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How much of a commitment is keeping a hive?

Hi there!

I was considering getting my Dad a Flow hive for his 60th birthday. He lives in the countryside now and puts loads of work into the garden, growing all his own vegetables, so I thought a beehive would work well for him: he could eat his own honey, from the nectar from his own flowers!

He’s definitely very dedicated, but I just want to make sure I’m giving him something he can enjoy, not a back-breaking job! I’m aware from reading the forums that every hive is different and that different problems arise for different people, but what would a typical month of beekeeping look like? Would it be an hour a week, or an hour a day? I just need a vague sense of how much commitment it would take…

Also, if he went away for a month on a holiday, would that jeopardise the hive?

Sorry for such a broad question, but I’d love to hear a very vague sense of how many hours go into maintaining a successful Flow hive.

Thanks so much!

Ben

Hey,

As I’m in Australia things are vastly different here in terms of managing a hive, but this link gives a brief seasonal rundown of what is required in the UK.

Working a hive does involve lifting heavy equipment during inspections etc so if your father cannot comfortably lift up to 20-30kg (possibly more) or have someone to assist as required you may want to reconsider.

Although extracting honey using Flow frames does help avoid some of the necessary heavy lifting and work associated with other extraction methods, it does not remove it altogether.

The worst thing that can happen is the hive becomes neglected and turns into a vector for the spread of diseases and pests.

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Thanks for this, Stevo!

I’m seeing him this weekend so will secretly test his strength…!

What do you do / would you do if you have to be away for a month or so?

Ben

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Hi there, just to add to Stevo’s comments above. I enjoy working my hives. Maybe another thing to keep in mind is that certain tasks have to be done on a short notice but may not be a big deal. Bees can fend for themselves but there still is a fair amount if husbandry involved, which a lot of us find enjoyable.

Also, two hives are a lot better than one as it gives him a lot more options to manipulate things.

And, before he gets the hive, it is a good idea to do a beekeeping course.

Regarding the month away, it depends which month. Spring and summer are busy ones.

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I would echo Honeyeaters comments, maybe try and spark up a conversation about beekeeping and see if he shows any interest.

There are also ways of lessening the loads associated with beekeeping to make it easier on the back lol.

And yes two hives are definitely better than one, that saved me last season. It’s kind of like keeping chickens, always get at least two, maybe some chooks would fit well into his vegetable garden? Plenty of free fertilizer :grinning:

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Show him videos from the Flow Hive YouTube channel rowsbt. We’re all here as well to help (not with the lifting though).

He’s 60 not dead :wink::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: will stimulate him in soo many additional ways on top of his already active pastimes.

I’m UK (Midlands). One things for sure it’ll bring you both even closer :heart:. Wish my daughter was as generous as you but 4 grandchildren so I’m not complaining :rofl:.

If he goes for it keep us all posted :+1:

Don’t gift somebody bees unless you are positive that they really want to become a beekeeper.

Why don’t you gift him a beekeeping course and membership of the local association? Every part of the UK has an active association and there he will learn about the craft and meet other beekeepers.

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That is probably the best suggestion yet!

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Honestly i probably over worked my hive to start with because i found it so interesting to get in there and see what’s happening. now i try and inspect every 3-4 weeks year round (im sub tropics)

Another issue (if you want to call it that) is its very addictive. i got my first Nuc in october last year. i now have 4 hives and always looking at expanding out. There is so much to do and learn about if you really want to. I’m about to start grafting queen cells just to give it a go.

As for lifting. if you are getting a flow hive that will help alot. although you still need to lift the super for brood inspections. but hey why not get a second suit and give your dad a hand on those days?

I would spark up the conversation and read some books and watch some videos and see if he would bw into it.

My dad has said no to me putting hives at his house but after spending a day in our backyard just watching the bees coming and going from the hives he has said they are entertaining to watch so maybe he is turning the corner and some hives can be put at his.

Best of luck with it all.

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