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I'm not harvesting


I’ve noticed on line that some new beekeepers are harvesting.

I’m in PA and was told specifically not to plan on any harvesting during my first year.

Started with two rock solid nucs. Two deeps full of bees and productivity per hive now (8 frames each). And honey.

I want them to head into winter with everything they need. I might take a few spoons full of honey but I’m not harvesting.


You could put a traditional medium super on top, and “not harvest” much of it… :smiling_imp:


Shows what good bee-sense you have developed then. Many congratulations on great decision-making.


Good choice. Many comments here where new hives are robbed in the first season. That often does not end well hence the old rule that you don’t rob first year hives.



That’s not really the best advice. The best advice would be not to count on harvesting your first year. But you may. I’d say there’s at least a 50:50 chance you may have a surplus.


Interesting. Everything I’ve read and heard also leaned towards not expecting a harvest and that is exactly how I’ve treated things.
I never expected to harvest but as things developed, I decided to pull the honey from my Flow frames to facillitate removal and storage. Don’t want them on over winter. I’m happy to let someone else conduct that experiment and report back next spring :slight_smile:


I’ve read not to put a medium on unless you’re planning on harvesting as its a real pain to have them cluster in the medium eventually and then you have to get them out in the spring? i suppose if you remove it before they cluster then no biggy.
I’m gunna put a medium on one of mine and just see what happens. :slight_smile:


I guess we were lucky- we harvested 17kg’s from our flow frames from a hive that came from a 5 frame Nuc. We only have one 8 frame brood box- we removed the flow super for winter. The bees have done well over winter- still out and about bringing in pollen when there is no rain.

Just writing this now: I am wondering why it is that in Australia we can get away with just one brood box- and mostly in America you use two? Is it that we have a better all year round nectar? Warmer climate on average?


Thats basically it Michelle, here in Australia our winters are mild and there is forage almost year round for the most part if you live on or near the coast. But come spring we need to put on an extra super under the flow and then move capped brood and honey frames (2-3 at a time) up to create the space needed for the queen to lay in the brood box and expand the colony for the spring flow, this is also swarm management.


I must be lazy but I run double deep broods on my hives. I don’t move them aroud so weight is not a problem and when a hive fully fills these boxes you can almost forget them. Very rarely have to feed, only nucs get that privilige usually, and they build up very quickly in spring without too much effort on my part.



Can you expand on this a little Rodderick? You are saying: come spring we should put a new box onto the brood box -then put the flow super on top of that? And move frames of honey from the brood box up to the new box- but also frames of brood? I am confused?

Some of the frames in the Nuc we used were quite old- with very dark comb- and some are plastic (yuck) we had planned to possibly rotate them out for fresh new frames come spring. What you seem to be suggesting sounds like it could achieve that. I am just a little confused about moving frames of brood up? Would that be above the queen excluder? Or are you saying basically to expand the single brood box to a double over spring? Then what: remove that second brood box before next winter? Or have I misread what you wrote?


Yes, exactly. If you run single brood boxes then this is the preferred method to cope with spring build up and swarm management. I run single brood with double supers throughout the year, the difference being that during winter the top super (2nd super) is empty and sealed off from the bees. The middle box (1st super) is winter storage (at least 1 frame of honey to 1 frame of brood). So back to the Flow hive, the Flow super is being treated as winter storage so come spring we need to move honey and advanced brood frames up to create space for the queen to lay, this cannot be achieved with a Flow super. So the method is under-super the Flow with a full depth box (which will sit directly above the brood) fill this box with either empty drawn comb, foundation frames or starter strip frames. Then move 2-3 frames up into the middle then checker board the brood box with new frames to create the new space. You will need to do this every 2-3 weeks for at least 2 months (the swarm season).

Yes, this is how this is done, and once the brood has emerged you can remove these frames altogether.

Yes, the queen excluder remains in the same place above the 1st brood box.[quote=“Semaphore, post:14, topic:7847”]
expand the single brood box to a double over spring? Then what: remove that second brood box before next winter?
I don’t remove the box over winter although this is what many beekeepers do. I seal it off with vinyl mats (same material you use to place over your brood as a winter mat (stops condensation from dripping on bees/brood and keeps the warmth in brood box) after freezing the empty frames to kill off any wax moth or SHB eggs).
The queen excluder never moves, once you expand to double brood its a bit of a pain to shrink back to single. Just keep it as a single. Once the swarm season is over, Nov-Dec, you can leave the 1st super below the Flow super or move it to above. Its up to you, bear in mind these boxes are heavy, I would just leave as-is with the Flow super as box no.3
My method is all about colony build up and swarm management, this is the commercial way and is endorsed by our primary industries department of Ag and NSW Apiarist Assoc. Not everyone agrees but I have been operating this way for a few years now and it works. Adding to this is the chance of you rolling your queen is minimised as she is only every in the bottom box out of harms way.
Apologies, I get a bit carried away, but the winter preparation and the spring management is the most important time for beekeepers in caring for your bees.


Thanks for the detailed reply! Very interesting. One question I had about leaving the Flow super on over winter- the honey we extracted all crystallized in our buckets and jars at the start of winter. If we had left the flow frames in place (or with a barrier so the bees can’t get in) wouldn’t the honey in the frames all have crystallized over winter? Would it uncrystallize come spring? Or would the bees eat it all over winter? Or would the heat of the hive have stopped it from crystallizing over winter? I noticed that Cedar left his flow frames on over winter- and it seems this would be easier than removing the flow super every winter. I guess this is a climate related decision- I have a feeling Adelaide winters are mild enough that we could have left the flow super where it was. In our 8 frame brood box- there was pretty much 50/50 brood to honey frames going into winter.

Second Point: Swarm management. Mum has a second original full flow hive- we were planning to populate that hive with a swarm from the first hive- if we can. So in that case we wouldn’t follow your regimen? We would wait until there were swarm signs- then per-emptively split to the new hive?

and- to complicate things further- the other day I grabbed two more complete flow hives and have designed a horizontal flow hive… ! I am going flow crazy- and will be swarm hunting come spring.


Hey, yes that is a good possibility. And the bees would still use this as their winter stores so its not really an issue. I am in Sydney and leave my Flow frames on over winter. Our honey here also crystallises ready due to the mellaleucas. If the honey was to crystallise in the frames then what you could do is to gently warm them. I use a large cardboard box with a light bulb in it and heat to 40-45C this will bring your honey back to liquid in about 24 hours.

Great idea! … this is what I do. If you catch the hive as it is swarming (their behaviour is very distinct and unlike the afternoon nurse bee cleansing flights), you can hose them down (light but strong spray from the hose), the bees will cluster on the ground around the queen, from there you can cage her and place her in a small Nuc or box, the rest of the bees will follow her. This sure is better than having to climb a tree or chase them around the neighbourhood.

Good on you, it is a crazy obsession. We might need to start a new thread, “Products & Recipes from the Hive” as you’ll need to do something with all that honey.


Our flow hive autumn honey was so good- even though we got 17kg’s it has been eaten and used up very fast. Actually- everyone who has tried it has stated that it is unusually amazing. We are entering samples in the upcoming Royal Show- perhaps that will be the ultimate unbiased test… My new hive design incorporates shallow supers for making comb honey- and this is something I plan to focus on as well as Flow honey.


Looking forward to seeing a few piccies of your setup. I have seen a few long (coffin) hives but never thought to make one up myself. I’d be very interested in how you get on.


Well since I have nothing but mediums, it would be pretty hard for me to not put mediums on… Why would you need to get them out in the spring?


Wondered the same thing about mediums - with my population setback I decided to go with a medium as my second brood box, and building is still fairly slow in there. My original deep is looking packed with comb & bees. Im thinking my colony size will be smallish, but it seems very healthy. Don’t want to give them too much overwintering space.

And like Cowgirl, I’m a first year beekeeper in PA & didn’t bank on harvesting this year.

This is a nice thread - I had to stop myself from going “like” crazy :heartbeat:


that’s just what i heard. I can’t remember the exact reason.


I, too, did not plan on harvesting any honey this year, as it is my first. However, our Carniolan bees have exploded in population and honey. We’ve already harvested 2 gallons (over 24lb) and they are almost full again. Absolutely insane.

We only have the flow super over two broods. We were going to leave the frames on over the winter in NY. I’m now second guessing that based upon some comments here. Opinions? Will the bees move any of that down as it gets colder?