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Any Northern Virginia folks out there?


#1

Just put in a flow-hive in the Falls Church area with bees supplied by ecohoneybees… wondering if anyone is in the area and working with a Flow-hive and where they got their bee supplies and what bee clubs they are a part of.

Thanks,
Josh Z.


#2

I’m in Fairfax near GMU. I got my bees from Virginia Bee Supply in Remington, VA. I attended a Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association meeting in March. I’ve been meaning to pay my dues and join so I can participate in the monthly meetings. Will probably do that soon. How are you handling all this wet weather? I already had some mold issues to deal with last week but I think it is mostly resolved. Other than that the bees seem to be doing well.

Matt


#3

Hey Matt,

Thanks for reaching out - how long have you been at it? What type of bees did you get?

I have not attended any classes so I’m waiting on my supplier to come do an inspection in the next couple of weeks. Wet weather (16 days of rain in a row???) has put a damper on things - when it does dry up a bit there is a flurry of activity and I see the bees jaunting up to the tulip poplars and black cherry trees for nectar and pollen.

Really looking forward to seeing of the bees have started working on the flow-frames at all. Biggest concern on behalf of the supplier (and mine as well) is the bee’s ability to cluster and feed off of the flow-frames in the winter.

We shall see!
JZ


#4

Then why make them do that? Simply set up a second brood box when the first is full. Don’t put the Flow super on until the second brood box is full. Then, when you have harvested the Flow frames, take them off for the winter. Easy peasy, and this is what 95% of Flow owners on this forum in the US will probably do. :wink:


#5

Hey Dawn,

This would assume that the bees would have sufficient honey stores in brood boxes 1 and 2, and then in addition fill up and cap the flow frames excess honey? How do we ensure that the honey in the flow frames wasn’t needed to maintain the hive over the winter?

Very very new to this, appreciate a gentle touch if these questions are very rudimentary.

JZ


#6

Correct. It would perhaps help you a lot to join a local beekeeping society. I wouldn’t mention the Flow hive (hostility is common). Just say you are running an 8-Frame Langstroth, currently on one deep (brood box) and what do people in your area normally do? Most areas of the US use 2 brood boxes for traditional beekeeping. Some people with 8-frames hives even use 3 brood boxes, with the logic that 10-frame Langstroths are more common, and if you only have 2 8-frame brood boxes, the bees have 25% less space. Then anything above those 2 or 3 boxes is harvested, and the bees are just left with their brood boxes for the winter.

Like some humans, bees are natural hoarders, and they try to store far more than they need. As beekeepers we take advantage of this. As good beekeepers, we try not to take too much! :blush:

By following your local beekeepers’ practices. They have decades of useful experience, and they love to tell new people all about it. But let me say again, it is very likely that you will need at least 2 brood boxes. If you do that, and the bees run short of food in the winter, there are ways of feeding them. You need to read as much as you can to learn about all this. There is a lot on this forum, and there are plenty of books.

Always! :smile: This forum exists for the benefit of all of us, and our bees.


#7

I just started beekeeping this spring so I am a novice as well. Installed the bees on April 11th. My bees are Italians and seem to be very gentle thus far. I am still running just 1 brood box with the hopes of putting on a second in the coming weeks. I started foundation-less and the frames are about 60% drawn out. I think all this wet weather may have slowed them down.

I am planning on doing something similar to what Dawn_SD is saying. Running 2 brood boxes and if there is time throw on a Flow super when the 2 broods are full and harvest what I can. Then remove and run 2 brood through the winter and feeding if necessary.

Definitely a fun hobby so far!

Matt


#8

Hey all,

First inspection complete after 19 days of having the hive. Good news is there are a lot of bees and lots of honey being stored in the brood boxes. Bad news is that there was no queen in sight, and 5-7 queen cells.

So it would seem as though our queen flew the coop. The person who provided me the bees (ecohoneybees) says that it is likely the queen felt there wasn’t any room for laying eggs (oddly enough, the middle 6 frames were built out with comb/uncapped honey but they hadn’t built up the external frames yet).

We had the Flow-hive supper on top and bees had completely ignored it. There were probably 2 dozen or so bees up there walking around in the centermost frames, but there was no apparent attempts to seal up the cells or deposit honey in those frames.

We added a 2nd brood box with recently extracted honey frames, and hope that one of the newly hatched queens has a successful mating flight and starts putting down some brood.

Mixed emotions. Bees are making a lot of honey, but aren’t building up any brood. We shall see how this progresses over the next week or two.

JZ


#9

I really have no business trying to help here since I am as novice as you but did Ecohoneybee’s offer to replace your Queen? Even though you have some queen cells, once she emerges she will still need to get fertilized in order to start laying. Not sure how long that delay will be but it seems like it is not the most expedient solution.


#10

Yeah, he was weighing the options and will come back this week to check on progress, perhaps do a queen swap.


#11

New queen emerged and we saw eggs being laid… they bees are still filling up the hive with honey and not giving the new girl a lot of room to lay in, so I’ll be adding a 3rd box in the next couple of days.

I painted the flow-frames with melted capping and honey in hoping that the bees would take the hint and figure out that they could put their honey up there. It would seem that they have completed a good percentage of the flow-hive cells, but have yet to put any honey up there…

At least it seems the hive is re-queened and growing… hopefully at some point before flow is done they will figure out that the flow frames are there to be used for honey and the queen can have more room for brood below…

JZ


#12

Hey all,

A few months in now, and no activity in the flow-frames other than filling in some of the divisions within the cells.

Based on the concern of the beekeeper who provided me the bees and has performed hive inspections, we added a 3rd brood box to ensure the bees didn’t feel as though they were running out of space again (they swarmed within the first couple of weeks).

Over the last few weeks they have been drawing out comb on the new foundationless frames, and laying a ton of brood. They have, however, also eaten through a ton of honey that they had loaded into the brood frames while they were waiting for the 2nd queen to emerge and mate.

Considering that the bees have consumed some of the honey they had stored up until Queen 2 arrived, beekeeper has suggested that I start feeding with a 1:1 solution of sugar syrup.

Do I remove the unused flow-frames and give up for the year on trying to get any honey up there? Is there a safe way of storing the flow-frames and flow-supper for the season? If I leave the flow-supper on with flow-frames, and the bees start filling it with sugar syrup - what then? Do I drain it in the late summer and trust that the bees are starting to get a hang of how to use the frames, and then assume that they will clean the remainder out and re-use with honey flow next year?

This particular beekeeper is all about the bees and not the honey - so looking for some 3rd party advise. We have a fair bit of clover, hardy hibiscus, wild blackberries, asiatic lilies and other flowers in the neighborhood, so I would assume they have enough natural sources to feed on… just wondering if I should follow the bee keepers advise and if so, store or keep the flow frames on…

Thoughts?


#13

If you have added a third brood box, I would certainly remove the Flow super until they have filled that new box.

You have some plants flowering, but that doesn’t mean they are producing nectar. If the hive stores are low, I would agree with feeding them. You never want a harvest super on a hive when you are feeding though, so definitely take the Flow super off.

Mine live in the garage. You want to keep the plastic out of the sun, but otherwise you can store them inside or out. If there is honey in them, you have to think a bit about how to store them, but it sounds like yours are empty.


#14

Thanks Dawn.

With respect to storage - if they do have some honey in, then how would you store them? How do folks store capped honey frames (if at all?)

JZ


#15

You can do it, and I have done it. The main risks are pests and the honey crystallizing. To deal with the pests, you can freeze the frames for 48 hours, which will kill any wax moth or SHB eggs and larvae. Then wrap them tightly in plastic - I use those big black trash bags, sealing them up with duct tape. If you have the freezer space, you could just leave them in the freezer all winter. That will help prevent crystallization too - counterintuitive, but true. Otherwise, it will be up to the bees to empty them when you give them back to the hive.


#16

Thanks again Dawn.

Separate question - has anyone use Sugar Syrup as a vehicle to get the bees familiarized with the flow frames and have them store the sugar syrup there, then drain it and hope that once they’ve used it once, they will use it again in the 2017 nectar flow?

Essentially feed them to where they store in the flow-frames, then extract and have them re-supply with honey?

Thoughts?


#17

Hi there - I’m from PA and came across this thread while hoping to find Flow hivers with established colonies & Flow supers near where I’ll be in VA next week, to see if I could bring a couple of my non-Flow Beekeping friends around to check it out. Like a little field trip during our vacay in the Blue Ridge mtns :blush:

Anyway, not sure if this is doable. While skimming through your posts I thought I’d suggest to you that you post some of your great questions under the Beekeeping Basics topic instead - you’ll end up getting a lot more good advice! Pardon me if you’ve been there & I have missed you. I too lost my first queen, probably due to my own bumbling on first inspection, and the bees made a nice new one. So with the interrupted brood production there’s no chance of me putting my Flow super on this season. But I’m learning SO much as a newbee & getting vicarious thrills from other folks’ first harvests.

Regards,
Eva near Philadelphia PA


#18

Thanks Eva - just posted in the beekeepers basics area.

Have a fun trip!


#19

Stafford, VA here. First time beekeeper here. I took the class at the Remington store, and that’s where we are getting our bees.

Have the hives all ready to go, obviously I don’t expect to get honey this year, but we just need April to get here, so my girls can move into their new homes.


#20

hi Lialos!

Good luck. Here in Falls Church we lost our hives over the winter. 2 hives from the same supplier within 3 blocks are no more. Lots of honey left over, very few dead bees in the hive. They just took off and left sometime between mid January and 2 days ago when I opened the hive up.

Hope you have better luck in Stafford!

JZ