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Flow Hive with Raccoons?

Hi all!
From Ohio and have alot of raccoons in my area( I know b/c of my 2 trail cameras)
I’m new to bee keeping, so I’ve read that by elevating hive 18"-20"( like with cinder blocks)
That it exposses there tender under bellies and bees will sting them away, but what about at night?( Are bees going to defend there hive at night the same way?)
Hoping to hear some real experience with the flow hive and lots of raccoons for solutions they’ve used b/c I’ve read to put heavy rocks/bricks on top of normal hives but that’s on flat top hives, not angled roof like “flows” have…
Thanks Matt

Hi Matt, I’ve had no experience with rocoons because I live in Qld. Australia. Here in Qld. we also have to elevate our hives on account of cane toads. Bees will still defend their hive during the nighttime. My suggestion for the gable roof would be to ratchet strap it down. You could attach a couple of anchor points onto your hive stand, for example.

PS. it’s a brave animal that enters, or tries to enter a bee hive during the day OR nighttime.
This unfortunate cane toad paid the ultimate price for doing so.

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Welcome to the Flow forum @Hunt4honey. :slight_smile:

I am in southern California, but we also have a lot of raccoons and possums. The possums are the ones who really attack bees on the landing board, so raising the hive by at least 14" helps to expose their bellies and give the bees a chance to warn them off.

That doesn’t really work for raccoons, who are actually related to the bear family, and like to eat honey and brood rather than bees. Their modus operandi is to take the lid off the hive, and there are many things that you can do to prevent this. One is to use heavy bricks on top of the hive, as you say, but with a sloping roof this can be tricky. We actually use a ratcheting strap which wraps all the way under the hive and over the roof. A single brood box can weigh more than 40lb when full - no way a raccoon can tip that over if it is strapped. If you have double brood boxes (and you should in Ohio), of course it will weigh a lot more.

This strap is quite good, but you may find something even cheaper in Home Depot or Ace Hardware:

Ok, thanks for all your guy’s insight on this.im surprised animals won’t chew through a ratchet straps but I will just have to watch it…
I’ll have my trail camera watching over my hive for animal/ human problems anyway…
This starts up a new conversation and maybe I should start a new thread but, why do you say b/c I’m in Ohio I should have double brood box’s?

Ohio has relatively long, cool winters, with a nectar dearth from Fall until early Spring. Depending on where you are in Ohio, you may also get unexpected “lake effect” snow from Lake Erie. That means a prolonged period when bees will be unable to forage for food. They will probably need around 70lb of stored honey to get through the winter successfully, without being artificially fed. A deep 8 frame brood box will hold a bit more than 40lb when full. Therefore your bees will need 2 such boxes. :wink:

By all means join a local bee club and ask the members what they do. I highly recommend that anyway, as it is always desirable to have a source of local knowledge. :blush:

Anyhow, now you know my reasoning. :smile:

Thank you for your answer to my question. I wonder if I can start with two brood boxes or is that something you typically work up to from having just one started with a nuk and one queen?
When I bought my flow classic six hive I didn’t realize that it came with a brood box so I ordered one, so I actually have to 8 frame brood boxes currently but I don’t know if I should just start with one and add the second one in the middle of summer or start straight away with two brood boxes?

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One of the most important rules of beekeeping is that you never give the bees too much space. Keeping a hive as strong as possible (without letting them swarm, of course) is one of the best things you can do for your bees. The reason is that they have to clean, heat and defend every bit of space they have. Too much space, and they will quickly be overrun with small hive beetles, wax moths and even chalkbrood.

The way to think about it is this. For each box you have, don’t add another until all of the below are true:

  1. Every frame has fully drawn comb.
  2. The comb is at least 80% full of food or brood.
  3. Every frame is completely covered with bees when you inspect. A fully covered deep frame will have about 1,000 to 1,500 bees per side, so you can then guess how many bees are in your hive, if you are interested. :blush:

When those 3 rules are all true, you know the bees need the new space, they will use it quickly, and they have enough “bee-power” to heat and defend the new space.

To answer your question more directly, start with one brood box. Only add a second when the above rules are true. Only add a honey super when the above rules are true for the second brood box. :wink:

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I’ve had beekeeping issues with shrews, mice, opossums and skunks, but never raccoons.

Okay thanks for your guys input, it sounds like as long as I maybe put a good palate on the ground then put my cinder blocks or some type of stand below my hive and then ratchet strap over the roof and down through the pallet rungs I should be okay for most bigger things…
Thanks Matt

Not bears though. They are something else. Hopefully you don’t have to deal with anything that big.