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Completely new to beekeeping questions


#1

I’m wondering if someone can help me understand how to get started using the Flow hive. I’ve read through a few topics on the forum and still have some questions… I was planning to buy the complete Flow Hive kit.

How would I move a new colony of bees from a nuc to the Flow Hive?

Do I require additional equipment (other than a suit, smoker, tools) to use the Flow Hive? I keep seeing references to buying deep frames, but I thought the complete hive came with frames…


#2

Moving the bees in depends on how the Nuc grows, time of year, is the Nuc a Langstroth? The frames from the nuc if a lang, will just slip straight into the Flow Brood box when the time is right. You will need a little help/tuition or to join a group locally to get more hands on advice.

The complete Flow Hive comes with 2 Brood Boxes/Deep Supers… The Brood box is the standard size and the super’s are often called Mediums and then there are larger ones called Jumbo.

On the Flow hive the Super is the same size as the brood box. There is no rule to say brood boxes cannot be used for super’s so no big deal just means more honey from the larger surface area - but will take that bit longer to fill than normal Super’s.

Small = Medium /super’s for honey collection
Normal = Brood or Deep Super - bee rearing boxes
Jumbo = Deeper than normal Brood - Rearing or Very large Honey Collection - but would be way to heavy

The complete Flow comes with entrance, roof, Queen excluder - can’t remember if you get frames for the Brood box so probably need some of those - something to raise the Hive off the ground - breeze blocks, stand - what ever you plan needs to be sturdy. Probably some Wax sheets or wired wax sheets - Those are the basics - but I’m sure you’ll find more things to buy and use :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee: :bee:

If your in Canada you may need to think about ventilation and warmth for winter

Oh! And don’t forget to get some bees :smile:

Hope that helps


#3

Thanks Valli, I appreciate the quick response. Here is the list of everything that comes with the Complete FLOW Hive.

Flow™ Box (Western Red Cedar)
Brood box (Western Red Cedar)
with 8 x standard frames
6 x Flow™ Frames
6 x Flow™ Tubes
1 x Flow™ Key
Base
Roof
Queen excluder
Printed manual

So where I’m confused is the 8 standard frames it comes with, and the 6 Flow frames. To me this suggests that I literally JUST need to add bees… so perhaps the million dollar question is… if I buy the bees. do they have to come on a frame? How do I move them to the FLOW Hive?


#4

The Flow frames are a bit wider than normal frames so:
An 8 normal frame Langstroth it takes only 6 Flow Frames
A 10 normal frame Langstroth it takes only 7 Flow Frames

Yes you’re right all you need are the bees and something sturdy to stand the hive on, off the ground.
The brood box goes on the bottom with 8 frames, then the Queen excluder then the Flow box and 6 Flow frames goes on top.

You buy bees in a NUC - on frames in a box - Langstroth Frames just transfer to Flow hives
or as a Bee Ball box with food and Queen in a cage - tip into hive as required
or if you already have bees but the Queen is no good a Mated Queen


#5

How does that transfer process work? That is where I’m getting confused I think. I understand the Queen excluder, how to remove the cork, keep her in, etc.

Was planning to buy bees and queen all together from a local apiary.


#6

So you would either buy a Ball of Bees - box, food supply and a caged queen to keep her safe and so you can see her - she should be marked.

or here in the UK we buy a Nuc of bees - in a Nuc Box with frames - so you need to make sure it is Langstroth so you can just lift the frames into your hive from the Nuc, into the brood section of the hive, usually about 5 or 6 frames so you make it up to 8/10 frames depending on your hive (which ever size it is) then put the flow box and frames on top.

Depending on what you get, the bee ball you just shake the bees from the box into the new brood box - gently, and place the caged Queen between the frames and there should be a candy plug to for the workers to eat through to let her out. If there is a cork it needs to be replaced with a candy plug. The workers will feed the Queen through the “Butler Cage” or whatever cage she comes in

The Nuc - depending on how many bees in the nuc - when they are enough in numbers transfer the frames into the Flow brood box


#7

Apologies if this is getting redundant, but I just want to make sure I truly understand clearly.

Would I just replace the brood box frames that come with the Complete Flow Hive with the nuc frames that are shipped to me? Is it really that easy?

Brad


#8

Yes. It is that easy! Obviously on a nice sunny day, in a bee suit!


#9

Awesome! What do I do with the frames that come with the brood box? Just keep them handy?


#10

There will be plenty of opportunity to obtain more hives and grow your Apiary!

Soon you will wonder why you didn’t buy more frames LOL


#11

Thank you Bmoggach and Valli, that was a great question and very clear and informative answers, I have 2 flow hives coming but because I am a complete novice I will be taking my time and making sure I understand everything before I get my bees, I would really love to do a course but I don’t think they come up very often


#12

@Raelene we are here to help each other. I find sometimes people just lurk when they should be asking questions - no question is dumb if it helps you and others - sometime we need to hear things in a slightly different way so it sinks in - Glad to be of help - you made my day :smile:


#13

@Valli You advice has been indispensable! I’m extremely grateful. This might be a crazy question, but if you have 8 frames in the brood box (and this is where you put the nucs with bees)… why do the travel upwards to the Flow Frames in this instance to produce honey? Why not just stay in the brood box?

Thanks,
Brad


#14

They fill the brood box with brood. When it is full they need somewhere to store the honey so they move up into the flow hives. They wont move up into the second box until they need to, which is why it is a good idea to make sure your hive is strong and reproducing quickly so that you can have the bee bodies needed to store excess honey.


#15

bmoggach
not only I am a complete novice to beekeeping and the flow frames, I have never done any type of forum on line, so forgive me in advance if I error. In reading your questions, I had questions of your questions. However your tenacity has inspired me to just keep asking until clarity is achieved. I also plan on starting out with a flow frame, next spring. I live at just under 7,000 feet and winters can be harsh. I wonder when the best time of year is for starting a hive?


#16

Whenever your spring is. Establishing a hive and then giving it a full summer season and harvest to grow and become self sufficient before the onslaught of cold weather is your best bet. This is when the bees naturally swarm and establish new hives themselves.

I live in California and would not want to start a hive in the late fall or winter. And our weather is reasonably mild, with forage of some sort most of the year.


#17

I asked someone locally about the cost a Nuc… and they mentioned a standard Nuc is 4 frames. IS that sufficient or should I get two Nucs?


#18

No because two nucs means two queens. The benefit of the Nuc is that you start with drawn out frames already containing brood with pollen and honey. This gives you a jump start in building out the other 4 frames. With a package of bees for example the bees have to build out the comb first before the queen can even begin laying which slows down the speed that the colony can grow in the first few weeks. With the nuc you will just fill in the other 4-6 frames with empty frames (depending on whether you have an 8 or 10 frame box) and they will start pulling those frames out, but you still have the original 4 to continue producing new brood while that happens.


#19

I am buying the complete Hive kit, which comes with 8 standard frames in the brood box. SO - I would just swap out 4 frames from the brood box with the 4 frames that come with the Nuc… this is my understanding from Valli and other posts.

Then, the bees will go to work on the other frames as the colony grows?


#20

3 Flow frames with 4 normal Frames I think?? 6 Flows Frames = 8 normal frames