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Hello from Castelli Romani, Italy

Hello! I am new to beekeeping and I am excited and vervous about this new adventure. Due to Covid I was unable to take in person courses here, so I bought loads of books, and signed up for 3 different beekeeping courses online. I decided in the end to get the Flow Hybrid as my first hive. I am so glad I convinced my husband to join me, because I have to admit, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I hope to find some other beekeepers in the Rome area, but in Italy in general to ask questions or to chat.

I am into permaculture methods of gardening/farming, so I am sort of designing my spring/summer garden around what bees will need to settle in.

Looking forward to joining this fascinating world!

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Welcome Sarah! I’m also a newbee, and am in the process of setting up my first Flow Hive. It just arrived last week, so I’m getting ready to assemble and seal it. I’m also into permaculture and have an organic citrus grove and garden in Southern California that is a certified wildlife habitat. I’m already planning my second hive – in my mind!

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Welcome both of you! You’ll find some wonderfully knowledgeable and helpful beekeepers on the forum, and please feel free to tag the lovely @Bianca from the Flow Team as well, or email info@honeyflow.com if you need any information or assistance specific to the product.

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Hi Sarah

I saw your message as a reply to mine yesterday. I am a newbie too! Live in Switzerland. Have you got your bees yet? I am expecting my nuc in a few weeks but finding it rather daunting!
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Actually I was on the forums last night and came across a thread about compatibility. I understand the brood boxes are Langstrom but apparently there is an issue in Italy and France where they use Dadant hive ?? I am worried that the Nuc I ordered will not be compatible. I am trying to see if I can change to a package instead but its a little late in the season. Is there any more info on this? I honestly would not have known if I hadn’t seen it in the forums. Thanks in advance

I’m originally from San Diego!! I have pear trees, apple trees, plums and apricot trees. This year I will plant more flowers and do seed saving. My land is pretty bare as it used to have vines, which are useless for bees.

I ordered the Nuc, but then I read that the Flow hive Brood boxes are not compatible wit he boxes they use in Italy and France, so I am trying to see if I can change to a package. I won’t get mine until the end of May because I didn’t know I had to order so early. So i don’t expect to harvest anything this year.

Hi
Yes they ONLY use Dadant hives where I am - the brood box is a Langstrom size so it is about 6cm shorter in depth than the Dadant! I have only learned this recently (I did a course about 5 years ago so hadn’t really taken in the difference between hives…).
However I looked at others’ posts and people in France who have the same problem have done some modifications.
To be accepted as part of the local beekeeping group and be able to buy the bees I have had to resort to buying a Dadant brood box (not that expensive as just a wooden box with frames - nowhere near as pretty as the Flow hives!). I am collecting it later today so will try to see if if can be used with the Flow frames on top. Then once I get the hang of things I will see if I can move the bees later or switch to using some flow frames in the Dadant brood box to then place inside the Flow later in the year. However as a beginner it is quite complicated!
Plus with Covid and lots of people here losing bees to disease it means more hassle!
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If we can get a packet over a Nuc it would be ideal. But if not, I will probably buy the local hives and use the Hybrid Flow next year when I can buy a packet over a Nuc. We will see. I am waiting for the beekeeper to give us an update.

I am such a newbie I don’t even know what a packet is! I only have one option and that is the Nuc which comes ready to go on 5 Dadant frames so I am rather limited. However, assuming my bees can survive all the diseases and stay with me then in future years I only need to buy a queen so much easier…
Hope all goes well with you - I will let you know how mine goes…
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Wow! That’s so cool! My house is on 1/2 acre that used to be part of the original citrus grove in Lemon Grove. Some of the trees are over 100 years old, and have beautiful dark trunks. There are several varieties of orange, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, plus peaches, plums, pomegranate, figs, olives, grapes, avocado, macadamia nut, loquats, and bananas. They’re full of blossoms right now, but my bees won’t be here in time for this season. (boo hoo!) There are also several jacarandas and a couple of coral trees, which have to be trimmed way back every five years or so. I just bought a wood chipper and realize that I should have done that a long time ago. My garden is organic and nearly everything goes back into the soil.
When I bought this house in 2008, the lower half – which is on a slope – was like an archeological dig! It used to be a dump for the old farmhouse next door and hadn’t been cultivated for decades. I gradually terraced it and put in a few steps, and in the process found found old horseshoes, raliroad ties, and lots of broken bottles and pottery, plus an ancient hand tool from when this area was inhabited by the Kumeyaay. This has been my big project for quite a while, but the bees were the missing piece!

Hi Sarah! Welcome :slight_smile:

Hi Sarah

Welcome to the forum and beekeeping.

There’s a post on the forum already where someone in France has modified a Dadant hive to accommodate a Hybrid Flow Super 4 frame on top, here, however, your super is 3 frame which is narrower.

I’m personally not familiar with Dadant hives and the different sizes available. I wonder if there is a smaller version available (i.e. how many frames does it hold) that you could easily modify to suit your 3 frame Hybrid Flow Super. Note that this size super is equivalent to an 8 frame Langstroth hive, Langstroth being the most commonly used hive in the world and what other beekeepers in your region may be more familiar with in terms of size/dimensions, compared to a Flow Hive/box. The Hybrid Flow Super 4 frame (used in the link above) is compatible with the size 10 frame Langstroth box.

Advice from the bee supplier is a great place to start, with the key info that your Flow boxes are the same size as Langstroth 8 frame and depth is full-frame depth.

Thanks for the link Bianca - looks similar to mine. Dadant appears to be the most used hive in rural parts of Switzerland (they laughed when I said I had the Langstroth equivalent) but am glad I can make use of the Flow Hive as excited to get started using it!

Have you managed to get it sorted Sarah?

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The issue is the frames. Dadant frames are longer than Longstrom, so it wouldn’t matter if it were 3 frame or 4 frame. I think Honey Flow should tell potential buyers in Italy/France because it is not possible to get bees as a Nuc, you have to get a packet, because the frames from the Nuc will not fit. I am not a carpenter, I am new to this, so I am not going to make any modifications. I am going to have to buy a dadant hive to start with and I hope I can send my Flow Hive back with a refund. I already ordered a Nuc, I can’t change to a packet this late. The purpose of the flow hive for me was ease becaue I have arthritis, so I was happy to do less lifting of boxes. Anyway, it is a big disappointment.

No, we are in lockdown so there is no way to do anything about it right now. I am going to send the Flow Hive back and get the Dadant hive as I am not a carpenter.

I understand and sympathise with your frustrations. The beekeeping learning curve is a steep one where personal unexpected turns can trigger a sense of overwhelm. Particularly in light of unusual circumstances such as a lockdown.

Flow intends to support our newbees across the globe as best we can, with online resources such as thebeekeeper.org, support site, weekly Q&A Facebook Live which does include info on what type of hive the Flow Hive is compatible with. We also have our Flow Ambassador program that offers local support and we have one in Roma, Italy, that I’d love to put you in touch with. His name is Giuseppe Mongelli and email - giuseppemongellicps@gmail.com. Giuseppe may be able to help you with your best options for setting up a colony and beekeeping in your local area.

As a beginner, it’s so incredible important that local and experienced advice is sought out in order to understand the typical beekeeping practices in your unique region and climate, which the health and wellbeing of your bees depend on. This includes typical equipment, practices such as wintering, pest and disease management.

There are actually multiple options for you to source your bees without the need to modify anything, e.g. waiting for a package to become available (patiently waiting for the seasons is a common facet of beekeeping), catching a swarm, bait hive.

If you would like to acquire bees immediately and your only option is a nuc, then this is where modifying frames or sourcing a Dadant brood box are your best options.

I wish you all the best navigating this new world in such difficult times and that the forum community can offer some comfort and support.