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Possibly in need of troubleshooting


#1

To all of you in the know: a newbie in need of help.

A local beekeeper, who sticks to traditional ways anmd has no idea of flow hove, kindly helps me with my first flow hive.
This afternoon, he caught a swarm for me, but did put it into the honey room (he took two of the flow frames out and left the rest in there). See picture attached.
Setup is: brood box at bottom with frames wired and waxed, no queen excluder (he said to leave it out) and the honey box on top with 4 flow frames in there.

Am I facing trouble? I don’t think it is good if the bees start brooding in the flow frames…

Best
Bertram


#2

So let me repeat back and ask a few questions

The box were looking at in the photo has a new swarm in it? If that’s the case, I would highly suggest to do the following immediately.

  1. Remove the top box with the flow frames and it
  2. They need to fully build out the bottom box before putting the flow frames on
  3. The bees need to look like they’re busting at the seams before putting the top box on.
  4. The top box when you put it on needs to be reverse. The opening to the flow frames needs to be on the backside.
  5. Would also suggest raising it 4 to 6 inches minimum off the ground to allow the ventilation i.e. the screen bottom board to work well

#3

Depending on your area of the country, and I don’t know where you are exactly I’m in Dallas Texas, most run to brood boxes and one honey super/flow frames


#4

Then you are already a wise beekeeper. He has left you in a difficult situation.

If it was me, I would go back to the hive with a fully loaded and lit smoker. I would smoke the bees down as much as possible away from the Flow frames. I would the remove the Flow super and plastic frames, and shake any remaining bees on the plastic frames into the lower brood box. I would leave the Flow super off the hive, but put the inner cover and roof back on top of the brood box. Then in one week, I would look inside the hive again to see what is happening, and post photos here so that we can help you. :blush:


#5

Problem is: I am at the office now aqnd cannot leve before well after dark. Beekeeper is off looking after his won hives.
His suggestionw as: take dopwn the honey super in the morning, replace it with second brood box. The swarm was of considerable size, see pic attached.
Box was moved to get bees in box directly, normally it stands raiseda nd with the honey super facing in the right direction.

I am in Baden-Baden, southern germany, Europe.


#6

Wow, that is a humongous swarm! :smile: Congratulations!

I like the idea of your beekeeper. Most swarms will fit into one brood box fairly easily. However, you may have a monster swarm there. If the bees will not all fit into one box, add a second brood box. In your climate, you will probably do better with 2 brood boxes over winter in any case. Do you have a spare brood box?

If you don’t have a spare brood box, leave the Flow super on top, but put all 6 frames into it. Also, put the queen excluder below the Flow super - you really don’t want the queen to lay in the super, it makes a huge mess, and you have to clean it yourself. You can do it tomorrow, but do it soon. Swarms are wax-making fanatics! :smile:


#7

Just talked to my local beekeeper. He says the same: we will have to react before noon tomorrow. Idea is now: take down honey super, put on second brood box (got one ready). Then wait for them to settle and translocate the hice since the swarm is a srping-off of one of his hives in my garden. Once they start brooding there, we weill bring them back.

I trust the man, since he’s been beekeeping here for years on score and knows his bees and their knees. And since I’m a blushing rookie, I will occasionally panic once I hit a snag or two.

Thanks for your help, all! I will keep you posted.


#8

Sounds like you have a plan, and your local beekeeper is flexible which is good. Please keep us updated, this is fascinating. Thank you for the photos.


#9

Just to help out your local beekeeper understand the flow frames. I would suggest always referred to the flow frames as the honey super. That will help him and others understand how the system works. The flow frame boxes or no different than anything else they’ve ever touched if you keep that in mind that the flow frames are nothing more than a honey super.

When talking to my mentor which also knows nothing about the flow frames, he’s thinking it’s the entire process i.e. the brood box the honey super and the screen bottom board landing strip. The only thing different again is the honey super.

The swarm looked large, but I think it could all go into one box. You don’t want to give them too much space. I know that sounds counterintuitive, they will create more come and be more productive if they are tight on space and that is all relative, to appoint.


#10

Thanks, Marty, that’s sound advice.
I think his so far grasped the difference between classical beekeepery and the flow hiove system, and he agrees that we would not want to have the bees nest in the flow frames. A bit of wax is imho acceptable, they will wax them anyhow before they fill them with honey.

As for box size: he is not used to Langstroth, since it is not very common in Germany, here they mostly use German Norm, which is 337x223mm or the local traditional 240x420mm. SOme of them use Dadant, but Langstroth is, well, known, but rarely used.


#11

Job done, or as Harry Potter would say: “mischieve managed”.

When I opened the hive this morning, the flow frames were brimful with bees; they even started building cells on the ceiling! After plentiful appliance of smoke, much knowledge (my beekeeper’s) and a pair of not too helpful hands (mine) we put in a second brood box full of frames, queen excluder and honey super on top. Initially, I did not want to put on the honey super, but the beekeeper expressively told me to, since there are some big old acacias going into bloom no 30 yards from the hive, he expects a full load.
We will see.

So far, the queen is somewhere in the brood boxes (the honey super is void of bees), and once the swarm has fully settled, we will put the hive in a suitable place with enough air circulation underneath.

So far, all looks thumbs up, and even beekeeping JRT Bouncer seems to be quite content.

Thanks for all your help and advice, I will keep you posted!


#12

Very nicely done! That is an incredibly impressive swarm. Your beekeeper deserves a nice bottle of wine for sending it your way. Please keep us updated, this is very exciting stuff. :blush:


#13

Let’s put it that way: the swarm WAS impressive. Yesterday there was very little movement at the flight hole; I thought this was due to massive building activity. Today: same pictures, and when I opened the hive, it was totally and utterly empty. I counted a total of twelve (in numbers 12) bees. So: bye bye bee. Will have to start anew.

I have a slight feeling that a) either the queen got killed or b) massively disgruntled when we were driving the swarm out of the honey super.


#14

Aww, so sorry. Swarms can be like that sometimes, even if you do everything right. The best way I have found to encourage a swarm to stay in a hive is to steal a frame of open brood from another hive and put it into the swarm hive box. Of course if the swarm is your first hive of bees, you won’t have that option, so I am sorry that they decided to move on. :cry: