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Flow Hive Harvest - Malagash, Nova Scotia, Canada


Honey harvest from Blue Sea Corner, Malagash, Nova Scotia, Canada!

Blue Sea Corner is on the North side of Malagash, a peninsula that juts out into the Northumberland Strait, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. It all sounds all very “North” and expect those who have not been to Nova Scotia probably think we live on a fog-bound iceberg! All summer we are over 80F with hardly any rain days, and because the Northumberland Strait is shallow, we have zero fog days and ocean temperatures as warm as the Caribbean. For the technical I am 45 degrees 48 minutes 26.45 seconds North and 63 degrees 16 minutes 17.03 seconds West.

I obtained at least 2.5kg per frame of capped honey (4 frames). I thought I could hear some dripping insi

de the hive and will investigate…overturned the key to fast a couple of times I think.


Close up


Hi Graham, it looks great there. That is a tall hive with the four boxes. What was the main nectar source? I can see some wildflowers near the hive which look unusual to me.


Hi Dan, Yes, my first year of bees made it through our Winter and were very strong. I didn’t want to split so early in their “civilization” and perhaps weaken their immune systems, so against local advice I chequeboarded an additional brood box and the results have been stunning. I fully expect to get another 30lb honey and leave them the goldenrod etc for fall and to overwinter. Splitting next Spring. There is a huge variety of plants for nectar here and I suspect June Berry (Amelachier) to be favourite. Right now we have fireweed and a lot of Rosa rugosa coming into flower, with much yarrow, Queen Annes lace to follow. We are coastal/rural and get a great mix, thousands of wild strawberry plants.


Update…12.88kg 28lb honey.


Good to see you getting them ready for winter before harvesting any honey. Well done.



Beautiful sight to see, can’t wait to tap my hive this weekend.

How harsh is your winter there? I’m just north of Ottawa, and it seems the average loss was over 50% with the exceptionally long winter we had here.


Usually winter temperatures (January to March) average around -8C, a few days to -15C and occasionally into the -20C’s. This January we had a week of -25C and I feared the worst. I had followed local advice “no problem getting through winter” and had not insulated the hive lid nor left ventilation. I decided to forget that, filled the roof with insulation foam with ventilation to the hive. Local beekeepers struggled, mine exploded.

I should say I am mid varroa control experiment based on research data I found regarding mite mortality, temperature and humidity. The study showed that in summer, high humidity and high temperature increased mite death whilst bee mortality remained constant whereas in winter increased ventilation increased mite death irrespective of temperature with bee mortality constant. So my theory is that every time you open the hive, check frames, mess around looking for problems, you alter the temperature/humidity, lower bee immunity and reduce mite suppression. After my initial inspection I have not opened the hive since, warding off swarming by adding a brood box. Success or failure I will not know until I do a varroa check and inspection in the Fall. I never feed, no pesticides. I will post the results here.


Refractometer readings show a range in frames from 17% to 17.75% with an increase from left to right across the frames. The left side receives the most heat and the right side is most exposed to North winds. Bearding occurs mainly to the right side and looks like an insulation band to me not “old bees hanging out” “overcrowding” “ready to swarm” or “fanning the hive” Will be interesting to see the results of frames 1 and 6 once harvested.


Sounds similar to our conditions; although we had almost 3 weeks of -30C nights in December followed by a mild spell, which is very unusual.

I like your thoughts on the mites, have you done any counts to validate the levels?


I really like how you are finding your own way, reading, studying, applying research knowledge combined with your own observations and gut feelings in your apiary.
I think I’m a bit like that too, occasionally disregarding experienced advice as well. So far not to disadvantage. In fact, if having followed all that conflicting advice, my apiaries would be a schamozzle.
It is worth while reading advice all over the net and sort out what applies to your bees in your location.
I also read, with varroa and a new young hive, you may have a honeymoon period the first 2 years. Don’t get caught out.


Thanks for the good advice. I don’t underestimate varroa etc and know they will be a challenge and wait to see what happens. Applying the principles I learnt at the Health Protection Agency over many years I hope to show over-cleanliness, broad spectrum chemicals, coupled with challenges to the immune system (like a stay in a modern hospital, poor food/constant interruption) is a breeding ground for disease and the more you treat the worse it gets. I monitor daily with my ears and eyes and will only intervene when I have to!