Please don’t do that at this time of year. I wouldn’t do it at all, unless I had a purchased new queen that I needed to install. I really think it is better to let the bees supersede the queen themselves, if they want to. They usually choose to do this when there is a good nectar flow and plenty of drones, in Spring or early Summer.
Dawn is right, timing is everything & our bees are in winter prep mode in this area so raising a new queen is not on the agenda. Besides, it’s safe to assume that a first year colony won’t produce enough honey for the beekeeper to take a harvest. So, don’t worry & read up on how you might help your colony survive the winter (it’s coming…)
We decided to take off our honey super, so the bees could focus more on
their winter stash. Been feeding the sugar water for a couple weeks and we
have gone through about 20 pounds of sugar. I hope it holds them over for
the winter. How has your season gone Eva?
If you’re worried, you can get some bakers fondant, place a slab on some waxed paper, and lay that directly on top of the frames in the upper deep brood chamber.
An Imrie shim http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/8-Frame-Imirie-Shim offers a little space under the inner cover for the fondant. They come in 8 or 10 frame sizes.
Hey Jenny - just lost a hive to wax moths, sorry to say. The other hive is doing great though & has accepted all
the queenless moth hive refugees. My next step is to get my moisture quilt ready & put it on top of the good hive. I made it custom so there’s an Imrie shim-sized gap inside the bottom for a sugar patty to fit under as @Anon described. Worked great last year!
Did you harvest any honey? I took one frame from my strongest hive, SO wonderful
Near Harrisburg here, work in the city, live in the country raising two boys and what… 40,000 girls. what was I thinking.
So Eva, how did your season go?
Weird but good I guess! Right now I have a full medium ready to harvest from a double brood box captured swarm and my Flow frames are almost full again after the hive swarmed (yep I captured my own swarm ) and took a few roadies with them…and one more single deep box from a split that might need to be combined going into fall soon.
Hello, do you still sell bees and nucs ? we are planning to start in southeastern PA
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
If you don’t get an answer from anyone on this thread, I can highly recommend bee packages from Mann Lake bee supplies. They are excellent quality and lovely gentle bees:
Im planning to get a flow hive in SE PA area (chester county) - did your flow hive work out well and did you need to do something different from 7 frame flow hive 2 ?
@Eva is in Pennsylvania too, and I believe that she has had great success with her Flow hive(s). Perhaps she will comment now that I have tagged her…
Hi there, I’m in Montgomery county PA and as Dawn says, have had good results with my Flow classic. Let me know what questions you have!
Hi everyone! I’m new to beekeeping- I’ve reserved a nuc for the spring, and am hot wax dipping my flow hive this weekend I know I should be starting with two hives, but I just wanted to make sure I can really keep up before I invest too much (hopefully this isn’t a huge mistake!).
I’m in Berks County, PA, and I’m excited to get started! Unfortunately it’s a little difficult getting a mentor during the pandemic, so I’ve been trying to do as many online classes and reading as I can. These forums are a great source of information, but I still feel like I’m really missing out, not having a mentor.
Just a few questions for all you PA folks:
I was planning on painting my roof a dark blue (as soon as it comes out of the hot wax), since it seems like overwintering seems to be a bigger issue in our area vs overheating- or do you all recommend a lighter roof for hot summers? I figured I could put shade over the hive if it got too hot, but maybe it’s better to just paint light?
It sounds like mites are one of the biggest issues- I was planning on doing monthly mite checks and starting apovare if I start to see anything, though the apiary that I’m getting the bees from start mid-august regardless (but I’m sure it’s much harder to do monthly mite checks for many hives). I’ve also read a treatment of oxalic acid in the winter when the brood is smallest is recommended. I know there are a ton of options but I didn’t want to get too risky or fancy in the beginning- anyone have any advice about what works for you in this area?
I have two cedar 6 frame deeps and the flow super- I was going to just start with the one brood box and then add the second when appropriate, and only add the super if the second box is filled (knowing I probably won’t get honey this year, but making sure the bees have two full deeps for the winter). Does this sound like enough? I’m worried about my bees overwintering especially since I only have one hive, so I want to do all I can for them.
Does anyone have experience with the stands that came with the flowhive 2? I got them and was just planning on putting them on mulch, maybe with an oil trap around each leg, or do you recommend more of a base (like building up a platform) even for the stand?
Do you all insulate in the winter? The guy I’m getting my bees from says that he doesn’t, but he also brings many of his bees to GA for the winter…
What food do you recommend? I know a lot of people like fondant or sugar cakes- do you guys feed in the winter?
I’m sorry if this is a little excessive haha… I just feel like I’m reading a million different opinions and it’s hard to figure out what’s best for my area without a mentor any advice is deeply appreciated!
I am not in PA (@Eva is, though), but I can answer some of your questions, as they apply wherever you are.
I strongly recommend a light color. Overheating is much more of a problem for bees than cold weather. As your summers can be quite hot and humid, a light color would be preferable.
I really like Randy Oliver’s oxalic acid sponge method. You can use the Search tool at the top right to find posts about it. I would definitely treat, almost whatever the counts. I used to treat twice per year (Spring and Fall), then I needed to increase to 4 times per year. The mites were relentless! With the sponges, I think I can go back to twice per year, as the sponges can stay in the hive for several months.
It should be plenty.
Depends on the time of year. When overnight temperatures are above about 55°F, you can use an in-hive feeder to give them sugar syrup - I use 5:3 sugar to water, with a bit of powdered Vitamin C to inhibit fungus and nourish the bees. For colder weather, you can use candy/fondant, solid white granulated sugar or commercially available winter patties. I am sure that Eva will let you know what she does, but by the time you get your nucleus, it will be syrup time.
I will leave the other questions to locals and folks who have a Flow 2 stand (mine is a Classic). Please ask if we can help with anything else.
Wow, thank you so much @Dawn_SD !! That is incredibly helpful, I appreciate all the tips!!
The extended release oxalic acid sounds like a great idea, I’m really interested in that method. do you make the sponges yourself? If so, do you use the method described in Randy Oliver’s 2017 paper (http://scientificbeekeeping.com/scibeeimages/2016-Beyond-Taktic-pdf.pdf ), or has there been modifications since then? (That was what I could find on my search, but I’m new to the online bee world!). And do you feel comfortable harvesting your honey during the time the sponge is present?
I do, and I use the materials and methods described in his more recent posting:
I have summarized the method I actually use here:
These are the sponges:
This is the glycerine:
The oxalic acid is Savogran Wood Bleach from Home Depot. Amazon has it too, but it costs a bit more. It is over 99% pure and is perfectly safe to use for this method.
Randy Oliver is working with the EPA to certify the method as safe to use with a super on. Initial results show no major effect on honey composition (oxalic acid is naturally present in most honey anyway). I am happy to leave the sponges in my hives with super on.
@Dawn_SD you’re the best!! Thank you!!! I’m sorry, I should have found that post, I did look but apparently I need to work on my searching skills on this website. That is so helpful- I’m sure my future bees would thank you if they could
Thank you so much for all of your time!!!
One more thing. I use slatted racks in my hives to prevent summer bearding and give the bees a bit more clearance from the hive bottom. If I only have one brood box, I put the sponges under the brood box, on top of the slatted rack. They still work really well for mite control in this position.
It is a real pleasure to help somebody who is motivated and cares. Keep asking questions if anything isn’t clear, or you can’t find the info easily.
Hey Maggie! Welcome to beekeeping and the forum I’m not too far from you here in Montgomery Co. Dawn hooked you up decently I’d say, and you can enjoy assembling your gear for spring. Our weather and seasonal changes are almost the same, so I hope you’ll check in often as you get your first bees started.