Hi, new beekeeper here. Sorry for the long post. I have acquired two Flow Hives from my father in-law (recently passed away) He set these up in 2016/17 – original Flow Hives.
I have decided to take care of his bees as they were an important part of his life. I have been doing A LOT of research lately, bringing myself ‘up to speed’ with all things beekeeping and will be transporting the hives to my place in a month or so. I have seeked advice from my local bee club and also neighbourhood beekeepers that have Flow Hives. The hives are strong and have produced a good steady supply of honey for the past few years.
Now, onto my question…. Today was the first time I have actually had a very close look at the hives. What I noticed was the appearance of the flow frames, in particular around the flow trough/chamber was looking rather dirty and unsightly. Also the timber of the hive has swollen and gone dark in colour. (I am guessing he didn’t prepare the timber correctly when first setting them up, and the location they are in is probably not the most ventilated) The recent harvest of honey was done by a friend of his and I have noticed some of the collection troughs had honey in them. I have hopefully rectified this by properly closing the frames with the flow key – they weren’t fully closed properly. I unblocked any blockages in the leak back points too. I have also noticed what appears to be crystallised honey in one flow trough. That trough seems to have beetles in it. (I replaced the Apithor traps today) There is also lots of wax along the viewing section of the frames.
Generally the flow frames look very much in need of a good clean. Can I remove one or two frames at a time and leave that space empty in the hive, and take them away for cleaning? Then rotate them around until all the frames are clean. Or wait until Winter and take the whole Flow Hive off , just keep the two boxes below, and clean all the frames up at once. Maybe prep the timber a little better?
Does the condition of these flow frames appear ‘normal’ after being used for 3 – 4 yrs? They don’t look very appealing to extract honey from at the moment.
Any help is appreciated.