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Beekeeping Benefits & Questions

Hello there

Please let me introduce myself. Born in Switzerland (CH),
lived in US, visited Australia. Had/have 0 hives in CH, up to
6 hives in US, took care of 12 hives of my late Dad.

My grandfather was a beekeeper, who had his own"bee house",
a shed where all his bee hives were in.
Unfortunately, he died before he could teach me more.
Fortunately, he could instill in me the love for bees.

My late father was a beekeeper too. Many of swarms in
Kalamunda flew to his house, where cell-phone reception
was always bad.

My father’s honey is/was the best of all, according to my
family (from Eukalyptus trees).

Here in CH, we have bee diseases, which
Australia apparently doesn’t have?

Best regards

Correct. Australia doesn’t suffer the full gamut of bee diseases/issues that other places in the world do. Is there something specific you had in mind?

Hello and welcome to the forum from Kalamunda.

I heard and read about the Flow Hive (FH), but I don’t have.
I don’t even have a bee hive since I am back in CH.
My questions concern the use of the FH, and its issues
with respect to wax moth, foulbrood and varroa.

In the FH, the front of each cell accessible to the workers
when new or after “extraction” has an irregular shape,
so the workers “finish” it with a small wax wall, plus
capping. Is there enough bee wax to allow wax moths
to grow, if the FH is removed and stored in a shed over
winter at sub-zero temperatures?

From what I understand, but I may be wrong, the FH
is added at the top of 2-3 Langstroth supers. One super
equals one wooden box, either deep medium or shallow
in height (US jargon), same footprint. Most people say
that the queen does not like to lay brood in the FH,
but there were some reports that found brood in the FH.

If the queen can be prevented or discouraged from laying
brood into the FH (with or without a queen excluder),
then foulbrood should not be found in the FH. But,
given that the bottom of the hive are regular Langstroths,
there could be foulbrood in those bottom supers.

Are there any issues with the FH in terms of varroa?

Probably enough wax, but I bet it would be tough going for the larvae, navigating around the plastic would be very hard work! However, if you store any frames at sub zero temperatures, you will kill off wax moth larvae and eggs. There are no special problems with wax moths and Flow frames that I have heard about.

Not sure what the question is, but you may not know that once there is foul brood in a hive, the whole hive is considered infected. It doesn’t matter where the brood is, the spores from the bacteria will permeate the whole hive. If it is AFB, you will still have to sterilize the Flow frames, even if there is no brood in them.

No different from any other hive. I have traditional hives and a Flow hive. I take care of them all the same way when it comes to varroa, and they all seem to have approximately the same levels of infestation.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to
address my questions / concerns.

When I first heard about the success story of the
Flow Hive, especially the father and son part, I
thought “Wow”. Now I could pull my armchair
next to my hive, open my tap(s), then doze off
for 25 minutes or so, close the jars and go home.

Now, after some “digging”, I think there is no such
thing as a recliner near a bee hive. Clearly, the
Flow Hive is just a clever way of extracting honey,
but the rest of beekeeping (checking hive health
and queen status, prevention of swarming) still
takes up the majority of time, even with a Flow
Hive, as I understand it.

So I think that with my age (67) it would be better
to stick to my old ways (updated, of course), if I
were to come out of bee keeping retirement.

However, since I am the only “expert” alive in my
family who has ever kept bees, everyone asks me
what to do…

One brother of mine near Perth has a hollow tree
with a completely natural bee hive inside, wants
to "cut the tree, then put a Flow Hive on the trunk).
I said: “You can try this at your own risk, but I wouldn’t”.

Another brother had the idea to create an almond
farm and was looking to hire me as the care taker.
I said: “Only if bees have nectar all year long in the same
place, i.e., no almond monoculture, no hauling bees.”

Another brother wants to keep bees in South Africa…

Most importantly, my son with wife and children (4 and 2)
living in the country side of Switzerland would like to have
bees. I suggested to him to join the local beekeepers’
association and take it from there.