Just received my new 7 frame flow hive. I have never done this before. Do I need food inside the hive before purchasing new bees?
Hi Wes & welcome to the forum.
To answer your question: No, you work all that out at the point of placing bees into the hive. I’m guessing that you’ll place a colony into your hive at the start of spring.
Join a club, find a mentor, there’s a lot of reading & watching available in the Flow website. A good place to start is under the heading of Beekeeping Basics.
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
My answer differs a little from @JeffH’s, for a good reason. I see that you are US-based. Many US beekeepers buy package bees from suppliers such as Mann Lake or Olivarez honey bees. While you do not need to put food into the hive before you put the bees in, you will definitely want to feed package bees as soon as you introduce them to the hive. If you don’t, you risk them absconding (deserting the hive) and flying off in a $200+ cloud of black and yellow to find their own preferred home!
However, if you join a local club and buy a nucleus from a respected club member, you may not need to feed them at all. You will still need to watch their food stores though. I see that you are in the San Joaquin Valley, which although it is agricultural, it will have nectar dearths in the heat of summer. Again, from July onwards, you may need to feed if your new colony has not stored enough for winter.
One more thing, I strongly recommend that you consider double deep brood boxes. One box may not hold enough food to keep you bees going through the dry season. Ask your local bee club, but when you do, do not mention that you have a Flow hive. Instead, tell them that you have a 10 frame Langstroth hive (that is exactly what the brood box of a Flow hive is, so you are not lying) and ask for their advice. Traditional beekeepers can be very hostile to Flow hives, and you will need local advice, so don’t risk getting alienated! Everything about managing a Flow hive is the same as for a Langstroth, except for the harvesting. We can help you with harvesting advice, but you need local input too. Don’t forget to ask and think about varroa mite management too. Most first year beekeepers who lose a colony, do so because of varroa infestation.
Good luck and keep asking questions!
Hi Dawn, I thought my answer was adequate, because I answered the actual question. Then I left it open as to whether Wes acquires a nuc or a package. “Join a club, find a mentor” suggests that by the time he acquires his bees, between his mentor, us as mentors, his bee supplier, plus what he learns through the Flow website (as I suggested), he should know how to feed, if required, his package or nuc.
Your answers are always adequate @JeffH, I was just trying to add a little local perspective.