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My first Flow Hive harvest :) Delaware, Indiana, USA


#1

Other than removing lid to look in and removing window covers to watch, I do 0 inspections, 0 treatments, feed no sugar except for giving them a jelly jar (have only done once) to clean out and will use no smoke, I feel this only irritates them and looses you honey, maybe even bees, I do not know if they come back after fire goes out or not, they all look the same to me. My bees are very calm as I do not go in hive to see how their queen is doing, (I’d move too if someone came in my house every few weeks and moved all the furniture around to see how me and my queen is doing) I can just look at entrance or in windows to see how she is doing, they’ll take care of any problems, they know better than I do what they need in a queen. Man gets too involved and we are losing the battle, the poison that we use for treatments doesn’t help.

This is only my way, very few, if any agree with me but my Flow Hives are 8 frame western red cedar on 2.5- 3 inches lime base. (Started with 3.5 but it has settled over the years)(Used 2x4 for frame) My hives have screened bottom boards that I leave open except in the dead of winter to allow beetle eggs and any other harmful critter eggs to fall through and the lime will not allow eggs to pupate as earth would. I had a local wood smith install windows front and left side to supers identical to the one on right of super to allow further inspection.

I am an 80% disabled veteran being paid at 100% due to I U (Individual Unemployable) because of a severe closed head injury which has resulted in very slow motor skills, double vision and other vision difficulties. I guess I still feel lucky; I was put in a body bag and announced dead at Commanders Call the next day. Someone saw my leg move I was air cared to Jackson Memorial Hospital instead of the morgue. (I think someone prayed over me) I came to six weeks later but they failed to pass information along so it took 2 years to get any pay or retired so I could use VA yet it only took 1 year for SS.

I started beekeeping with two double deep 10 frame hives (white pine) in 2013-2014 season, lost both hives after feeding sugar and giving pollen patties all summer and fall. Both went into winter in very good condition but both died by spring from SHB. I would have given up on the hobby as it had proven to be too much work for me to deal with except my mentor whom supplied both Nucs felt sorry for me and supplied another to start another hive…

2014-2015 season. In talking he told me that if I used lime under hive it would not allow the critters that killed the other hives to pupate and continue doing harm but he had no proof of this. It just so happened that I had some high lime gravel left over from a previous concrete job I had done so I dumped a few scoops of gravel, placed a frame on it, pulled one of the 10 frame hive boxes along with frames that had been previously built with comb out of the freezer and started another hive. The lime must have worked because it survived the winter in good shape and I hadn’t put near the labor into it.

Later that spring God blessed me with a double hernia… 2015-2016 season It didn’t seem like a blessing at the time but God wanted me to see that His bees would do fine without all mans interference. I wasn’t able to give the attention to feedings and all that I was led to believe they needed so I figured they would die that summer. To my surprise the hive had done exceptionally well and I was even able to pull 27.5 pounds of honey off, it was exceptionally good, didn’t have all that sugary taste.

Earlier that fall of 2015 I got a text from my son that stated I should check out this thing called the “Flow Hive” invention that they had come out with in Australia. I spent several days checking it out and decided it might work in taking some of the labor out of beekeeping and ordered three; I was one of the first owners in this area. By Spring of 2016-2017 I was able to do a three way split of the double stack 10 frame brood boxes built from the Nuc that my mentor had so kindly given to me into three 8 frame western red cedar brood boxes from "Flow. I wasn’t able to do any harvest until 2017-2018 season due to my necessity to experiment have only harvested from hive #2 of 30 pounds.

2018-2019 season I should have all three Flow hives on line, once again creating more work than I should attempt so I am considering leasing the flow frames out for harvest as I have many other Irons I would like to get in the fire.

The hive without the medium box is a hive I started last last year by removing a deep from hive 1. The single deep with a medium did better than the double deep with medium. This year I wii be able to see if single deep without medium is better still.

I hope to be harvesting from all 3 this year, I hope I can handle workload.

I also hope and pray I can afford cameras on my hives so I can put them online. I want to share God’s message about how all these treatments are killing his bees.

I am looking for someone to build me 8 frame medium boxes from western red cedar with identical windows all the way around so I can look into brood boxes and see how they are doing. (Didn’t like western red cedar at first) (Too brittle) ( till used with bees, it has proven so much easier to care for bees as I am having problems with white pine hives, (in thinking I guess I am not really having problems with white pine boxes it is just that the red cedar is so much easier) now it is only wood I’ll use for hive boxes)(Although I have entertained the thought of using eastern aromatic eastern red cedar but wonder if it would be too strong for even the bees, but this would work even better for moths and other nuisance bugs)

Blessings, Mark


#2

HMark,

First of all this Vn Vet (1966-67) welcomes you home brother ! Sure interesting to see n read your Beekeeping ideas n experience here. Your correct … most beekeepers would say your crazy not to check, inspect, n treat … but at least it seems to be working for you …

I live out here in western Washington State in the lower foothills country. The city is slowly talking over the small remaining small farms n Forest but my bees are able to forage fair to good … I’d never say excellent here in the “Burbs”.

Your correct everything I’m doing your not doing … I guess my beekeeping was more like yours when I was a kid (before varroa mites marched ashore 1980’s) In the 1950’s n 60’s beekeeping was easy n mostly painless. Lost all my hives while I was in Nam … my dad tried but something went disperately wrong n we had a giant burning party n never said why. (He might not have known) … Maybe I’ll have to ask him one day (Up Stairs) when I turn in my beekeeping suit for wings(figurative) …

Didn’t loose any colonies to mites directly. The local yellow jacket population went nuts here last late summer n killed off three of my six hives. I’ve got replacements Nucs coming in sometime mid April so those should be up n operating then …

Stay in touch bro ! I’m proud to see your article, pix’s n notes. Sure be interested to see just how well your 2018 honey season works out. God is good !

Cheers Brother,

Gerald


#3

Gerald,

It is I that should be welcoming you home, I did not graduate till 1977, did not enter service until 1978.

The only overseas duty I ever had was a 31 day TDY Show of Force to Aalborg Air Station in Denmark in the early 80’s. Even got an incentive flight on an F15-B on a simulated dog fight mission over the North Sea against Danish F 104’s. The only hardship was eating potatoes with/for every meal.

It was Varroa Mite or Small Hive Beatles that killed my first two hives. The dead bees were sent off and I was told what had killed them but I don’t remember what it was. Guess I wasn’t that interested at the time, I didn’t think I’d stay involved.

I hear Washington State is very beautiful. When I was stationed at Holloman AFB New Mexico I rode a friend on my Harley to San Diego California to spend Christmas with his parents but, I never traveled up north.

Back to my bees I credit the lime base along with screened bottom boards. It allows the nuisance bugs and there eggs to fall to the lime as bees clean each other.

This lime does not allow the egg to pupate and crawl back into hive as earth would. Eventually after several life cycles it creates too many bugs for bees to keep under control if it is not a healthy hive.

The pesticides that you use for varroa and Beatles weakens and sometimes kill the bees.

The 8 frame Western Red Cedar gets credit also. I believe the red cedar is like grandma’s cedar chest that she used for her wool sweaters.

The 8 frame box is easier to work with cause it lowers bee space. Seemed like the 10 frames always had to much room for the bees to guard.

I want to experiment with aromatic Eastern Red Cedar But I’m afraid it may be too strong for even the bees.

I hope my explanations make since because I have very limited knowledge of wood or insects. I am just going by what God seems to be giving me.
Blessings, Mark


#4

Mark,

It was good to get n read your note ! Our January started with few days of extremely mild Wx but the remaining part of our month had scored us with way above moisture/rain.

My apiary is 6 hives … but I’d like to top out at 8 colonies. I’m trying to have one or two 5 frame Nuc’s around also to use as resources. Three of my hives are all Western Red Cedar n three are heavier pine boxes. Of those 3 are 8 frame n 3 are 10 frame. Because of my age n the weight I’m trying to move gradually toward all eight frame equipment deeps with shallow top honey supers or Flow-Supers … i have 2 Flow-super already (a 6 n a 7 frame one.

Interesting about the lime. We use to use lime in the garden n down the old outhouse to keep the smell n Bugs down. I wonder if I could get lime n just add to the bottom board slider. I have hens that dig around the base of my hives so guessing it’s not wise to spread lime under mine. Still interesting thot.

Well, got stuff to do n chores so I’ll
say good bye :wave: for now.

Cheers,
Gerald


#5

Gerald,
I completely agree with your wanting to go with eight frames. Didn’t take me long to figure out l wanted 8 frame mediums. I do not even lift them, I just find them easier to work with the bees in, less bee space.

I hope they start making medium frame Flow supers soon.

As far as putting lime around where the chickens eat, I don’t think you’d have any problem. I have lime in all three of stalls and paddock. One of the stalls contain my chicken coup.

They dust in the lime to keep mites lice and other nuisance bugs in check. They even help you by cleaning up some of the dead honey bees
Blessings


#6

Looking good Mark!
I have some eastern cedar hives and some western cedar. The bees do fine in either.

I’m making masonry hives that I’ll populate this Spring (brick mason here). They’ll be 5 and some 8 frame deeps and the entrance will either be a cored brick turned on its side or a missing mortar joint. I’ll do slate or bluestone for the tops. They’ll be permanent fixtures placed randomly throughout my forest.


#7

Looking pretty wet there Gerald :sneezing_face::cloud_with_rain:

Hopefully, you get a :rainbow: soon :slight_smile:

Did you see this post - which used lime as trap in the bottom board:


#8

Faroe,

Thankz young lady ! No ! I think that note came into the Forum while my Password problems happened… I appreciate you find n forwarding it to me.

Poor rain again this evening ! We can get a lot of wet stuff here during the winter n Spring. Just seems we’re ahead this 3017-18 season.

Got to go now … I operate the sound system for our church … been doing this for over 40 yrs now.

. I keep Dawn up on my progress too. She’s been a great help n encourager !

Off to practice now,

Gerald

Just for info … I’m beginning Prostrate cancer investigation n the images have a couple abnormalities. Thus far I don’t feel tired or unhealthy. It does give you a mental buzz n rush. I’m guessing things will be okay. Several local beekeepers have volunteered to help with my apiary if I need it. ( us beekeepers have to help one another ). Not too many neighbors will volenteer im sure :smiley::smiley::smiley:


#9

Chili,
I would like to see the brick hives when you get them up! Sounds interesting. Blessings, Mark


#10

Gerald,
Prayers, blessings. Mark


#11

Sorry to hear that Gerald.
I guess the good thing is catching it hopefully in the early stages. Nice to see you smiling through it all :slight_smile: I am sending some love and light your way :sparkling_heart:
:honeybee: :sunny:


#12

Best of luck with your treatment :+1:


#13

Jerry is an unsung hero in a large number of ways. The world would be a better place if more people behaved the way he does. :heart_eyes:


#14

#15

Hi Mark, what time of year was this filmed? Seems a good lot of activity.


#16

Information was sent with videos but for some reason wasn’t included.
(Think I may have found why. Original information claimed 2008 and commercial Flow Hives didn’t exist till Fall 2014)(1 was 0)

Should have been 3 videos, attempted again.

15 February 2018 about noon mid 60s* F cloudy/occasional rain. Another winter under the belt in SouthEastern, Indiana.

Today, Saturday 17 Feburary 2018 32*F snowing.

No sugar/candy, no pollen patties, no treatments, inspect/study at entrance and windows (had front and left added). Screened bottom board on lime, once assembled don’t bother. All three Flow Hives came from one queen.

Doesn’t make me too popular with established beekeepers. Have been using this method since Spring 2014. Started in 2013 with two double stack 10 frame hives and lost both to SHB using conventional methods, both went into winter in very good condition.
One very good one very very good

Once again man is getting too involved and in this case his greed is killing bees.