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Flow Hive in the UK, will it be successful with rape seed as the primary source?


#1

I have joined the Bee Keeping Association in Oxford and am now on my Bee Keeping induction course getting ready to start my bee keeping hobby next spring - quite excited

However, the Bee Keeping Association boss lady has been quite disparaging about Flow Hive and says it wont work anyway because we predominately have Rape Seed Oil fields around our area and the Flow Hive wont work with RSO as the primary source

Is this right, do I need to give up before I have even started ?

Does anyone have any experience or advice you could enlighten me with because I feel a bit deflated by this lady at the moment.


#2

Of course you can manage OSR. It can crystallise in a traditional super if you don’t get it off quickly enough. Same thing for a flow hive. You will still have to soft set it when you extract though. Type OSR into the search here as there are threads on it


Rape cristallisation
#3

You should become a beekeeper first & a flow hiver second. The flow super is only an alternative method of taking the excess honey from your beehive. If you find that the flow super doesn’t work in your area, you may need to use traditional frames to harvest the honey.

The beekeeping is the hardest & most challenging part of the process. Whichever method you use to harvest the honey, whether it be traditional, crush & strain or flow frames is the easy part.


#4

Surely the rape seed is not a year round crop. So what about the rest of the season. My suggestion would be to add a traditional super until the rape seed has finished flowering then add the Flow frames, you should be able to collect honey from many other sources and avoid rape seed crystallising in the Flow.


#5

You are right. It’s a spring crop but unfortunately for many it’s about the only one as where it is planted there are acres and acres of it and hedgerows have been grubbed up to allow combine harvesting.Oxford will be OK but flat lands like Lincolnshire…forget it


#6

Now I may be wrong, I frequently am, however I have not seen any Flow frames which have been “gummed” up with thixotropic honey on this forum and there’s been lots of successful extractions. Is this because it’s not been experienced yet or what?


#7

I was told the same thing when I started beekeeping this year, however I had already had the FlowHive.

What I did is looked at the map where I am located and there was no farms 3 miles away from me that had RSO. I find there are lots of people who don’t understand the FlowHive.

I was talking to an open minded beekeeper, he said if the RSO is harvested before it sets you would be okay. With the Flow hive you can see that through the windows. As soon as a frame fills you could extract it.

The other question arises that people who extract the RSO normally heat the honey slightly to allow it to flow. The FlowHive sits on top of the hive and the bees keep this warm at 30 so the chances it would flow would be high. But this has not been tested yet to see how it would work.

On general I have really enjoyed beekeeping, opening the hive and checking for bees well being, watching the bees bring in the pollen, feeding the bees, i would have not got into it due to the messy extraction of honey. The FlowHive got me into beekeeping.

Good Luck with what ever you choose.


#8

No. it’s heated to max 40 C to melt it after it has set in your bucket before you soft set it. It’s the only way you can use the stuff as it sets like concrete
OSR by the way. Oil seed rape or Canola across The Pond


#9

Ah, that is interesting.

Would the bees use the OSR honey if left in the hive?


#10

Of course! Bees don’t mind the “cabbage” taste of OSR honey. :smile: However, the risk of that is that they may “blend” it with nicer honey that comes in later in the season. To avoid that, one option would be to put a traditional super on the hive for the OSR harvest, then take it off and store it until the autumn. You could then give it back to them as winter feed.


#11

OSR sets rock hard and needs special treatment if being fed back to the bees. You need to uncap it and spray it with warm water. The bees also need to be flying to get water to dilute it. Soft set OSR is an ok base for a blend. In a good year if the weather is clement your bees will bring in more than a supers with.


#12

Thank you Dee & Dawn, I like that idea better.

Thank God I do not have to worry about OSR as my hive is located at home, I checked the 3 miles radius around me and there is no OSR been grown.

Is there any honey that can set hard like OSR and what period is that honey collected?


#13

Only ivy in the U.K. Depending on where you are ivy will bloom from September to December and forms a valuable source of overwintering food. Some beekeepers swear bees can’t use it but believe me they have been using it for millennia. Ivy honey is generally quite unpleasant but there is an opening for some enterprising marketing to turn it into British manuka :wink:


#14

Yeah I do have ivy around my area.

So I should be removing the FlowHive super by end of Aug after harvesting.


#15

Yes. Most folk look out for when it starts and take off supers