May I ask what you paid for it Anton? ( including import duties).
Any chance you could bring me one back too?
@Marina_Rust_Evans I just ordered my Michael Bush beekeeping books, SO excited! Still saving up for the flow hive/suit/smoker/extra brood box, which adds up to £700+. As soon as I have mine, I shall look to see how much space it takes up and how much it weighs and let you know. We are selling all our furniture, so coming back with only suitcases, so I cannot promise anything. Maybe if you only got the flow super? But anyway, we shall see.
Where are you based? I’m really keen to learn more about apis mellifera capensis and how beekeeping with them differs from “normal” honeybees: in the market for a mentor, so if you could suggest anyone, I’d be so happy!
I am investigation getting a flow hive but have a couple of concerns: specifically relating to issues such as honey crystallising in the comb and also honey that is very thick and sticky (myrtle, flowering gum) ie: how will it ‘flow’.
I am in the overberg.
Gums (terribly invasive in South Africa) are from Australia and as far as I know people in Australia, where the flow super was invented, have not been complaining about the viscosity of their honey. Do correct me if I’m wrong. As for myrtle, I’m not certain. Is that from Europe?
I suppose harvesting honey when it’s nice and warm will ensure the honey has a lower viscosity, which will ease the process. The Overberg is most certainly warm enough.
If it is honey which you could normally extract with a centrifuge, it should be just fine with the Flow frames too.
Honeys which crystallize rapidly will always be a problem, whatever your extraction method. In the UK, the classic example is Oil Seed Rape (Canola) honey. If you have that kind of nectar flow, you have 2 choices. First is not to have the Flow super on the hive when that particular crop is flowering. Second is not to leave the super with nectar in it for more than a couple of weeks - i.e. harvest the honey quickly, before it crystallizes. If the worst happened, and the honey did crystallize, you can warm the frames gently to reliquidize the honey - just keep the temperature below 70C to avoid damaging the plastic.
If you have plants which make thixotropic honey, like heather, jellybush and manuka, I don’t think there is a lot of Flow experience with those yet. Theoretically, rapidly opening and closing the frame should “jiggle” the honey enough to get it to flow, but I haven’t heard of anyone harvesting such a crop. It would be very frustrating if you couldn’t get it to Flow, so it will be useful to hear from anyone who has experienced it.
@Dawn_SD My meagre attempt at a hypothesis pales in comparison to your superior knowledge… I didn’t even know different types of honey crystallised at different temperatures. So much to learn!
Not so much at different temperatures, but at different speeds. For example the OSR honey I mentioned above will often crystallize within a couple of weeks. Many mixed flower honeys will crystallize over a 6 month period. Acacia honey almost never crystallizes. The speed of crystallization is more to do with the glucose concentration in the honey. They crystals are made of glucose, while the liquid that they are suspended in is mostly a fructose syrup. In other words, glucose is less soluble than fructose. OSR honey has a lot of glucose in it relative to the fructose, so it crystallizes rapidly. Acacia honey has a lot more fructose in it, so it crystallizes rarely, or slowly.
You have a good point about temperature though. Counterintuitively, crystallization can largely be halted by freezing. Frozen honey does not crystallize until after you defrost it. Amazing, but true! If honey does crystallize, you can get the glucose to go back into solution by warming the honey to between 40 and 50C. Of course if you do that, it is no longer considered “raw” and depending on how much you warm it, you will likely destroy some of the enzymes and denature the protein in the pollen. You may not care about that, but some people care a lot.
There is a very good article about honey on Wikipedia, which discusses crystallization in some detail:
I think I learn something new every day. I hope that I only stop learning when I am dead!
Here is the faq on Jellybush / thixotropic honey - https://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/do-flow-frames-work-with-manuka-jellybush-honey/p/103
Here is the faq on crystalised honey - https://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/does-the-honey-crystallise-in-the-flow-frame/p/69
At the moment I don’t think we have any more updates on thick honey… maybe on youtube or even on this forum
Oh shucks, thanks Dawn
— BLUEGUMS IN THE OVERBERG —
I have been pondering for a while why there are often cultivated rectangles of bluegums on Overberg farms, often within 100m or so of the farm house.
One suggestion was firewood, or windbreaks, however recently someone told me they thought they were to support the farmers’ beehives when the crops were dormant “in the old days”.
Certainly you often see hives being stored / sited under them.
Does anyone have a definitive answer on this?
I have found a company in the Western Cape that sells flow hives/frames. It seems way too cheap, though. I hope they’re legit. Better do your homework first.
I don’t know if they are genuine or not sorry. As far as I know we don’t have a distributor in South Africa, and only shipping from our website…
Just letting you know that I have heard back from the Flow legal team, and these are indeed fake Flow’s. We don’t have a distributor in South Africa yet. They used out image on their product
Thanks for looking out for us We appreciate all the help with these fraudsters.
So I brought my brand new Flow Hive from the UK and it arrived all in one piece. I got two nucs on the 31st of August. I transferred the one nuc to the Flow Hive on the 16th if September and installed the Flow super on the 29th of October. I “painted” the plastic frames with beeswax and sugar syrup and they took to it almost instantaneously.
I know this drought is throwing a horrible spanner in the works, but could anyone tell me when the main nectar flows in Durbanville would be?
Would love to connect and compare notes.
The Flowering Gum has been declared non-evasive due to its “food” properties for the Cape Honey Bee. It is an excellent source of food. I have since planted over 60 trees.
@Psy All gums were “declared” non-invasive when they were exported all over the world…
I know it would require a multipronged approach to replace gums with indigenous flora with equal flow-potential, but by Jove, it can and needs to be done! We live in the richest and smallest floral kingdom in the world; 9000 species of plants, of which 6200 are endemic, meaning they occur NOWHERE else in the world. It occupies an area of only 78,000 km2, just a little smaller than Austria, of which most has been degraded. Fynbos keeps apis mellifera capensis healthy. Don’t be ignorant, plant indigenous. NOTHING grows under or around established gums, apart from other gums of Australian flora. We have a responsibility to preserve, restore and expand.
I have recently started to gain an interest in beekeeping. Most info is on European Honey Bees. I found out that in the Western Cape (where I live), the native species is the Cape Honey Bee. I learned that the Cape Honey Bee’s worker bees can also lay eggs, which makes me wonder if they are viable as a species to be used for honey production, since a queen excluder won’t stop eggs from being laid in your honey supers. Is this true? If so, how do the beekeepers in the Western Cape get around this issue? (Do they use another species?) I am new to the world of beekeeping so sorry if these questions seem basic.