Does (or how does) including the CorFlute insert affect the functioning of the hive? I’m in Ireland — cool, damp climate. New to keeping bees, so when a more experienced beekeeper came by and saw the corflute insert in the lower slot I was advised (quite strongly) to take it off. We don’t have SHB in Ireland (yet) and the insert (or tray with the FH2) appears to be there in large part (as far as I can tell) to trap and control SHB and moth larvae. I’ve marked my insert with a grid for inspections, and looking at the insert gives me more info on the hive, even if I don’t always know what I am looking at. I’d like to put the insert back on (lower slot for summer/upper slot for winter) but would like other’s opinions.
For you climate in Ireland I would fit the corflute in the top slot all year. hot air from inside the hive rises and so to keep the brood as warm as possible the corflute should be in the top slot. Removing it completely will make it harder for the bees to maintain the best temperature for for brood. With the original FH1, and I’m assuming the FH2, you can get a good idea from looking at the corflute or tray as to how the bees are working. Taking it off it will tell you nothing about what is happening in the hive or in helping to keep the colony warm.
I don’t know if you have wax moth there but I do, the first I know of any in my hive is looking at the corflute, if I see one there then I know to look further which will of course stress the bees – but sliding out the corflute is nothing to do a check.
there is a bit of controversy over this issue. Some beekeepers in Asutrlia’s snow country have stared to use screened bottoms with no sliding cover at all and have reported good results. However they have suggested that to get the best out of that set up you have no ventilation at the top of the hive- and insulate your roof. So even though the bottom of the hive is open to the elements- the hive stays warm even in cold climates.
However: as you have no beetles- another option is just to leave the coreflute slider in the top slot effectively making your hive a solid bottom hive. I think the whole reason for the mesh floor is supposedly to help with beetle control.
For myself- I now mostly leave the slider in the top slot year around.
There is some info about the idea of screened bottom and top insulation here:
You might want to discuss with local beekeepers as your conditions might be quite different than in Australia.
Where is Asutrlia? OK, I know, I am a PITA. But I was born that way… Not my fault!!!
Trying to give you a less flippant answer now. Many beekeepers in the UK (politically different from Ireland, I know, but climate is similar) use mesh or screened bottom boards year round with no problems.
Personally, having kept bees in the UK and the US, I like your thoughts better than the beekeeper who advised you. However, there are many ways to keep bees, and my way may not be right for you. I would suggest that you do it your way and keep notes. If it doesn’t work out, try a different way next time, or even set up two hives with one screen open and the other closed. Then you will really know what works for you.
Sorry not to be more definitive, but climates vary. I like solid bottom boards, but I don’t want to influence you with something that isn’t correct in the presence of shamrocks.
The spelling and pronouncing varies here, Even Ozraleyah(pronounced that way) is acceptable in the outback where camels, kangaroo and emus rule. Country folk, love em.
It’s halfway between Austria and Australia… Duh!
Thanks all, especially @Semaphore (Jack) — that’s a great diagram and reference and will help me to sort out issues of insulation/ventilation… It’s a great start. And also VERY interesting that you (and others) would leave the slider in the top position year-round — in a hot climate. Do you have additional ventilation (such as an eke with holes) or are you using a top entrance?
More thoughts on pest management: while we don’t have SMB one thing we do have, and where it’s handy to have the corflute for trapping and counting mites is VARROA DESTRUCTOR.
Other uses for the slider: I noticed that instructions for extraction w/ the FH Classic are to put the corflute slider in the top position so the bees can access any honey that drips down. I’m guessing that with the FH2 the tray can be flipped during harvesting… or removed for maximum ventilation (the 2nd is mentioned but not the 1st).
I suppose one other aspect for how Ireland differs from Australiaiala (sic) is that in May/June we inspect (the brood box) every 9 days (or 7 for those w/ jobs) to check for swarming behavior… whereas my impression is that down under the inspection are once or twice a year. Is this true?
Finally, I have noticed the bees are propolising the mesh I put over the whole in the inner cover… telling me they prefer that space closed. I’ll use it as a propolis trap and then source a plug (as I see now comes w/ the FH2) and will look at filling the roof space with burlap or old wooly jumpers or wood shavings, come winter. But I don’t think I’ll insulate. Which is a continuation of this discussion.
All the beekeeper I know do at least a weekly inspection of the super and every 2nd week the inspection goes down into the brood box, weather permitting of course.
The big trap when extracting honey from a Flow Super is in rushing it. and casing flooding of honey into the hive. Only insert the key in 20% of the way and open that part of the frame, when the honey has almost stopped running in the drain tube then open another 20%. I even leave the frame fully open over night and still with the drain tube inserted so that you have all of the honey harvested and no risk of flooding.
Cheers, Peter (Sum tropical Queensland, Australia)
Thanks, Peter. I was just reading about your disastrous first harvest. Hoping to learn from your mistakes. (meant kindly). Thanks for clarifying about inspections. I thought it odd that we wouldn’t have more in common (N and S hemispheres).
I posted that for information to new beekeepers as it all sounded so straight forward and simple and nothing about some of the pit-falls in extracting, which I then found out I wasn’t the first to have that issue. If others can learn from my mistakes then that is good., I have made my share of them over the 40 years I have had bees.
It is a small world we share and a mutual interest in bees so that’s something Jenny.
Bee keeping for me is an all year event with a sub-tropical climate and only a few weeks of coolish weather when I wear jeans instead of shorts… Even with the ventilated bee suits dehydration is a problem here.
now worries glad to be of help.
insulating the roof is a great idea- but check in there every once in a while to make sure there isn’t any build up of moisture. I have drilled some small vent holes into the eaves of my roofs as they became damp in winter without them. If the hole is completely covered and the roof watertight this may not be an issue.
and no- in Australia many of us inspect quite often- especially amateur beekeepers. I like to leave the brood alone in winter mostly- but inspect often just before and throughout spring to control swarming if there are signs it might happen
Normally in winter I don’t inspect: but last week I was visited by a very talented urban beekeeper from Sydney who offered to inspect my hives with me. We have had some warmish winter days and the bees have been very active so it was good weather to have a look. We found some hives absolutely teeming with bees and brood with very little room to spare- so we removed some frames of honey and gave the bees empty combs to give them something to do and the queen more space to lay in.
Once I have passed swarm season and have supers on the hives I do not inspect the brood boxes often in summer and autumn. I like to let the bees do things how they like and leave them alone.
Thanks, Jack (or do you prefer to be addressed as Semaphore? Both for the advice on moisture and the recap of beekeeping practice down under. I think I must have misheard a comment Cedar made… Also good to put in perspective that you have a winter, even if your winter resembles our summer!
Hi Jenny, Australia is like Ireland as we are also an island, but we are a lot bigger and massive ranges of climate. My Winter is about 6 weeks long when I wear jeans and sometimes a jumper but my bees just regard it as just cool days and nights, they don’t really 'close down;. In Adelaide where Semaphore (Jack) lives they have a much longer and colder Winter so our hive managements are different.
I start doing “Spring” splits in the start of July and extract honey all of the year so I only get an easing up when I get to make extra wood-ware. In Adelaide that simply wouldn’t happen. I have a sub-tropical climate so single brood boxes are normal here.
No worries at all- Jack is fine or semaphore- I am not fussed. I do recall that Cedar once did say that where he is- they do not inspect very often. He lives in a (sub) tropical paradise compared to where I am. As Peter says, Australia is such a big country beekeeping differs from place to place a lot. Similar to the US I guess- from California to Alaska… massive differences. I’m sure Ireland has some diversity of climate but not so much as we do.
having said that- there is no way that I inspect hives on a weekly basis like some US beekeepers do (they have to deal with varroa). In Winter I generally leave my hives alone the whole time- this year the winter has been mild so I have taken advantage of a few sunny days to have a peek and make a few interventions here and there. Mostly I inspect a lot at the start of spring- for swarm management and to maximise the hives for the coming spring flow.
From experience, just make sure you’re still checking the slider regularly if it’s left in the top slot. If you don’t you’ll possibly find yourself cutting it out at some point…