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Leaving a Hive unattended?


#1

I live in South Florida, how long can I leave a hive unattended?


#2

Good question. I suppose it depends on how much you care what happens. Most hobby beekeepers will open their hives weekly during nectar flow and swarm season. Flow infamously said that they only open their hives twice a year, in one of their advertising videos.

However, in the US, that would generally be considered very negligent. If you live in a rural area, and your neighbors wouldn’t be bothered by swarms, you might get away with that. If you are urban, it would be a very bad idea.

The other issue is disease. I believe that Australia doesn’t have varroa pests. Those need active monitoring and treatment, or you will lose your bees.

So to give you the simple answer, during the winter months, you probably only need to go into the hives once per month. During spring and summer, it should be at least weekly. If it helps, there are people who offer hive management services in most parts of the US. My bee supplier will look after my bees for $35 per visit if I am on an extended trip away from home. I am sure that there will be beekeepers near you willing to do the same.

Dawn


#3

Dear Dawn,

Thank you very much. I am not keeping Bee’s yet, but will retire soon and am considering doing so. I am also considering doing some traveling and so my question came to mind. I will look around and see about some of the Bee keeping clubs and people here and see if they have such a service. I guess if I am going to be gone for 6 months or more I may be able to loan out my hive? Well, I guess I have some things to iron out. Perhaps you could answer another question I have?

I am thinking of building my own Hive and buying some of the Flow-Hive frames. What is the best wood or material to use in making a hive? Cedar came to mind, as in Cedar Chest as it kills pest and insects, but then how will it affect Bee’s? Any ideas?

Thank you again, Dawn, many blessings to you!
Mike C.


#4

Great idea, your local beekeeping club is an excellent source of advice and services.

Western Red Cedar is an excellent choice for building a hive. If you don’t want to cut and shape it all yourself, you can buy a kit for a lot less than a Flow hive from Bee Thinking:

The 8-Frame size is the same as Flow uses, and is a friendlier weight for most of us to lift. In addition, WRC is very light - about 70% of the weight of pine or cypress, so that helps too.

Hope you go forward in this venture. Please keep in touch.

Dawn


#5

Dear Dawn,

Wow, Thanks again! I will check out that site. I just read about another fellow using White Cedar, which I haven’t heard of but will look into. Thank you for the Bee Thinking site!

Many Blessings, Mike C.


#6

Maybe the right question is how long SHOULD I leave a hive unattended. Several months is not really a problem if you time those well so that it doesn’t run out of space and swarm and you get a good check on it’s status in the spring and again after harvest in the fall. I’ve left them for three years while I was out of the country and most were still there when I got back. But that is not a good way to manage bees and certainly won’t make you any honey.


#7

White cedar is great too, but perhaps even more expensive than western red cedar. Just depends on what you can get your hands on, and what you prefer to work with.

Dawn


#8

Thank you for your input! It is very welcomed and very informative!!! I appreciate you taking the time to help me out!

Many Blessings, Mike C.