Never done this before, need beginning advice

Hello, I have never bee kept before but I’ve always been interested in doing it. I never thought there was a viable option until I saw this flow hive product, I also never liked the idea of smoking bees and stealing combs from them. I would be very interested in trying this product out, I’m just nervous about where I live. I live in Orland Park, a suburb of Chicago so our spring-summer months really
Only last like 3-5 months. The rest is a cold harsh winter in which I’d be concerned about my bees dying. Is it possible to keep a colony going in this product under these conditions? Also is there any advice you could give me about handling winters? I’ve already read up on various things I should do in order to ensure there survival, such as feed them various nectars and sugars. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Bees adapt to their surrounding climate. Think of places like Norway, Scotland, Russia. Plenty of beekeepers and wild bees.

Find a local club and mentor and just go for it, learn as much as you can and experience the wonder. You’ll never regret it.


Appreciate the help! Honestly the biggest thing will be convincing my mom, she doesn’t want bees pesting her while she’s outside on our patio but I’ll try!

Yous be surprised how unnoticeable they are. My hives are about 5 mtrs from my patio doors on my patio and they just do their own thing.


Looks like a nice spring rain you’ve got there, Dean!

@Zach yes you can keep bees in your climate, and like Dean says, they won’t bother your mom if you take care of some details like hive placement/entrance direction, requeening periodically & good swarm management.

Tons more to explain there…let us know what other questions you might have.


Dang you have a pretty sick set up going, I still have a lot to look into with swarm management and requeening so it’ll probably be another season before I get one. Might as well start researching it early though, thanks!

Guess a follow up question I would have is, do you have any reputable beekeeping classes or sources you could recommend to me? I definitely want to take a course either in person or online before I start and I feel like that could cover a lot of my concerns.

Just to the north of you across the Canada/US border is the University of Guelph…that has produced a series of invaluable Youtube videos just for guys like you…here’s a sample. Wish I had that resource when I was starting out…covers all aspects of beekeeping in a colder climate.


Flow in association with many organisations and individual feiled experts launched

It’s brilliant.

Fred Dunn on YouTube is also a good channel.

Flow have a Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Your local area will have associations and clubs and where I’d recommend you go/join. Local knowledge is priceless and help when you might need it.


Hello thanks again for the picture! I actually have a follow question for you, what size package of bee did you use to start your hive? Thanks again for the help!

Hi Zach,

I have a 6 frame FlowHive so 8 frame brood box.

5 frame nuc with mated queen was what I started with and 3 new foundationless frames with guide strips.

After transferring from nuc to brood box I fed them sugar syrup 1:1 ratio for several weeks to help them build out the foundationless frames.

Resisted adding the Flow super until the colony was in good strength and numbers and all new frames were fully drawn, plenty of brood, bee bread, capped honey stores.

I only harvested one frame from the Flow Super and left it on over winter to make sure the bees had enough stores and removed the queen excluder.

This is only my second year with a FlowHive do looking forward to seeing how they do and what kind of honey harvest I get.

With the lock down there is way more wild flowers than I’ve seen in the UK since I was a young child so I’m predicting a bumper season as the weather is reasonably good as well for early spring.

This is only my own personal experience but truely life changing. I’m a much calmer person, soo connected with nature and the environment again and getting fat eating way too much honey :joy:

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I have a standard Langstroth as well but lost the colony to the UK winter sadly. Lesson learned I should have moved some bees and brood from my strong FlowHive into the weaker colony but as sad as losing the bees was I’m more knowledgeable now and won’t make that mistake again.