rest of the world, SFV is the San Fernando Valley. It is a large agricultural area, inland from Los Angeles. Although the climate is mild, the winter temperatures can definitely get down to frosty on occasion. :blush:

Also interesting is that our nectar flow in coastal San Diego stopped in July, but north of us, there is a hive in Los Angeles which has a hive scale showing continuing weight gain. Either the nectar is continuing, or the bees are feasting on Disneyland confectionary. :smile:


It cooled down, but they are still bringing in nectar, just a bit slower now. supposed to warm up this week, so I’ll see how it progresses. This image was shot tonight.


Thanks for the details Bruce. Yes, temps got down to 32 last night here on the Santa Barbara coast, which is cold for us. Since I just harvested the last frame of honey in my Flow (having harvested the others earlier in the fall) I guess I have no choice but to remove it and continue winter with 2 deeps.

However, next year I am thinking about leaving the Flow intact with maybe one deep. It seems that I miss a lot of harvesting opportunity by waiting too long in the spring to put on the Flow…but I don’t know. This hive seems to have taken to it. The other two hives have not and I keep trying different things to encourage them to use it.
This year, I felt they were overcrowded and to avoid swarming, I put a honey super (mainly for more space) between the deeps and the Flow. That seemed to be a mistake because they filled up the honey super with nectar and once again avoided the Flow frames. Then that took a bit of time to be sealed so it could be removed, and at that point the maximum nectar flow was over.

I just keep experimenting, feeling that I really don’t understand what I should be doing! Oh well, keep plodding along and learning by doing!


Hope your SFV hives are far from the fires, Bruce. Please let us know… :worried:


They are fine, fire far enough away…


More progress, appears they are extending the 5th frame, guess it’s time to harvest a few frames or add my medium to give them more room, while I wait for them to cap the rest.


Very nice, Bruce. Your bees are very lucky to have a food source so close. Our San Diego nectar flow is well and truly over. The sharp spikes on the weight graph below are from my husband leaning on the hive: :smile:


Guess being in the heart of the city, that people need to have their plants looking good year round pays off. Currently the pollen coming in is white, I haven’t had a chance to see where their source is, but with the warm weather they are sure busy.

My bees are getting ready for a White Christmas!


Oh the best part about having a apartment rooftop hive is, I have no hive beetle or ant problems, never see any wasp and the mite count is almost nonexistent. Only pest I have are a few spiders grabbing a meal or two inside the roof.


Once the bees have used the frames, swap them to the hive that didn’t like them, I bet they take to them then.


I’ve been trying that and it does seem to be more inviting for them. However, one of my hives is a “hybrid” and there seems to be no action into the Flow frames until they completely fill and seal those 4 outside standard frames. One hive has really taken to the Flows for the last couple of years. Even with switching out some of the “used” Flows to another hive, I didn’t get a harvest from that. I think it was because I expanded during the spring when things were getting so crowded I was afraid of swarming and put on a honey super below the Flow for more room. Of course, the bees concentrated on filling up that honey super. By the time they did that, I think the nectar flow had decreased to the point that there was little interest in the Flows. Next year, I’m putting the Flows on sooner and no honey supers!!


Hope you are safe from the fires too, Louise. I heard they are approaching Santa Barbara now. :worried:

We escaped so far in San Diego, but as with Bruce, we are very urban, with small lots, so it would be hard to imagine a major fire taking a hold here. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


The bees will always fill standard frames before the Flow, so I avoid adding additional frames until the Flows are full. Main reason I haven’t added my medium to the hive yet and that will go on top of the Flow Box. Earlier this year after removing the second box and extracting the honey, I put the empty on one of my hives at my house above the Flow super. Big mistake, those bees moved the honey out of the Flow box that was half filled and filled in the deep I put on top!


It has been miserable here in Lompoc (about 50 miles north of SB) due to smoke. But, I will “never say never” as far as fire goes. I’m retired from the USFS in Fire Management, and would previously thought our location safe from this kind of fire. But not any more with the issues of climate change. Our biggest issue here has been the smoke from the branch of the fire that is burning into the Los Padres National Forest into very rough and impenetrable chaparral. It’s being sucked right into Lompoc and Santa Maria making it hard to even go outside. County services handed out over 25,000 particulate masks yesterday and the schools are closed. This is a small community, so that’s a lot. But, I can’t even begin to imagine how it is in SB. I’m feeding my girls right now. They seem to be hunkering down. It was like nuclear winter here for a couple of days.


They are hard to out-smart aren’t they!! So…I have this one “hybrid” Flow Hive that is configured with 3 Flow frames in the middle and 2 standard frames on each side of that. Do you have anything like that? I have thought about not putting the standard frames in there; but figured it might just make a mess with the bees creating their own “funky” comb in the open space.