Newbie to beekeeping and the flow hives

Hi from Otago New Zealand. I have put through an order for my first flow hive and extremely excited. I have absolutely no experience but have been reading as much as I can.

My first question that hopefully more experienced people can help me with…I have been looking at the cost of a Nuc and extra frames and boxes etc. In my search I have found a great buy in my local area of 3 established hives for sale that include 3boxes each with 1 brood box and frames, bases and queen excluder. They have been checked over by local DEC inspector apparently and confirms there are no diseases or pests. It’s the middle of summer here in nz and not sure but perhaps have missed my chance to find swarm. Am I taking on to much at once or should I go for it? He will even deliver them for me although he doesn’t know I’m inexperienced yet!

Depends on how much time you have for beekeeping. Rather than type it all out again, here is what I wrote to somebody else with a similar question. Just multiply all of the hours by 3 if you are going to take on 3 hives:

I think 2 hives is ideal to start with. Three strong hives is going to be demanding, but will give you a very good start with plenty of resources if one hive swarms or gets weakened for some other reason.

I presume he is selling them because he needs to give up beekeeping. You may be able to persuade him to mentor you for a short time, while you learn about beekeeping. Especially if you offer him some “compensation” for his time. :blush: My nucleus supplier offers training for beginners consisting of three visits with one to one training on your own hives for $165, just to give you an idea. I know you are NZ, and I am US, but I am sure you can work out something if you feel like it would help. I highly recommend it.

Let us know how it goes! :wink:



Dawn has given you a good load of advice. Getting some extra local advice is not only wise but a must to keep you moving ahead.

Beekeeping does take time but so worth the effort n time. Don’t know you personal but you have at least started reading n found this beekeeping forum. You will find some up n downs like any endeavor but don’t pain ! We all have those times n events.

I started beekeeping this last Spring after being away from the hobby for 55 years. Lots have changed so kind of like semi- new so I took classes, found a mentor or two (others to bounce ideas n questions off)… Get the terms down (vocabulary) learned so when your chatting n asking for advise your on the same page. Take it slow but learn a bit by bit so you can absorb your new interest.

. This be my hives n me ! Cheers bro ! :tada::honeybee::tada:

Good luck n enjoy,

Thanks for your comment Gerald, I missed out on those hives as lost my nerve. Will be getting my flow hive arriving soon but think i may have missed out doing anything with it until next spring. It’s mid summer here now in kiwiland .

Thanks dawn for your feedback. Some great advice. I missed out on the hives and lost my nerve anyway. May have to wait until next spring to establish a new hive as it’s mid summer here. From what I’ve read it might be to late to get a strong hive established for winter is that right? It gets below zero in winter here and shortest day in June.

It depends on what you are starting with, and what your nectar flow is normally like for the rest of the summer. But in general, you are correct. In the northern hemisphere, the best months to start a new colony are March or April, so that the bees have the full nectar flow season to build up their stores and population. For you, I guess that would translate to September/October.

If your winters are that cold, you will definitely need plenty of stores for your bees and perhaps even 3 brood boxes, so plan on buying the extras before you need them! :blush:

I suppose the good thing is that you now have plenty of time to read about bees, and perhaps do a beekeeping course. There is nothing like hands-on experience for building your confidence and knowledge. I would recommend that you join a local club too - they won’t mind if you don’t have bees yet, and local knowledge is incredibly valuable. They may even let you watch them inspecting their hives etc. The Flow hive will work exactly the same way as a traditional hive. All the same inspections etc. It is only the honey extraction which is different.

Good luck, and thank you for the update! :wink:

Hey Kiwi,

No sweat !

Your still moving ahead. Life moves on n other opportunities as well. This gives you some time n not the end of the bee world ! :wink::+1:. You’ll enjoy your Flow-hive n have a bit more time to learn without crowding your life n schedule. When you get your setup up n running … Post a few pix’s n comments Bro.

Our winter 2917 seems to be at least 2 or more weeks behind near Seattle. Gives me a bit more breathing time. I’ve got to built two more 8 frame hive setups n couple 5 frame Nuc set ups too. The longer cooler Wx will give me that slack ! :ok_hand: Mtn Rsinier yesterday morning with cloud cap indicating incoming Wx change. (rain :umbrella:)…

Good luck n keep on moving ahead,

Ta Ta,

Ok funnily enough my children today found a bees nest in a tree trunk 30 odd metres from the house. Firstly is it normal to see a queen or two on the outer edge of the stump as the other bees fly in fly out? Can anyone direct me on where to go on how to approach gathering up this swarm from a tree trunk. If I’m correct in thinking the queen is on outside is should be relatively easy right? But if not definately need some guidance? Thanks

Sounds like swarm preparations to me - I would guess that the tree has a well-established colony in it.

If you have a frame to spare, you could try @JeffH’s trick of placing a frame of uncapped brood by the hole, and see if the queen and her retinue take to it. If so, put it in a nucleus box and let the rest of the colony follow. If it is a swarm preparing, you might get the bees who have decided to leave. If not, and the colony is well-established, they will probably mostly ignore your frame of brood and you will need to return it to the donor hive as fast as possible so that it doesn’t chill.