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I'm a new beekeeper and my first Flow Hive. Which should I purchase a package or nuc?

So did I and so did most of the new beekeepers on this forum.

If you get the bees too much room too soon, it’ll actually set them back. There are number of thoughts of why, but I think the main reason is they are not able to keep it warm enough to raise the the eggs into brood sooner/quicker. They need to keep the hive at a certain temperature in order for the brood to raise. By giving them too much room they can’t keep the entire box warm.

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From what I understand, I can get my nuc (I’ve made that decision) in May - about how long before I add the flow frame?

It’s very hard to answer, how long is a piece of string :slight_smile: there’s too many variables.
Are you in town or in the country
what is the pollen sources plentiful or not
has it rained lately
has it rained too much
is it overly dry
are the temperatures too hot or too cold

Even someone 30 miles away could have hundred percent different response to these questions to know when to add a 2nd breadbox or add the flow frames. And all this is at the time that your bees are trying to produce honeycomb, brood

That’s another question are you going to run one broodbox with flow frames or 2 brood boxes with flow frames.

You’ll need to ask your local beekeepers what is the best scenario for your situation/area.

I think for the first year, I’ll keep it to 1 brood box. I want to keep it simple - so far that doesn’t sound likely! lol

so with your first year, really ask, you may need 2 brood boxes just to get thru the next winter


look at these post as well

also anything from Michael_Bush take as gospel. He is a great recourse on here

Ok - I’ll ask. I think YOU are my new mentor. I have seen the video with Michael Bush installing a package to the super. I’ll research more on him.

Well, from your “cold north east” location, you are probably going to need a second or even third brood box. Your bees will need to have enough stores to last through the winter (40-80lb of honey) before they have enough to spare for you. Please don’t think that one box keeps it simple. Depending on where you are, that may just ensure that your bees don’t survive the next winter.

As for when to add the Flow frames, the answer is the same as when to add any new box. You want the existing box to have all frames with fully drawn comb, and the comb 80% full of brood, honey or pollen, plus every frame completely covered with bees. If you add a new box too soon, the bees can’t defend the new space, and you risk the brood getting chilled too. If you are going to use 2 or 3 brood boxes, you use the same concept I just gave you - bursting with bees before adding another. @Red_Hot_Chilipepper has posted an excellent set of photos telling what you need to see before you add a box:

I understand that you are excited, but please don’t try to “force” your bees to work the way you want. They need to do it their way, or they won’t do well.

Thank you. That does explain a lot. I certainly don’t want to loose my bees over winter.

Congratulations on starting up a hive. I started mine last year and the information and help from people on this forum helped tremendously. I have four friends at work that I used as mentors but the people on the Forum were there for me at all hours of the day and night.

I agree with @Dee, @Dawn_SD and @Martydallas, starting with a nuc is the way to go for us newbies for all of the reasons Marty pointed out.

Here few more things to think about before spring gets here and your bees arrive. The person I bought my Nuc from said it would be ready at a certain date but the weather was great and the nuc was ready two weeks before the date they quoted. Luckily the spot where my hive was going to be set up was all ready to go or I would have been in a panic.

Picking up a Nuc for the first time was interesting. I was glad that I had a pickup truck with a canopy. The nuc was sealed very good but there were a few loose bees and if that had happened inside of a car it would have distracted me.

Keep your Nuc Box…when my bees swarmed later on in the summer I was able to capture the swarm and started a second hive. And you may want to have a second hive ready in case you need to split your hive or if they swarm.

Practice keeping your smoker lit a few times before your bees arrive.

Figure out what your going to use for an entrance reducer. Many of the standard reducers don’t fit the Flow Hive entrance. There are a lot of good ideas on the forum for making entrance reducers. I had to try to fit the one I made to my hive entrance after I got my bees.

And finally, find a place to set up your chair because your going to be spending lots of time watching your girls do their thing with your favorite beverage in hand. Its addicting!


Thank you. I’m excited and feeling overwhelmed all of a sudden. I’ll have to rely on the advise I get from everyone. My classes start in January, and have more questions than before. I have my site picked out and am looking into where I can get a local nuc. Good advice about not have bees flying around in the car! lol

One more thing: Order your nuc right now.

yes, stressing over getting your NUC home for a new beekeeper is something else :slight_smile: here is some of my story


yes, where I am, you should order in 6-8 months in advance of wanting it.

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here is a video of me that day installing my NUC


That was great! I actually feel better now. The image of you in your Prius with your mother and the bees is priceless. I do like the feeder set up you have. what is that?

Yes, I have been researching local sites. I want to have all my ducks (bees) all lined up!

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I have the white plastic one as well as the wood one called Boardman Entrance Feeder M00826 I like this one better for now. Still like the plastic one, it is much liter, use a plastic bottle as well on it.

With my NUC I was given an frame feeder also. I never used it on that NUC. I am using it now in winter here with a swarm my mentor and I placed in a box just before winter. They were able to build some comb out but not enought to full up the box and not enought food to get then thru winter. so I am using it for them. Glad i have it.

Now in winter I am feeding both hives entrance feeders as well and placing candy polin blocks on top of the brood in the box so they don’t have to move a lot to get food.

What do you think of the bucket feeders?