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How long after Nuc to install Flow Hive

I know that this question will not have a definitive answer, just looking for a ball park.
Installed a Nuc about 30 days ago, Bees have been very active in reasonable numbers.
We have quite a few Marri trees in flower around here.
The weather has been warm to hot.
I did have a frame inspection 2 weeks ago to see how the 4 empty frames were going.
The empty frames had no foundation, letting the bees build their own
All 4 frames were progressing well and on average 40% full.
I am going away till the 24th Feb and don’t want to do another frame inspection without having someone with me to teach me what to look for.
So the question, should I install the FlowHive before I go or wait till I get back

Cheers, George

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Great question. Hard to answer, but at this point in the season, i would wait. Others may have better ideas

Hi George, good idea to inspect before you leave, and make an assessment then.

I’m surrounded with Marri, and my hives took off in a very short time once they got flowing.

Hi @George_Perth.

I know it is hard to see all this possible honey passing by, but no matter how much we want it, we cannon beat life cycle of bees. It takes 21 days to produce next parcel of workers. As I understand you had a 4 frames nuc 30 days ago and now they have 100% more of comb to service and only one generation of bees matured to hatch. Now if you give them another 200%, where the bees would come from to take care about it? Bees to comb ratio is important. If you lucky, after 24th of February you will be asking question: “Why my bees don’t use super?”. If not, you may have more serious problem - pests and diseases. Let your colony grow. You don’t even need to pull frames out to see it is a time to give them super. It is just enough to open a hive and see that space between all frames is full of bees and they even “overflow” on top of the frames when mat is lifted. This is your ballpark time. At the moment there are plenty of resources around them to collect. They will use it to the full extent of their abilities. No point to push :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you very much to, Dawn, Wandjina and particularly ABB for your detailed advise.
I will follow your advise and do another inspection after the 24th.
Hopefully I will get an offer from an experienced beek to help me and point out various things to look for, terminology and inspection wise.

Regards, George

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It all depends on the size and strength of the colony as to when to add the super, I have added supers after 6 weeks to a split but I have also waited up to about 4 months.
Add the super when all of the frames are covered with bees and each frame has at least 80% of the cells in use for brood, pollen, capped honey or nectar. Don’t add the super too early as bees prefer ultra high density living and adding the super too early is a common mistake more often made than adding the super late.
If you can find a local bee keeper or bee group soak up their advice, local advice is priceless.


It also depends on what’s in the other 60%. It could be eggs, that are easily missed.

Still, it is only two weeks we’re talking about, so my bet is it will be fine. Also keep an eye for cross-comb on the those foundationless frames


Hi @George_Perth, are you also @George_Slieker by any chance?

Based on what you have described, it might be too early for you to super or put a flow hive on.

Just for your information, my first colony was started this time last year (11/02/19). It spent 3 months in somebody else’s apiary (Spearwood) and then was relocated to my house (Belmont). It stayed a single broodbox until Aug/Oct 2019 before I supered.

Let your colony take advantage of the forage and stores to get them through winter, and time to build up their colony strength. Then come early spring you can decide to super then or split (which ever takes your fancy) :wink:

Bee keeping is as much a game of patience as anything else.

Try attending the next WA Apiarists’ Society meeting where you may be able to meet somebody closer to your area and buddy up with them:

Or put a request on Perth Bee Community fb page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1604115673200464/ I’m sure somebody closer to you will respond.

It doesn’t matter that you have flowframes - the principal of beekeeping remains the same with regards to husbandry and what to look out for.

If all else fails - send me a private message and if I’m ever up in the Wanneroo area I can pop in. I’ve only had 1 year of experience under my belt, but have helped other beginners to date (if that makes you feel any better).


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I have had swarms and nucs take that long to get going- but things can really vary depending the colony and the conditions. Our first flow hive had a very fat Nuc installed in mid january 2016. By the end of february the box was bursting with bees and flow super was added. By the end of March flow box was full.


Thanks Peter48, looks like the time to add the flow can vary considerably.
I will have a look at the frames when I get back home.
Cheers, George

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Also thanks to ffffred and Samaphore for your valuable information, looks like I will need to be patient and wait till the brood box is bursting at the seams, so to speak.
Still much to learn.
I am a member of WAAS but not attended a meeting yet.
Waiting for their next training day after the February one which I cannot attend because I am still away.
Cheers, George

Hiya George, rule of thumb, don’t expect to harvest first year.
Adding a super too early will set your colony back.
I think by what you are saying you are planning to check progress when you get back then decide and I think that’s a wise move.
Anytime you would like to pop up to the hills I’m happy to have a coffee and chat bees with ya.
Plenty of honey to share too.

Hi skeggley, Yes I am starting to come to the same conclusion.
I appreciate your invitation and will certainly come for a drive to the hills.
Ater I get back home on 23rd Feb I will get back in touch with you and arrange a suitable time with you.
I’m retired so my time is flexible.
Cheers, George

That seems to be the common wisdom… and that’s what I was told too. But I think it depends when in the season you try to get your hive established, and what you have around you.

My first hive, established late spring some years, I harvested 12Kg+ within 6 months, and left plenty for winter.

My two new colonies, also acquired in spring, had a rough ride through a dearth, but are going to shower me in honey soon from the progress I’m seeing.

For the record, these two colonies not only didn’t progress much for the first few months, they actually went backwards. They were strong nucs and wrongly assumed they’ll fend for themselves. I was wrong, I was in a dearth without realising, and had to feed. I inspected the hives weekly, and they barely touched my empty frames. They only exploded in numbers in the last three weeks. There were eggs which I probably missed, and all of a sudden the hives were 95% full.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will apply to George, or to anyone else for that matter. But what I learned is, there really is no:


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Rule of thumb = Broadly accurate.
I didn’t harvest my first year. I have a colony that is a 2 year old swarm that I have never harvested. Same location.
I like rule of thumbs. Sure they’re not 100% accurate but they are a good guide.:+1:
Oh the irony. :grin:

That makes it a month between inspections. A lot can happen in a month at this time of year, at least around here.

I think that everyone above is pretty much right, and the real answer is “how long is a piece of string”.

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I reckon that Henry Hoke would have the answer for how long a piece of string is.




That clip was a real ripper Jeff. Love the rope hammer handle. :laughing: :smiley: :smiley:

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