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Brood Box Extraction Process + Other Q's


#1

Hello, I am completely new to beekeeping, so much so in fact I am still in the stage of just initially researching the process and what it requires, before I actually consider purchasing any equipment.

So far I’ve only done about one day of research, by watching all the Flow videos provided and just brief research into the different honeybee species and the pros and cons of each depending on the environment.

So far these are the initial questions I have, apologises if these are really basic, explained somewhere in the information already provided or I have not used the correct termniology, but would love it if someone could potentially please help to answer the following:

  1. On reviewing the one of the flow videos, briefly discussed was the brood box extraction process, consisting of:

opening hive;
removing the frame;
brushing off all the bees;
processing in shed/ kitchen;
cutting the wax capping off, with a heated knife;
spinning frames in a centrifuge/ extractor;
filtering out the dead bees + wax;
taking the frames back to the hive;
clean up the mess.

  • Was just wondering if Flow could provide a video on this process to explain this further?
  • How to open the hive, how to remove frames, and how to brush of the bees, have been extensively covered- but was wondering if you could explain:
  • The best technique/ way of cutting off capped honey?- What do you do with the capped wax? Can you repurpose this ? - Do you just dispose of it? - Can you compost it? saw you can buy additional piercing like/ roller tools is there particular specialist equipment for this- will flow produce their own version of any fo these kinds of equipment?? (would be nice to be able to purchase this all from you rather than having to source from different brands/ companies)

  • What centrifuge/ extractor is compatible with flow brood frames- Will flow potentially produce their own centrifuge which can be compatible with your own frames so people can buy this from you direct?? Is there a particular type of centrifuge/ company you use which is compatible with your sized frames? Does this vary depending on your region- e.g. is UK sizing different from US/AUS sized frames? I’ve seen a lot of people with homemade centrifuges- is this okay or is a manufactured one best for not damaging existing honey cells (if this matters at all) Is it quite common for people to make their own- is this not really a problem?

*Could you (while you are going through this extraction process) place new brood frames in your brood box, rather than waiting on the frames you are preparing in this process? Are there particular benefits or weaknesses in using the pre-existing brood frames or is this dependable on the season and how productive your bees are being? I.E. would this maybe be okay to promote the bees to naturally create their own wax again rather than using the wax from the pre-existing frames? Or is this too much to expect the bees to do over and over again? is this only okay in high pollination/ production seasons when they have a higher yield?

*filtering the honey? - what do you use just a sieve? or can you buy specialised pieces of equipment to do this?

** So if I was to purchase a flow hive, I would be able to use the technology to get honey from the super. Is it required for me to even do this brood box extraction process at all as long as I didn’t want the honey from the brood box??? or is this required as part of the upkeep and maintenance of a healthy bee colony? As long as I checked the bee brood box for disease etc. would I need to do this process at all- it just sound it requires a lot of additional equipment. if i wasn’t to harvest the brood honey would this cause issues with excess? or would the bees just feed off of it?

*Is there any significant difference between the honey produced in the super compared to the brood? or it varies but it is does so due to time of collection, and plant type of pollination rather than a noticeable difference due to the sectional location within the hive? Is there a preferred/ more desired honey type on average to collect out of the two (super vs brood) (if there is a distinction at all)? Does a clear distinction with honey only occur when using different bee species?- or is it predominately affected on time of year and plant type- What factors affect honey the most significantly?

*What are the recommendations when it comes to placing more than one hive on the same garden/ area? - is there a minimum distance you should place them apart? I am assuming you cannot have more than one species of bee in the same area- due to them potentially invading each other hives? or are there species which are compatible together? Or should this be avoided due to crossbreeding?

[Sorry for the bombardment of questions] :grinning: thank you to anyone who can answer any of the questions above.


#2

Hi there and welcome to the Flow forum. Your questions are really asking us to teach you the whole of beekeeping in one post! :smile: Seriously though, I think you will get a lot of answers when you read or watch a bit more about beekeeping.

This is not actually a correct concept. Beekeepers very rarely extract honey from the brood boxes. I think what you mean is a traditional honey extraction process, from honey “supers”. Flow probably doesn’t make videos of traditional extraction, as the whole point of their design is that you don’t need to do it. However, I am sure that youtube will have plenty of videos for you to watch. Just try a search.

Again your concept is not really clear. There are two main forms of honey that beekeepers collect, one is comb honey, the other is liquid honey. For comb honey, you just use a sharp knife to cut the wax comb out of the wood hive frames. For liquid honey, you either uncap and spin the frames, or you “crush and strain”. Again, a youtube search will save me time from typing it all out in less than 10,000 words. :blush:

If you mean the wax cappings which are cut off the comb prior to spinning the frames, many people render it and use it to make candles, soap and cosmetics. You can’t compost it.

I don’t work for Flow. The vast majority of people on this Forum are unpaid hobby beekeepers, who are just sharing their experience. Flow does not sell traditional extraction equipment, but in the UK, Thorne among other suppliers do.
https://www.thorne.co.uk

The whole point of the Flow super is that you don’t need a centrifuge. At all. Full stop. End of story. :wink:

As we don’t generally extract honey from brood frames, this is a non-issue. The plastic Flow super frames stay in the box on the hive during extraction, so there is no need to replace them.

My Flow hive honey has never needed straining (filtering), but traditional honey usually does. Thorne has a selection of strainers, as does eBay.

Honey in the super is excess and not needed by the bees. Honey in the brood box is used to keep them alive over winter. No difference in quality. However, if you crush and strain brood box comb, the honey will very likely be contaminated with larval bee poo. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The flow hive is only used for Apis mellifera species (European honey bees), you can’t use it for bumblebees. Within that species, there are strains, such as Italian, Russian, Caucasian, Carniolan, Buckfast etc. They all make honey which is the same quality, changed only by the forage available. They can all use the Flow hive.

You really need to buy a basic beekeeping book. Beekeeping for Dummies is not bad. This is a huge subject, and will depend on how big your property is, how close neighbours are, local regulations on beekeeping, etc. Join a local bee club and ask them too.

Commercial beekeepers place them right next to each other. I like mine about 6 feet apart to give me space to work between them.

Not true. But you will only have one species anyway. All hobbyist honey bees are Apis mellifera species. Even if you chose two or three different strains, as mentioned above, they are all the same species.

Hope that helps, but please do some internet searching, book reading and join a local club if you are serious about beekeeping.


#3

I read the first part of your questionnaire. You are referring to the flow campaign video where they show all of the challenges of harvesting honey the traditional way. They say that harvesting honey from flow frames is much easier. HOWEVER, everything else associated with beekeeping, the myriads of challenges remain the same.

I agree with @Dawn_SD, join a local club & do lots of reading.


#4

Hi there @HFWalker - it sounds like your curiosity has been sparked enough to warrant signing up for a beekeeping class! I highly recommend doing this, so you can get real-time and hands-on understanding of all the equipment, vocabulary and concepts. Since you’re still undecided about becoming a beekeeper, you could look for a one-day or even a two-hour presentation. Good luck, and check back in if you do end up moving forward! :blush:


#5

Look at YouTube videos, there are lots of them covering any subject in bee keeping, join a local bee keeping club and get hands on experience. There is a basic book called “Bee keeping for Dummies”, you local library would likely have it, it is worth reading but you will not need to buy it type of book. Get to know the terminology and the difference between Flow Hive and traditional hives.
From your questions you are a long way to go before you could take on the responsibility of care for a hive but if you follow the advise you will get there quicker and to enjoy your bees producing honey for you.
Regards