Hello, I’m just curious if/how many local Flow bee keepers there may be in my area. I’m a new beginner keeper, just looking to connect. Thanks
I’m from Nashville and it’s nice to meet someone from Tennessee
A bit further away from others but I’m just north of Henderson, TN in Chester Country. Welcome, and enjoy beekeeping, and your Flow Hive!
Hi! I am in Nashville. I am new to beekeeping and Flow Hives. Do you all keep the flow hive supers on during the winter as your second brood box, or do you have two brood boxes before you put the flow hive on, or do you harvest honey with the flow hive and then take it off and add a second brood box after the honey flow.
I think this is @Martha’s first year with the Flow super, so she may not have decided. However, I would first suggest that you consider local beekeeping practices. If your locals use double deep brood for overwintering (quite likely in your area), then I would do that too. One thing I would not do is leave the Flow super on over winter, especially if your bees cluster. I have several reasons for that opinion:
- Bees tend to apply propolis as winter approaches (especially Italians). Propolis can easily gum up the Flow mechanism, making it much harder to drain any honey next year.
- If you leave the Flow super on, you will need to leave the queen excluder on. Otherwise the queen can start laying drones in the Flow super = very messy and spoils your harvest.
- If you leave the queen excluder on, and you get some cold days, if your bees cluster they may move up into the super and leave the queen behind to die of cold. Doesn’t always happen, but it is a risk.
Just a few thoughts.
They recommend two deeps or three mediums to winter bees in this area. I purchased the flow last year, and decided to do two brood boxes before I put on the flow frame super. I got my bees in April and had two deeps full of honey and brood by fall, but not enough to put on the flow frame super. So I did not harvest honey and figured the bees could have it in the winter and I’d wait until next year. In October I lost the hive. We aren’t sure why, but varroa mite was very bad in the area and we think when the hive population decreased they took over and the bees left. I left town for a week, came back, and they were gone. SO this year, I purchased another hive and would like some honey. Bees were late-I didn’t get mine until May 2 because of the weather-and so I’m worried if I try to take some honey, there won’t be enough brood. It’s difficult to ask the local beekeepers because most of them do not like the flow frame (or anything new for that matter:)). But I still go to meetings etc.
Hello fellow Tennessean! I wintered over successfully just south of Nashville by treating for veroa mites, using a solid bottom board, 2 brood chambers, a Vivaldi inner cover with fondant and telescopic top. I also left 5 frames of honey in the upper broodbox. Smallest entrance hole. They wintered over great!
PS I treated in August, November (warm weather) and a warm spell in February
Thankyou!!! I will treat for mite this year. And thanks for the specifics on what you did: what type of feeder, how many frames of honey. You know the mind of a beginner!!
What did you treat with?
I bought a vaporizer and oxcilic acid from Brushy Mountain bee farm online. It’s easy and they supply great directions. I used my riding lawnmower as a power source. All other item I listed are from this supplier
Sounds like a good plan and this forum has incredible people sharing knowledge and they have taught me bunches.
Hello @Martha! and all. I am becoming discouraged with this system. I received bees late this year due to the weather also, 2nd week of May. I have two deep brood boxes. When they filled out in July, I added my flow supers. I just checked today and those supers are empty. There are many bees working and moving around on them, but zero honey production in the supers. We’ve had an extremely hot and dry summer here, but I still do not understand why they haven’t produced any honey in the supers.
-Any insight here? I’m seriously about to call it quits. This is my second year of attempting, last year I lost bees due to the extreme, unusual winter here (several ppl did in this area). I attend a local bee association, which is mostly elderly people and they all use the old fashioned system. I’m kind of out here on my own with this flow hive.
-Thanks in advance.
I put the Flow super on an established (2 deeps of brood) hive here in California in late March. We have also had an extremely hot, dry summer. I have had no honey this year at all. I have taken none from the bees, and they will probably need feeding over winter. It is not the fault of the Flow system. Our weather has caused the problem. Traditional beekeepers in my region have the same problem.
Plants need lots of water (rain) to produce nectar. If there is too little rain, they don’t make nectar, but they still make flowers. They have to make flowers to reproduce (pollen), but the nectar is just to entice extra pollination. When it gets very hot and dry, the nectar gatherers get fooled into pollinating, but don’t get any reward.
Don’t get discouraged. Nurture your bees over winter, and put the supers on when the bee numbers really build up next spring. Honey is not on tap like beer or water. We have to consider ourselves lucky when the bees have some to spare. If you want a reliable honey supply, you need to consider migrating your hives to areas of high flow, like orchards. However, that is a totally different type of beekeeping, and I would not put an expensive Flow hive in that kind of environment.
I think you are discovering the true nature of beekeeping. Patience is key. I wish you better luck next season.
Just to give you an idea, here is a weight chart of my best hive for the last 6 months. You will see that it has been losing weight since the end of May. Our last decent amount of rain was in March or April. When the hive gets down to about 35 kg, I will have to feed, based on previous experience.
thanks for your info
my supers are empty right now but my hives are storing tons of pollen and honey in the brood boxes and they are hanging out in the flow super. Don’t give up! it took me a year and a half to get a feel for it. Intellect and nature are not working on the same time frame as I gave it. I just moved forward with the help from the forum and time, experience started to show results. It’s about the bees in the long run, honey in the spring and overwintering for another action packed season of beekeeping. Have a great day! Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle.