First Flow harvest anxiety!

I am in central coastal California where the weather is fairly moderate all year long. I know from a recent observation that about 1/2 of my flow frames are pretty much ready to harvest, although you wouldn’t know that from looking at the end view. However, I am seeing some evidence of DWV and crawlers and want to treat my hive for varroa which means I need to remove honey supers (flow frames). After discussion at my bee club meeting, I was advised to harvest the Flow Frames and treat for varroa, so I plan on doing that tomorrow.

I guess I am confused about whether or not I should then remove the Flow Frames for the winter. There seems to be a good many bees still working those, so if I do, how will they vacate the Flow Frames? Do I need to just shake them off? Should I leave the frames in the hive for a day or two so the bees can clean up the harvested cells? I’m really sort of lost on this process. How should I store the Flow Frames? Just wrap in plastic or what?

Thanks for any help and advice.

If you use the Search magnifying glass at the upper right of the forum and enter the word wintering, you will get many of your questions answered from posts by other people who asked the same things.

I would remove the Flow frames for winter, even with your climate. My hives do not have any supers on them now, and I am quite a way south of you. :wink:

There are several ways to remove the bees from the super. My favorite is to use an inner cover with a bee escape in it, like this one:

Just put it under the Flow super with the triangle on the lower side. Bees can go down through it, but can’t get back, providing you leave it on for only a couple of days. Longer than that, and they sometimes seem to be able to work it out and go back up! :smile:

Thanks for the tip on “wintering” Dawn. I had tried to do a search but guess I did not use the correct phrase.

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Well, I did it! Ended up with almost 1.5 gallons of honey. It was such a thrill to actually see that honey coming out of the Flow Hive tubes. All went well and the Flow Frames are tucked away in plastic for the winter. The girls now have two deeps to overwinter in and I was able to treat them for varroa as well.

I learned a lot from this experience. First that I need some sort of veil over the jars as they are filling to keep hungry bees from trying to get into the honey and falling into the jars. Second, that the standard super I had between the brood box (deep) and the Flow box likely discouraged the girls from completely filling up all the frames of the Flow. That lower super was packed almost solid with honey. I removed that and replaced it will another deep.

I ended up just shaking the bees from the Flow box into the new deep and from the standard super when I removed it. That process progressed without much difficulty. I then chose to treat for varroa (Apivar) and feed with supplement (ProHealth) right now due to the prevalence of DWV. I’m hoping it will be effective. They queen was still laying in about 1/2 of the deep and looked healthy. Fingers crossed.


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