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Complete beginner


Hey all. Hubby and I picked up our hive today and he assembled it. I’m painting it tomorrow and the bees arrive may 25. Unfortunately all the local courses are fully booked until mid June. (we are signed up for a class in June) so I’m wondering what we need to know for May 25th. We are getting a nuc with a queen. I have researched and watched videos for months. I think I have the transfer of the nuc to our brood box figured out. Then check it until it’s 60% full and add the next box repeat with that box and add a super? Do you think we will be able to harvest from our flow frames this year or should we just let our bees establish themselves? Anything else I’m missing? Hive will be at the back of our property beside a shed. Facing south east. Nice daily sun between a creek and a pond. Fruit orchard to the east and extensive flower gardens all around.


Depending on where you are, if you need two broodboxes, you might just get the cracks in the flow frames filled for your first year. All depends on climate and then weather.
Good luck on your new adventure. It sure is an interesting journey once you get into it. My grandkids are highly fascinated too. 3 of them now have a queen named after them. Need to expand for the others. For the boys I still have to get another idea.
Your boxes don’t look like flow boxes? Did you just get a flow box separately?


That will depend on where in the world you are located. It would be really nice if you wouldn’t mind filling in your profile to show your approximate location. :blush: By putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat, I see perhaps Ontario, Canada… :wink:

Sort of correct, but change that to all comb fully drawn and 80% full of food or brood, and all frames covered in bees.

In your climate, you should consider 3 brood boxes as it looks like you have an 8-frame Langstroth (I agree with @Webclan - it doesn’t look like a genuine Flow hive, but the advice is still the same) . A 10-frame Langstroth would have 20 frames in 2 brood boxes. Yours will only have 16, and that may not be enough food in your climate unless you are very careful with monitoring and supplementing their supplies over winter.

If you are in Canada, I would be very surprised if you can harvest this year. Your bees need big help to survive the big freeze if your winter goes back to normal next year. Then extract honey next year, feeling virtuous that you put the bees first. :blush:


I’m just outside of Port Hope, Ontario. I will go fill out my profile now :slight_smile: guess I missed that!
We bought 10 frame brood boxes from a local supplier. They are also supplying the nuc. They have tons of hives and only use two brood boxes and they don’t even insulate in the winter.
We didn’t plan on getting honey this year. We don’t really care if we get any honey ever. It would just be a nice extra. We got the bees to learn about them and keeping them healthy is our number one priority


Jenna n Hubby,

You’ve gotten some good notes from others so far. Sounds like you’ve read n studied. I’m guessing your supplier well try to give you a dry-run when you pick up your Nuc.

I was a student beekeeper years ago but 2016 marked my return. Beekeeping had changed some but bees are still bees. Just take your time, don’t panic, n as we all have made small mistakes please learn !

Introducing the “Girls” to your hive might seem scary but I think we all had that little mental battle. When it was all done I wonder why I felt unsure … It was just 1,2,3,4, n 5 ! I left the two outside in my brood box. Then took each frame one by one keeping in order n same direction place them in my new hive box. Reinstall the other empty frames two to one side n one the other… With my hive tools I carefully (Slowly so the girls n queen have time to move) pushed all the frames including the five from the nuc together. There will be some extra space to the outside of both wall frames. Just keep it equal somewhat n the bees are much less to build creative comb !

Question ! Have you decided to go with foundationless, reinforced wax or plastic foundation. If foundationless please check often (Probably weekly) to see your girls are building weird or creatively.

Now keep on keeping on ! Even make a couple practice dry runs there at your apiary. That way you know you have everything in place and available. When I brought my Nuc home I set it on top the hive for any hour to let them settle down a wee bit from the ride. After that I opened the hole n let them reorient to their new location. If you let them out they usually start foraging some. That means fewer worker bees inside the Nuc to deal with and transfer. Don’t worry the returning bees will quickly find there new home because the location is the same n they will also smell their queens scent ! It’s a piece of cake ! :wink::exclamation:️:+1:

Cheers n good luck :four_leaf_clover:,


@Jenna_Williams you mention a fruit orchard nearby. Best advice I can give if you know the folks is to find out what pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides they use and when they spray. It could be worth providing your bees with water and trapping them in the hive the days they spray…


Snowflake: It’s just a backyard orchard. Maybe 10 trees. They don’t spray at all, I already asked, but thank you for the info. I am kind of worried about the farmers field behind us, but it is through some forest so I’m hoping the bees stay closer to home. There are also hives on the two properties to the west of us, also surrounded by farm fields and I have talked to them and they haven’t had any issues :slight_smile:

Gerald: Thanks for the info, we are planning on picking up the nuc at dusk and leaving them beside the hive for an hour or two and then transferring once dark. Our frames have plastic foundations, that’s what was included with our “kit” and what they use where we are getting the bees from. Are they any better/worse than other kinds? We bought a top feeder today to feed for a while once we install the nuc. How long should we be feeding? there should be plenty for them to forage by June 1st.



Plastic foundation is strong, but the disadvantage is that bees can be slow to accept it. For beginning beekeepers, it is a good choice, as it won’t fall apart during inspections. I prefer wired wax foundation, but then you are accepting whatever chemicals may be dissolved in the wax. Foundationless is perhaps the best, but suffers from great fragility - not easy to learn beekeeping with flimsy comb.

It depends on your local nectar flow, and how strong the nucleus is when you get it. If it has more than one empty frame, I would be feeding for at least one week with 1:1 white sugar to water. Then reassess and if everything is filling up nicely, no need to do more - they will gather something much better from the flowers. :blush:


Thanks Dawn! I am so glad I found this site. The 1:1 sugar/water does that need to be boiled into a simple syrup or just mixed together? Hubby is prepping the site for our hive tomorrow and I am painting on a second coat. Here is a pic of the backyard. Hopefully the bees find it homey :slight_smile:


Please don’t boil it. Boiling can generate small amounts of caramel, which contains HMF and is toxic to bees. If I have plenty of time, I just use very hot tap water (about 60C) and stir the sugar in. If you leave it sitting for a couple of hours, remembering to stir every 20-30 mins, it will dissolve with no further heating. If it hasn’t dissolved, just warm it gently for 5 mins over a low heat, and the rest of the sugar will dissolve right away.

P.S. Your back yard is gorgeous. Wish I lived there! :blush:


That’s Monet’s garden at Giverny! You guys should have happy (and spoilt) bees that’s for sure.


Looks like you have the water source well covered there! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


In my first year with Flow Hive, I did not get any honey. The girls worked hard here in Wisconsin, USA to seal up all the cracks and prepare the flow frames, but I ran out of summer before they could start filling it. I am hopeful this year I can get a new Nuc (I lost my colony this winter… weakened by Mites). I noticed in your picture the roof appears to be metal. My first year Flow Hive had a slatted roof which was OK but I really like yours. Is that what Flow is shipping now? Good luck!


Scarpwi this lid was from a local supplier “the dancing bee”. I love the look of it. We shall see how it performs. Might get a normal flat lid for the winter… easier to keep in on.


I think you have prepared very well. I assume you are in Nth Hemi and I’m in Aust, but the seasons dictate bee behaviour. I found it is worth leaving them in the nuc for the first week or two until the bees get to know their new surroundings and place it next to where your new hive will be. This will make the transition easier. It is best the new hive is left for two weeks to allow paint fumes to disappear. I found Tung oil to be brilliant otherwise a stain rather than paint as it highlights the timber, but it is a personal choice. You then add another super or ideal late in summer if food for the bees is ample. You should produce enough honey to harvest some or all of your frames in early Autumn. The beauty of the Flowhive is it is easy to see and observe and a partial harvest is easier. Remember the Queen excluder to keep her in the brood box’ (s). The last point is to not harvest all the honey late Autumn, prior to Winter, as the bees need enough honey to enable them to survive Winter and early Spring depending on where you live and the severity of your seasons. Lastly your enthusiasm to learn will prevail and courses are well worth the time. Good Luck from downunder,