First year. All was well so I waited until a warm-ish day in October to harvest honey from the super. I took from 3/7 frames. A couple of weeks ago in November I went to take the super off and put it in our basement. The bees were all gone! I took the super inside and harvested the rest of the honey. What do I do with the frames in the brood box and what do I do with the harvested super frames?
I’ve ordered two more nucs for the spring. How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? The local beekeeping supply store things it was veroa mites. I never checked or treated for them. Didn’t think I needed to, but they said that mite are pretty common here. Looking for help with next steps. Thank you all in advance!
That is pretty late, but I would check with your local beekeepers, as some areas have a late nectar flow in the fall. Here in California, we are pretty much done by early August. I take the supers off by September at the latest, otherwise the bees jam them up with propolis which is horrible to remove.
If they are empty, keep them somewhere cold (garage, shed etc) and wrap them in burlap/hessian to stop wax moths, cockroaches and other pests from getting at them. You could use plastic, but that can encourage mold, so I prefer something breathable but insect-proof.
Freeze them, and then wrap in burlap. they will be fine next year.
Run double brood boxes, if you aren’t already. Single brood is not enough in Colorado
Do proper varroa mite counts. Not sticky boards. Not visual inspection of bees. Get or make a kit to do sugar roll or alcohol wash counts, but assume that you will need to treat at least twice per year, and maybe more. I usually treat in early March, then again in August and often September/October.
Learn from your mistakes, and you will become a great beekeeper!
I would also suggest that you join a local bee club. Don’t mention that you have a Flow hive, as most traditional beekeepers are not fans of Flow. Just say that you have a Langstroth hive, and ask your questions from there. Everything about managing a Flow hive is the same as for Langstroths, except for the harvesting. We can help you with the harvesting. Use your locals for the advice needed for non-harvesting issues.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yes, I have noticed that traditionally, beekeepers are not a fan. I feel like a closet Flow hivekeeper. If it wasn’t for the Flow I probably wouldn’t be doing it, but I absolutely love it. Cried when my bees left. Lots of lessons learned here. I appreciate the support! And @EricR it’s nice to know there are others in CO!
Where the colonies are broodless or nearly broodless because of the winter and dearth, a varroa treatment around the winter solstice is pretty popular too. I don’t do an alcohol wash for this treatment because it is too cold to open up the hive but I count the mite drop 24° after the vaporization and treat again in 5-7 days if there’re more that 25 mites.
I have also been doing a mite check with low threshold for treatment about 2 weeks before I am going to put the super on, so in early-mid April. Unless it is a really nice day, I might to an accelerated mite drop count for this treatment too.
Your seasons may differ a bit but are probably more similar to mine than in San Diego.
Hi Kim, Flow beekeeping does come with challenges that traditional beekeepers don’t face. You’ll get lots of help in this forum to help you deal with those challenges as they arise.
Some people start their beekeeping journey as Flow beekeepers, then as they get serious about beekeeping, turn into traditional beekeepers. One example is @Rodderick . I think @Semaphore & also @Webclan fall into that category. However they still use their Flow hives, I think.
Question on this: the frames are full with honey and obviously dead brood. Should I not dispose of them if a new colony will be coming in the spring? If so, how should I do that. I heard you can’t simply throw them away.
RE: harvested super frames: Do I clean them first? If so how? And if I do that, do you mean one at a time, wrap them individually in burlap and then inside of what? Will the heated basement work or should it be out in the garage for sure? TIA.
If you have enough space, and they don’t smell bad at this point, I would wrap them in plastic and keep in the freezer until you get your new colony. Try to store them upright, otherwise any uncapped honey will slowly leak out of the cells. Honey doesn’t really freeze, it goes to a caramel-like texture, and makes a pesky mess in the freezer if you didn’t know about it! (Yes, it has happened to me). I know it sounds gross, but bees are perfectly happy to recycle dead larvae for the protein. Any that they don’t fancy, will just get tossed out of the hive.
If you don’t have the freezer space, I would freeze them for 24 hours to kill off wax moth eggs, then cut out the areas of comb with brood in them and store the remaining frame with honey in a hive box wrapped in burlap in a cool place. The part with brood in it can then either be thrown in the trash, or you can render it for the wax. A bit messy and gross, but the wax will be perfectly good.
You don’t need to do that, unless they have propolis or dead brood in them. The bees will clean them up when you put it back on the hive again.
I would freeze them for 24 hours (wax moth eggs again), then put them all back in the super box. Wrap the whole box in burlap and leave in the garage. The cooler, the better. No need to have them inside the house. As long as they are protected from sun and pests, they will be fine.