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Newbeeeee in Melbourne


Hi all!

I’m picking up an established hive this weekend and also have a nuc coming for my flow hive next weekend (I’ve read that starting with 2 hives is a good way to go - if one is struggling then it’s easier to correct if you have another handy). Can’t believe it’s finally happening after all the research, preparation and courses for the girls. What a wonderful world to be stepping into!

Couple of questions:

Summer seems to have lost it’s way to Melbourne - will I need to feed the girls sugar syrup? Would love to hear from other locals about your experiences & what you’re doing at the moment.

I’ve noticed the flow hive has a tilt built into it - will I also need to tilt the stand? And if so, what direction - some say forwards to let rain drain out the entrance, then others say back to harvest honey…

Also keen on your thoughts surrounding harvesting honey in the first year. Is it likely I’ll need to put on the flow super at all? I’ve heard some say it is best to leave the honey to the bees for their first year.
Will I need to build the hive to 2 brood boxes to over winter?

Looking forward to your thoughts :slight_smile:

Sharna x


Hi @Sharna_Holding,

  1. Even though Melbourne weather is very hit and miss you shouldn’t need to feed your bees, assuming they come with a couple of frames of honey/pollen. I’m not sure where exactly you live but Melbourne has plenty of things around that will provide pollen and nectar.

  2. The flow hive has a tilt built into to help the honey flow for extraction. Just build your frame flat and level and you will be fine. While I wouldn’t recommend it, if you really want to increase the tilt make sure the lower side is the side that you will extract the honey from.

  3. If rain is a concern of yours, and depending on hive positioning it could be, you are better of building a bigger cover to provide protection from the elements. My advice for when winter comes is to go to Bunnings and pick up aluminium flashing to fold over the roof of your flow hive. It is easy to bend by hand (wear work/thick gardening gloves for safety) and you can even extend it to provide a balcony to protect against the elements a little better.

  4. One important thing to note is that you want to consider a means to strap your roof down for windy days/nights and storms. I’ve got a simple ratchet strap I picked up from Bunnings that I’ve looped over my hive. It is easy to remove for inspection and holds everything together when the wind picks up.

  5. How are you protecting the external surface of your hive from the elements? You don’t need to do anything to the inner surfaces.

  6. Consider what you will do to protect against ants. Water trap? Vaseline?

  7. Summer has just started to arrive in WA…it will get to Melbourne soon…

  8. Have fun. And don’t hesitate to search the forum and ask questions.


The tilt is to assist the harvesting process. You don’t need to tilt any more or in any other direction - your stand should be level on the ground before you put the hive on it. The bees don’t mind the backward tilt, but they don’t like sideways tilts. As the Flow hive has a screened bottom board, you don’t need a forward tilt because any rain will drop out through the screen. If you ever switch to a solid bottom board if you may want to tilt forward if your climate is very wet. You will need to tilt backwards for harvesting, but the rest of the time the hive can tilt forward slightly. It is simple enough to change the tilt temporarily with a couple of furniture shims.

That will depend entirely on the strength of your colony and the nectar flow. If the year is very dry, you may not have a great nectar flow. If the flow is strong, your bees may have more than enough to share.

I like to use 2 brood boxes, especially with 8-frame hives. If you have a 10-frame box, you may not need 2 boxes as there is 25% more storage space in each box.

Please ask if you have any more questions.


As said[quote=“SnowflakeHoney, post:2, topic:9355”]
Bunnings and pick up aluminium flashing to fold over the roof of your flow hive. It is easy to bend by hand (wear work/thick gardening gloves for safety) and you can even extend it to provide a balcony to protect against the elements a little better.

I did exactly this. The FlowHive roof leaked. I have a 50mm overhang all way round no leaks. I am hoping natural oxidation comes soon as it can be blinding w2hen you catch the sun reflection.


They have some quite good paints for metal now, Mr @busso:wink:


Hi Sharna,
I think everyone has answered your questions. I am also in Melbourne and deal with the stupid changing conditions everyday.
One thing to remember…in beekeeping there are soooo many different opinions for any answer. For example…I like one brood box…As you get more acquainted with the bees and how they like to be kept in your location you’ll come up with your own theories and methods. If you can find a mentor or a club that has a positive view towards your FlowHive you will bee ahead of the game.

Good luck,



Yes I thought about that, but I’m into au naturel. :blush: