I am very new to beekeeping and this is my first bee hive. I started my flow hive system with 1 and half frame of bees with a queen along with one tray with some honey and one tray with some new born bees/about to be born condition, so about 4 trays and 4 were empty.
Since I am new, I have been watching and keeping an eye out every day spending about 30mins to an hour learning and observing. I started it on June 15th and its been about a month and I have been feeding them with sugar water so far but now all 8 trays seems like its full of bees.
Also just today morning I noticed that a good number of bees were on the flow frame side for the first time, so I am pretty exited as it seems like everything is progressing as expected.
However, upon inspecting the bees I have noticed that sometimes (3-4 times so far) a lot of bees are outside as if the swamp was either attacked by something or was disturbed somehow. So I was just wondering if this was/is quite a normal behavior or should I be worried and look into something?
I’m reluctant to give you much advice until I can figure (approximately) where you are. If your in most of the Northern Hemisphere … you’ll need a second deep 8 frame to help winter over your colony (not the Flow-Super)…
It sounds like your well past the 80% full level of your brood box. Yes ! It was/is time to add a Super but normally we don’t use the Flow-Super for over-wintering.
The bees as someone has written you referenced n notes could be bearding from heat or overcrowding. Have you inspected lately … if the hive gets too full bees can get a Swarm mentality ! Have you seen any queen cells. If not thing probably GOOD for now.
Firstly you should fill in your profile as to your location, this is a world wide forum and covers the extremes of climates so we are needing that bit of information to be able to give accurate advise.
You started off correctly calling the bee frames then you have switched to calling them trays. What you started out with is called a Nucleus or a Nuc for short.
Did you start on May 15th or 3 days ago on June 15th?
About the bees being outside, if they were on the sides, usually above the entrance of the hive and it is a very hot temperature then chances are they are bearding which is done to reduce the inside temperature of the hive.
If the bees are flying near the hive in large numbers it may be orientation flights of the young bees to learn to identify the hive and surrounding land marks.
Not knowing you local climate I won’t ask about your entrance size.
If your climate is a cold winter then you need to add another brood box but in moderate to warm climates there is no need for another brood box as the bees can forage through winter.
If your bees are angry then you need to work out why and rectify what is annoying them about the hive, otherwise you run the risk of them absconding.
But as I said you need to tell us more information to be able to really help you.
This is my third season with the Flow-Hive. First season: got to late to use (1st of July), last season would have been successful but our Wx turned very hot n dry thus my two Flow-hive colonies pulled the honey back down into the second super (survival winter food for them), this season looks good thus far here in Puget Sound SE of Seattle in the foothills. I have 2 deeps the girls are presently topping off n crossing my fingers that our one huge wild blackberry continues long n successful !
I have a total of 9 hives … The other 7 colonies I use conventional double deeps n top with shallow honey supers. Yet my girls are still filling the lower deep frames below which is very normal. So crossing my fingers for a good harvest late summer but also watching my Flow-supers too …
Thanks for the info; I did inspect the hive took the frames out only once so far in one month. I just figured since I had just a fresh 4 frame Nuc I didn’t want it to be disturbed, but I had it placed as bellow:
Frame 1 - Empty
Frame 2 - Filled with Honey
Frame 3 - Queen and Bees
Frame 4 - Filled with new Bees to be born
Frame 5 - Partially filled with bees
Frame 6 - Empty
Frame 7 - Empty
Frame 8 - Empty
Current Situation - all frames seem they are filled with bees now so the bottom brood box is pretty much full.
Just started to see the bees in the flow frames yesterday or day before yesterday.
You are correct, I did start it May 15th so its been about a month and a few days now.
But the temperature was very hot and the bees were mainly near the entrance but there were probably bearding like everyone is saying I think.
I will try to post some pictures, but I did manage to get a video of a honey bee trying to pull out a dead bumble bee from the flow frames and have noticed a few wasps hanging around which i manage to kill if I am observing at the time. but intention was to make sure the wasps don’t build a home inside my flow frames or the hive.
Also I will look for them when I re-inspect the bees, but don’t feel like disturbing them most of the time so any suggestion on how often should one disturb them for inspection?
Normally I dig into my hives (inspect) every couple weeks. A colony can really change radically in a 2 week lapse in the active season.
Once a month I do a varroa mite (Sugar Roll Test) … so far this season I’ve not had to think about treatments. Last year my mite counts rose very quickly n had to treat all my hives (had 6 hive in 2017). This year I have a total of 9 colonies ( three are 8 frame hives , four are 10 framers <one of these is the larger 7 Flow-super>, n two of my colonies are 5 frame Nuc’s that are 3 or 4 deep boxes high) … these hives keep me busy in my spare time.
I would strongly suggest some type of inspect every couple weeks to prevent the colonies getting ahead of you n having issues or swarming. During the winter months I pull out the SBBoard slider n check for issues that drop the the bottom telling me problems, position, n etc without really bothering them all nug in their ball. I do peek thru the top hole in the crown/inner cover for bees moving up n consuming the emergency winter patties as well.
So if you can I’d put that (do not bother thoughts) aside before it get you in trouble. The girls can get you in very real problem n you won’t be ready. I help in a Beekeeping class couple times a month. The head instructor, myself n student inspect all the classes 50 to 60 colonies twice a month during the active season.
Getting into your hives helps you learn about how they work, what’s happening, what they may need n when. Hope this helps you think about your bees n hives better. Bees getting creative or ahead of you can become overwhelming or/n discouraging very quick.
Hello Jonty, Glad to see you have filled out your profile, a lot of U.S. members name their states as Florida has a different climate to up in the north west, and it might be a way of meeting up with bee keepers in your locale.
Bees won’t let wasps and other enemy get a beach front in their hive so that will not be a problem. There is a small book called “Bee keeping for Dummies” which has a lot of good tips for beginners and well worth reading. As a new bee keeper you should look for a local bee group and join up, they have local advise and you can learn a lot from them on how is the best practice to manage your hive.
I do a basic inspection weekly just to lift the lid and check a few frames in the super. That will give you a lot of information, like the amount of stores in the hive, whether they are placid or a bit hot(angry) and the strength of the colony. If they are a bit angry then maybe there is something that requires your attention like another box for the brood or a honey super. Each second week I do a full inspection also checking the brood and for small hive beetle (SHB), and that the hive is going well. SHB are common in most hives and if there is only a few I squash them with my hive tool but the bees will also try to give them hell. If they get too much for the hive there are baits and traps that you can buy. Look for any queen cells, hives often have them made but not in use, so if you find one that is not sealed then look inside it.
A commercial bee keeper who mentored me said that a 15 minute inspection is all the time needed to get a mental picture about how the hive is going and to know what your next step will be, he also said that inspection will set the hive back a day so it is all about knowing your hive and letting the bees do what bees do. Look, listen and smell and you will never stop being amazed and learning.