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Effort And Produce Of A Flow Hive


#1

Hi Folks,

I live in Tasmania am a total novice to beekeeping but am interested in buying a Flow Hive. Can anyone tell me how much effort it takes to maintain one of these hives and how much honey they produce? (which I know is like asking how long is a piece of string but I just need a very rough estimate!).

My wife refuses to let me have a hive at home so I was thinking of asking some retired bee keepers I know who might be interested in sharing a Flow Hive that live near me. They previously gave it up because of the effort of maintaining a traditional hive but I think they may be interested in this new seemingly easier system.

Thanks,

Andy

P.S. I was very inspired to keep bees after reading Bill McKibben’s book ‘Oil and Honey’.


#2

Hi Andy, there is still the usual maintenance of keeping a hive no different to the way the old timers would have managed them. i.e. brood manipulation for swarm control, regular inspections for disease management and hive health (in spring, summer & autumn this could be twice a month), frame management (replacing old frames every couple of years)
Where this hive is different is through the harvesting of honey. No longer will you need all that expensive extraction equipment and bee-proof room while the de-capping and extraction takes place. How much honey can be produced really depends on where you are, I have heard that the Leatherwood when in bloom will fill a super with 25 kilos of honey in a week but chances are you don’t live in a leatherwood forest.
As for a hive in the backyard, you are allowed between 2-4 per backyard depending on your state. If you select your bees for docility then having them in the suburbs is not an issue and your neighbours will only know you have bees when you tell them (if you choose to do so).


#3

Thanks for your reply Rodderick, I live in suburban Hobart but my friends live close to the bush. I’ll ask them what they think as my wife is adamant we’re not keeping bees!


#4

G’day Andy, the effort of maintaining a flow hive would be the same as maintaining a traditional hive. The only difference is in the honey gathering. That’s the easy bit regardless of whether you extract it out of the back of the hive or use an extractor. The traditional way could even be a bit easier for us old blokes, especially if we opt for grandad frames. Also known a half depth frames. It would be much easier to lift two of those one at a time, rather than a single full depth super while doing brood inspections.


#5

Thanks Jeff, how many hours a week on average do you spend on your hives?


#6

I have about 60 hives, I guess if I was honest, I’d have to say, around 20 hours a week. It’s my hobby/passion, so I don’t really call it work.


#7

Wow that’s a lot! Approximately how many hours a week do you think a single hive would need?


#8

Some weeks, you might not need to look at the hive at all, it’s hard to put a time on it. I guess you need to be aware of what’s going on with your hive at all times. The minute you become a beekeeper, you also become a bee farmer. You need to learn how to look after the health of the colony, how to keep the population strong if it’s a good amount of honey your looking for… I think the first thing you need to have is a passion for bees. If you don’t have a passion for bees, your hive will probably die out. A quote from WallsBeeMan on Youtube.


#9

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#10

Blimey…I wish I could do everything that needs doing in one hour.
I’m not slow and can look through a brood box for BIAS/QCs/Stores in a few minutes. It’s all the other stuff, particularly in the swarming season.
Then, there’s the workshop, then there’s preparing the honey.
It’s taken over my life. When I have problems I even dream about them.
Finally you have to make some decent time to just sit and watch them with a glass of something cold and alcoholic :smile:


#11

I’m with Dexter. My dad is always messing with his bees. It annoys them. They seem to do better with a healthy measure of loving neglect!

This year medical stuff has kept him out of the hives and while over the summer I did some work with them, this winter they have been left to their own devices, with plenty of stores to see them thru the winter and they appear perfectly happy.

Loving neglect, that’s the ticket!


#12

I agree, the temptation is to get in there every week to see what is going on as a new beekeeper, but it really can get the bees in a bit of a tizzy. This year being my third year i have left the bees to themselves a lot more and they are doing great! I check about every 2 or 3 weeks inside the hive, every few days i check their water supply. I have learned to sit back and be in awe of how well they do as @Dee says it is great to sit back with a cold drink (i highly recommend mead) and just enjoy the bees.


#13

Thanks for all your advice, I enjoyed reading your posts. Andy