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Flow in Philippines


Sorry to hear that. But that was exactly what I said would happen. DHL has something going with the customs people and when you complain, they start charging storage fees and delay fees and administration fees and imaginary fees and more fees. NEVER EVER will they admit that they could have elected to charge a lesser import fee (I am sure there are more favourable tariffs for bees), but I do not think you have any chance to win.

That was why I warned FLOW that if you live in this area of the world, the only realistic option is to import fakes from China, OK, they are fake, but are prepared to pay 100% import tax, you are forced to do that.
UNLESS you import via the Balikbayan box. And I hoped that Flow would pick this up, they did not.

HINT-1: My friends took the original boxes apart and repacked everything in 2 Balikbayan Boxes and they has space enough to add delicious Australian goodies and quite a lot of tools which I appreciated also very much.
HINT-2: There is a carpenter here who makes great boxes for me out of high quality wood (narra), so next time, I would only order the plastic inserts and not bother with the woodwork, why send heavy wood halfway over the world when you can get it here??? I painted the outsides of the boxes in marine-epoxy-white like I do with all my boxes and treated the roof and the typical Flow parts with the recommended oil. I do not like the way the oiled parts weathers. Next boxes will be full narra again, painted nicely white on the outside. The bees do not seem to mind the marine epoxy paint, they do not like normal enamel paint. So, if you go for plastic only, then the weight of the box is small and you can always add some nice SOLIDTEKNICS cookware and a swag to dampen the shocks.


Hi Pablo can you advise me where to buy bee colony.


Stingless bees or Milefera?


Hi Pablo,
I am Englishman, 80 later this year, married Filipino woman 2 years ago, live now in new house in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.
Have acquired two hives from Bohol last July. Both doing well. surrounded by Coconut trees and rice fields.I am very confused with the seasons here, as its never below 25c!
I take delivery next two weeks of a Flow Super 7 frames (10 Langstroth).
I am a bee breeder so I want to expand to 6 hives as soon as the queens start to lay eggs big time. Not sure when this is here in Phil? Most things like this are clear cut as the seasons are regular.
Like you I find contact with other beekeepers is not easy here, I would love to get to know who is near me in Southern Leyte.


Hai Bobee,
The bee-scene is very confused in Philippines. I had a lot of help from the Pinoy Beekeeper Forum (PBF), but that is rather timid at the moment, but I got some of the best advices through there. Also, try to get a Facebook link to Beekeeping Philippines which is a closed group. It takes time to build-up contacts, but a few postings on these forums got me started.
(1) as for the seasons: It is very confusing, but best advice I got was to make a “pollen map” basically record when the various trees/bushes/plants bloom and try to link that to the pollen coming into your hive. This way, you get an idea what keeps the bees busy in the various months.
(2) Coconut is great. Basically it gives the bees pollen and nectar the whole year through. I wish I had some coconut lands in the area, but they were all cut down due when the Philippine Coconut Authority went belly up and there was a need for construction wood. Be happy if there are many coconuts in your area.
(3) Riceland scares the s…t out of me, they use all kinds of nasty chemicals and there is no coordination between the various farmers on the dates they spray those chemicals, to it is very difficult to lock-up the bees when they spray. I have seen a beekeeper being wiped out when her neighbour decided to spray unannounced.
(4) Depending on the area where you are, there certainly are “honey” seasons, often 2: the big flow and the small flow, but this depends very much on your location. We should have the small flow now (but the bees are staying in because of the bad weather over the past months).
(5) I would certainly recommend to have a trip to Baguio and make contact with the slu eissif people (slu eissif - try their facebook site) because those are the “mountain people” with most beekeepers in the area, a very interesting crowd, a bit reclusive but once you have established contact, they can be a great bunch.
(6) I had hoped that (living on an island without chemicals), I would have been able to start breeding queens. Wrong. I don’t even get drones. The bees are not happy here, so we slowly try to change to a mangrove area, our last resort because of all the riceland around here.
(7) I live in the Iloilo area, on a 24ha island. Good for me, not so much for the bees, I never had to use the Flow top yet. Not enough flow. But we are in contact with someone at the opposite corner of Panay and see if we can maybe start an apiary there.

If you are in the area, drop by…


Hi Pablo,
Thanks for speedy reply, thats what forums are good for.
Yes i did join Pinoy Beekeeper forum, but most of the questions and replies were back in 2013 and 15 which i thought rather odd… it made me think there were no beekeepers in Phil.
As for the seasons, thats a good idea of yours to note down the pollen, I do take lots of pictures as thats my other hobby plus the computer and tablet.
Yes I have met and spoken to the local farmers about spraying, (they are very set in their ways) but I have the upper hand as they are farming on my wife and her sisters land, so basically a bit mine as well. They do try their luck sometimes and say i am spraying this afternoon, but my wife says no you are not, we need to know the night before so Bob can lock in the bees until after you have finished spraying.
OK on the two honey flows, I did not know about that, I will monitor carefully.
So how often do you inspect your hives, back in the UK i inspected every 8 days because of the likelihood of queen cells.
I wonder why you don’t get any drones, Can you get drone foundation here? to help with this.
we will have to compare notes this year and rectify any problems we both encounter.
I have brought all my beekeeping equipment from home in UK in a container its all in the garage so can’t get my car inside now. Everything except a spinner, thats why i just purchased a flow Super.
I had 27 hives in the UK on two different farms, very successful breeding queens and selling starter colonies.
Now its like learning all over again here in Phil.
Nice to meet up with you on the forum.
I look forward to meeting you one day.


Lucky you, man who controls the spraying… Without some pressure (like you have), it is mission impossible.
I inspect every week, but that;s just so it fits in my work schedule. Every 2 weeks would be good enough as well and I am trying to calibrate the Apivox to our conditions so I do not have to open hives at all, but I still am not there yet.
No drones is not a surprise, there also is little honeyflow. It really looks like they are not happy. lack sufficient stimulus (nice flowers etc), something which the severe lack of water of last season and the severe excess of water this season did not help… A little island is inherently unstable, hence my attempts to change to the mainland. I don’t use foundation anyway, I let the bees do what they like. They build great comb and if they would like drones, they will build the proper cellsize, I am sure. I am trying to avoid re-using frames so the hives are as hygienic as possible. I did not have Varroa for almost 2 years now… Knock Wood…
But, funny enough (or actually not surprising at all), the stingless bees are on a roll. I find them everywhere. In the frames of the bamboo house, behind the drainpipes, INSIDE a steel handrailing, in a gap between stones, in the mango tree… So, it seems they are well adapted and I am now trying to educt them into boxes and will try to get some honey from them in a year’s time.
Like you said, relocating to another country requires you to re-learn everything. Never mind, it keeps me busy.



Hello Flow in the Philippines,
Greetings to all the beekeepers. I was fascinated about beekeeping. I’ve been following and reading some of the blogs and facts as well as information on how to be a beekeeper. I found out that beekeeping was interesting. I am Erwin of Cebu Philippines. My grandparent had a wide farm and vast fields.So, I consider that my home province would be a great place for my future bees to live there. I am planning to have one in our province of Masbate. I need more of pieces of advice from Senior keepers and professional ones that have been through this for years now and for me to start up with.

Yours Truly,


Hai Erwin,
Nice to hear that you are interested in bees. But get trained first and get some good books. Bees are just too precious to let them die. And dying is what will happen if you don’t know what you are doing. My training was with the Bee research centre of the SLU in Baguio which was really good, or you could try Dexter’s Apiary (both on Facebook, or drop me a PM if you want links). But don’t get blinded by honeybees. If your aim is pollination, then also consider stingless bees which are much more hardy in Philippines and less costly (free if you know what you are doing), but they give little honey which, however, is very powerfull. There, contact EcoBeesAndU after your training.



Hi there!

I’ve been reading a lot about beekeeping and wanted to see if it was feasible for me to start our own hive in the city? I’ve previously seen some articles about urban bee-keeping and how that helps the environment, and at the same time produce honey. I just wanted to know if this was at all possible in a subdivision in Metro Manila? We’re quite keen to get started, but didn’t want to put any bees at risk if it’s knly going to be detrimental to them. Thanks in advance!!


We have few beekeepers on Panay, most are struggling with the chemicals sprayed by the farmers. However, the most succesfull hives are in the City. Because I have been struggling myself as well, I relocated in the City and they are now doing well. So, if you start beekeeping in an urban area: why not, you have very good chances. Go for it.


I had bees in the city at either my place or friends places for 30 years with no issues. That’s not to say you couldn’t have an issue. I had some bees (not in the city) that would have been a disaster if they had been. They were far too defensive. I would have a contingency plan for what to do if they get defensive, so if that ever happens you can close them up and haul them somewhere until you can resolve the issue. Mean bees do not make good neighbors.


I don’t know how long this reply has been made but I am looking for my own Flow hive and I was wondering if where I can order it here in the Philippines?


Read the forum. Get the hives via a Balikbayan box. If you let Flow ship the boxes, they use DHL and you get problems with Philippine customs. So, let some Australian friends send them via Balikbayan

Paul Holtslag
Nasidman Island, Ajuy


I just saw the replies. Unfortunately I do not have an Australian friend, do you happen to know someone who can help me out? How much did it cost you all in all? I live in Negros Occidental by the way and I am just starting out. My home is surrounded by various flowering plants, fruits and vegetables since I am also trying to grow my own food. Will that be enough pollen supply for 1 hive? I am looking for a Beekeeping Workshop but so far there are bone around.


If you start, then start with a normal hive first, better to get experience. Then, when you have confidence that you can see the state of the hives using the windows, get the Flows.
Get trained with the SLU in Baguio or Romy Fenol, both are on Facebook or get the emails when you PM me.

Or visit me in Panay sometime, I am not an expert but can show you.my hives and direct you to the rest of the crowd.

Paul Holtslag
Nasidman Island, Ajuy