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Flow Hive and UK weather!

I have been asking this question to the members of my beekeeping group and I do not have a direct answer:
How does the UK weather affect the performance of the Flow hive. The obvious answer always refers to the fact that we do not have the Australian warmth and sometime we get honey that sets very quickly. Please any UK flow hivers, could you share your experiences. Thank you!

Hi Ruth,
It doesn’t. That’s the short answer.
There are flow hives in most countries and climates around the world. The Flowhive has a neat mechanism for collecting honey, but in every other respect it is just like any other hive. There are pictures on this site with Flowhives buried in snow as are there are pictures of flowhives in the tropics.

If a traditional hive needs special insulation for cold or heat a Flowhive does too. If a traditional hive needs two or even 3 brood boxs like in Finland then a Flowhive does too. It is just a beehive with the same requirements, care and maintenance as any other beehive.

For info I live in Australia where there are climates from the cold and harsh climes of southern Tasmania to the hot tropics of North Queensland and every climate in between.

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Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!

As @busso says, the country is irrelevant. The Flow hive is just a Langstroth hive with a different extraction method from traditional hives. The answers you are getting reflects a lack of experience with Flow hives, and the general suspicion that beekeepers have of new ideas.

There are plenty of Flow hives in the UK. You do have to be aware if you are in area of Oil Seed Rape fields, as that honey does set very fast. If it was me, I probably would not put the Flow super on during that period, but it is only 2 or 3 weeks of the year. You can put it on, you just have to harvest quickly, and you may end up with unripe or uncapped honey, which can make harvesting trickier.

You may also want to consider running a Flow hive on “double brood” boxes, or at least “brood and a half”, like many traditional beekeepers in the UK do. The standard Flow hive sets do not have 2 brood boxes, so you would need to buy an extra. The long wet winters of the UK means that British hives need more stores for winter than most places in Australia. Ironically in California, we need double brood boxes too, but that is because we have long nectar dearths in the summer.

I am sure that @Paras and @HappyHibee will be able to share their UK experience. They are in different locations, but I think they are both happy with their Flow hives. :blush:

Best thing you’ll buy in years.

I’ve friends all over the UK with FlowHives @RuthH. There really is no difference to traditional hives and other than the flow frames there is no difference.

My 20+ neighbours all come round with thier kids to harvest a jar of honey. I’ve introduces FlowHives at work JLR.

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Hi RuthH,

I live in London and have 7 FlowHives, we have been successful in harvesting honey from the FlowHive for 5 years straight.

I put the FlowHive Super on my strong colonies as early as 1st week of April. This year we collected 137kgs out of which 72kgs was from 2 of my strongest colonies.

I setup my colonies to winter on double brood box, I have preferred this format as some of my queens are very prolific layers. You have to find a system that works for you and stick with that.

I take my supers off end of August, as I want to treat all my colonies for varroa, this allows the bees to collect their winter stores.

Have a look at my YouTube blog of my success https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl73-quqJ_wBsHNilmBtpNg?view_as=subscriber

and my instagram account https://www.instagram.com/parashealthy/

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Weather makes little difference, cooler temperatures to parts of Austrakia would mean that the flow might be a little slower when you extract but that shouldnt be a big deal if you are careful.
The important issue is that there are two major nectar sources that are unsuitable for flow hive extraction, rape and ivy. Rape is a common farm crop in the spring and bees love it and will travel a distance to it. It probably wont be a problem if your hives are in a city. Ivy is in flower from September onwards and is very valuable for the bees stocking up for winter. You dont want to get this in your flow frames either because it will set hard. Ling heather gives beautiful honey but is known for its jelly-like non running qualities so I doubt would be suitable for flow frames either.
Fortunately, these flower at the start and the end of the season so you can use the flow frames in between and traditional frames if you want rape or heather honey. Please remember that the flow frame is a different system for extracting honey, not a different way of keeping bees.

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Thank you this is the most illustrative answer I have got! Rape and Ivy are abundant in the region where I am having the hive and, your suggestion of using the flow outside these seasons sound very doable.

Thank you, I am in Suffolk and the rape and ivy are my issue. But I will follow your steps. I do appreciate your comment.

Wow. I think you have erased all my fears. Thank you!

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Ivy honey I leave for the bees to use for wintering, I take the supers off end of Aug.

ORS honey there is beekeeper who has successfully harvested this from his FlowHive. Key is keeping strong colonies which keep the honey warm.

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