It will be interesting to read your update and to see pics Jack. My gut feeling is the long time before capping may be because of the lower temperature in the flow hive because of the brood not being under it so less temp and air flow and so it could take a longer time to evaporate the water from the honey, but I could also be wrong.
I pick up 2 nuc’s on Sunday from JeffH
For me, since the honey super was above the brood, this could not have been the issue in the length of time.
In my horizontal setup, there might be less air flow, but there are more vents
It’s working fine. The bees have built some comb in the wall cavity, but as I thought, they were clever enough not to block access to the Flow Frames/honey store.
I realised after that, since the boxes are not on top of each other, they can be different sizes. I could have used a standard 10 frame box for the brood box, rather than sticking to 8 frame size, which would have been better, as I could have used a standard lid and modified bottom board (to trap shb). I had to change a 10 frame modified bottom board to 8 frame size.
I also realised after, that I could have kept the viewing window and just cut a smaller hole, or slit for the bees to travel between boxes. Even cutting the right size so the workers could fit through, but not the queen (or drones), thus not needing to put a queen excluder, a cut down old thin plastic one, between the two boxes.
With the standard lids I use, there is not enough room for bees between the Flow frames and the lid, so I worked out I could use the original inner from the Flow hive lid (see pic), or an 8 frame size propolis mat.
I think I forgot to say, it’s very beautiful, especially compared to mine!
Hi all, update again.
Now that spring is here, I feed my bees a tonic to help prevent disease (sugar, water and garlic).
Last year I removed a flow frame to put in the internal feeder. This year I thought of a new idea. Since I don’t need to access the flow frames, I put the old brood box on the top of it, with the original lid, as a honey super with normal frames. So I can put the feeder in the upper honey super. See pic, which also has a nuc split from the Flow Hive, next to it. So the white box is the brood box and has the entrance. The two brown boxes on the right, are now honey supers, with no external entrances.
Maybe should move the bricks to the right a bit.
I’ve not noticed any reluctance to fill the Flow Frames or preference for those nearer the brood and it’s good that honey doesn’t spill onto the brood when harvesting.
so- are the bees filling up your flow frames? If yes- that’s great news.
and also- when you say you won’t need to access the flow frames- why do you say that? How will you know when they are fully capped?
I guess you mean the Flow Frames, if so, yes. I only put new frames with foundation in the new honey super yesterday, so they are not ready.
As I understand it, part of the whole purpose of the Flow Frames is, not to have to lift them out and potentially kill bees. I just look thru the viewing window at the back and if the frame looks full, I extract.
unfortunately Flow frames are not as easy as that. the view through the rear window cannot tell you exactly what is happening across the entire frame. At times the entire frame can be fully capped and ready for harvest: except for the cells on the very edges/far ends. So you can look at that rear view and see nothing- yet the frame has been capped for ages. At other times it can look as if it is capped from the rear view- but the middle of the frame will have a large empty arc of honey.
the only way to be really sure is to periodically lift out the frames and have a look. You don’t need to remove them all- you can lift one out and look down beside it to see what is happening ont he adjacent frames 9assuming there are not too many bees in the super blocking the view).
As an example: last season i did not look inside my long hive for a few months over summer- and the flow frames looked like they were largely empty as I could see very little honey in that rear window. However when i opened it up and removed a frame I found it was 98% fully capped. So I harvested- but the fact was I probably could have harvested them a month earlier if I had inspected.
from my experience that rear view is most useful during the main nectar flow- when it can give you a good indication of what is happening inside. At other times of the season it can be more unreliable. The only way to be 100% sure is to inspect.
I am very familiar with the situation, thanks and I have decided to rely on the window at the back.
I keep the honey separate and let it sit for more than a week and none has fermented. So the moisture content is fine, so far and I have not heard of anyone having their honey ferment when relying on the back window.
I don’t rely on the Flow hive for my honey. I have other hives. So if the frames are 98% fully capped, but look uncapped at the rear window. It doesn’t bother me at all and just means there is plenty of honey for the bees.
I don’t plan on starting to lift the Flow frames out and if I change my mind, I can then decide if I’ll keep the other honey super on the top or not.
Frames only need to be 75% capped anyhow. So I don’t need to know that they are 100% capped, as you seem to.
I so get you on this.
Just put a flow super on my son’s beach hive 3 weeks ago, had no sign of action in the back, only a bit of nectar in the side window.
The colony swarmed. We had no indication that the flow frames were all fully capped, except frame 1 and all the back 3 columns of the flow frames. There was no sign whatsoever that the bees considered their super full.
My son extracted a lot of good dry honey to make room for the future.
I have 14 other flow hives, but never saw it like this.
… as I have written elsewhere in this forum …
The main reason a hive swarms is not because, as commonly thought, there is too much food - who would leave a place because there is too much well kept food? - but rather because the queen does not have room to lay more eggs. It’s because they happen at the same time, that people think it’s due to too much honey.
A frame has about 8,000 cells and the queen can lay up to 2000 eggs per day. I average it out to one frame per week. If we take, from the brood box, two frames of honey from the sides and two frames of brood from the centre (the latter two rotated up to a honey super for the bees to hatch out - vis the reason people doing this swarm prevention maintenance, with only one Flow hive, should have a hybrid Flow super), pushing the other brood together and putting, ideally sticky replacements on the outsides, that is generally enough time for one month’s egg laying in spring and summer (the honey and mating seasons). (Alternatively you can do a split every two months.)
This also enables us to keep black wax out of the hive, for once the eggs hatch out - nurse bees come from the brood box to care for them - the bees fill the cells with honey and then it’s extracted and black stickies dewaxed and new foundation added (or not, if you don’t use it).
When I first put on the Flow super, there seemed to be great reluctance to use the frames. I put it on the start of summer (January, here) and they didn’t seem to use them till the start of the next spring (it was September here), but I didn’t lift the frames to see what was really happening. My local bee supplier said he was surprised the Flow frames weren’t coated with wax, as you do with plastic foundation. But the bees worked it out eventually.
This thread is now totally off topic… Please search for this topic in other posts, or start a new post/use private messages to discuss further.
G’day Brother Joe, I hope you don’t mind me staying off topic. I read that a queen can lay up to 3k eggs a day. Also I counted just over 6k cells on a frame. During a busy spring flow, I estimate that good queens, with the support of a healthy colony can lay a frame in 2 days. I’m pretty sure that I’m currently seeing that kind of performance in some of my hives.
I certainly appreciate being corrected, thanks. I checked my numbers and came up with just under 3,200 on one side. I think I just repeated what I had heard and hadn’t checked myself. Anyway, it was an estimate.
I don’t appreciate continuing off topic discussion and it is discouraged in any forum I know of. Please comment/supply a source for your numbers at this new topic, if you wish:
How many eggs does the queen lay in one day?.
I feel glad you’re seeing such productive queens. In any case, making more room for the queen, will (help) prevent swarming.
I’ve prepared for my next convert. A couple of things I’ve noticed are:
I only put screws in from the honey super side, so I wouldn’t disturb the brood in case I needed to disconnect the boxes.
the screws in the plain (un-windowed) side of the Flow super that is to be screwed to the other box, would best be counter sunk. I had already painted over them, so I left them prodruding. It’s not a major concern, but there is a 2mm gap between the boxes after screwing. I imagine the bees will propolise it.
the screws caught as they were going in and moved the alignment of the boxes a little, so using a clamp, which I don’t have, would have been best.
it was a bit daunting cutting the slit in the boxes after screwing them. I used a circular saw. The blade gave a 3mm cut when tested on another piece of wood and then I used a grinder to make it bigger. It has to be at least 4mm and not more than 4.5mm, I believe. I would prefer to have it done professionally. I’m taking a chance and may have to put a piece of queen excluder over it later.
Oh dear. I so wanted to go off topic with this comment. But for once I won’t, because it might disturb Brother Joe’s karma.
I’m converting you next, watch out!
oops, couldn’t resist humour…
I decided to cut a bigger window and use some queen excluder, rather than take the chance the queen could fit thru my unprofessional woodwork. I might get it cut professionally next time.
I decided to put the queen excluder on the brood box side. In the previous attempt, it was between the two joined boxes.
If I were doing it again, I’d cut the hole in the boxes before joining them, as I did last time. That way I could cut lower than the incut handle/s.
Intend to transfer the bees on Friday. Some former bee w’shop attendees might come to see/help(?). I can do it myself, it’s not a hard job, but I invited them in case they were free and interested. One had already expressed interest.
PS i coat the inside of my boxes with wax, rather than paint them.