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Recommendations on initial setup for Flow Hive 2, Texas, USA


#1

Hello there all!

We are new beekeepers in the East Texas area. We’ve pre-ordered our first Flow Hive 2 - scheduled for delivery sometime in May. We’ve purchased other essential equipment, joined a local beekeeper club, reading two books on beekeeping and watched many related videos. We live in the country and on a 6-acre property with a large garden and over 100 fruit trees & berry plants.

We are anxious to get started in beekeeping. Spring is in full swing in our zone (8b) and it just seems like the best time to get a hive set up. I’m afraid if I wait until the Flow Hive 2 arrives in May that I may not get set up until June. I am considering either purchasing a traditional Langstroth hive and bees now or purchasing a Flow Hive 1 and bees now. When the Flow Hive 2 arrives I could use it for expansion or a second set of bees. We plan to be in beekeeping for the long haul so I think 2 hives would be a good start.

Does anyone have recommendations on this plan? Is starting in June too late? If so would you recommend a Langstroth or Flow Hive 1? I would rather not have to deal with separate honey extraction equipment so I’m leaning toward the Flow Hive 1. Can you move bees from a Langstroth to a Flow Hive? Any advice would be welcome!


#2

June is pretty late in most of the US, even Texas. What you need to know is how many brood boxes do your local beekeepers use to overwinter their hives. I know you told me the climate zone, but that doesn’t always equate with nectar flow, so their local knowledge is vital. If you have a long winter dearth (often goes with dry summers), you may need two brood boxes. In that case, you are in no danger of needing to harvest in your first year, and you can purchase a regular Langstroth, while waiting for your Flow hive to arrive. :blush:


#3

As Dawn said ,it is important you know when the main nectar flows are and when the dearth times are as these may not fit exactly with the seasons in other areas. These times govern your management of the hive.

If you make a start with a Langstroth hive make sure it equates to the size of the Flow hive.
For example you could start a hive with a single 8 frame Langstroth hive on which a 6 frame Flow hive can integrate. Meaning you can plonk the flow hive brood and Flow super straight on top of the 8 frame Lang.
A 10 frame Lang equates to a 7 flow frame box.
Just remember there is nothing different in keeping bees in a Flow hive only the extraction is different.
Suggest you spend a few hours mulling through the posts in this forum starting with Beekeeping Basics, General Beekeeping Chat and Flow Hive.
Welecome to the Forum


#4

Yep two hives is a good policy. Although that may just grow to 4 to 8 to 16 to some number to high.

Any Lang super is compatible with the flow super. If you can you could buy two supers (plus bottom board and roof) and install your nucs now. Then when your Flow Hive 2 arrives you could transfer one into the brood box of that once you have assembled and ‘painted.’ The other one you can then just buy a flow super or hybrid super to place on top when ready.

I’m sure you’ll have fun. Look forward to hearing about your journey.

Adam


#5

Not quite. An 8 frame lang goes with a 6 frame Flow and a 10 frame lang goes with a 7 frame Flow


#6

Thank you all for the very helpful replies. I will be taking a local beekeeping class soon and will find out about the nectar flow and dearth times. I am aware that we need a full education on beekeeping and the flow is only for honey collection.

I plan to buy a traditional Langstroth hive (or 2!). I’ve read that there isn’t really a standard size for these types of hives. Is there a manufacturer you would recommend that builds a super that fits well with the flow hive? Or would any of them work?


#7

Langstroth hives come in 2 sizes, eight frame and 10 frame. You need to make sure that you purchase the correct size to fit with your Flow hive, as others have said.

The sizes are pretty standard, but actually there is allowed to be some variability. I have parts from various manufacturers, and the hive bodies sometimes vary by about 1/4" between one manufacturer and another. Frames are usually pretty consistent, so you don’t need to worry about those. All I do, is just center one box over the one below, if there is a little step or overhang, it hardly shows and they are still sealed.

The only thing you might have problems with is matching the wood. If you are buying a cedar Flow hive, cedar is pretty rare in the US, and I have never seen the laser cuts on cedar here which Flow is now using. If you are painting the wood anyway (or you don’t care about matching the colors), it won’t matter what wood you choose for your extra hives.


#8

Dave, if your going with the All Cedar look of the Flow-hive … you might check out “ Bee Built.com “ out of Oregon. You can still get CNC cut hives in cedar from them. They carry both 8 n 10 frame wide boxes … the 8 deep would probably fit your coming equipment the best. At least give it a look :eyes:… A new owner took over “Bee Thinking” n seems to be bringing this company out of its troubled past.

Just a thought,
Gerald


#9

@proximo I agree, the standard 6 frame flow hive will go with this no problem.


#10

Hi David,

If you want to get started now, you can purchase a Flow Hive Classic as you mentioned, or you can buy a brood box(8 standard frames to match 6 Flow Frames), roof and bottom board.
The brood box will match up with the Flow Hive 2, there is just a couple of millimetres difference, hardly visible.
This will allow you to have your brood box going, and you can either use this as a second brood box later or have it as a spare later for splits and swarms.

You can buy the equipment from any supplier in Langstroth 8 size if you would like to match the Flow Hive 2, or you can email customer support to order a matching brood box, bottom board and roof(when in stock). Just include your order number or the email address you used when you ordered).
https://www.honeyflow.com/contact/p/3
:slight_smile:


Starting new hives
#11

Faroe,

Didn’t know you were offering single brood boxes … Most of us in US, Canda n Europe use double derps or triple medium boxes. I use double deeps as it’s much easier to add a new Nuc of bees.

Thanks for the heads up,
Gerald ,


#12

Hi Gerald,

Yes, we’ve had spare brood boxes for sale for a while now - sorry you didn’t know before :frowning:
We have them available in Cedar and Araucaria.
The Araucaria is available with 8 or 10 frames to match the Araucaria Flow Hives :slight_smile:
:honeybee:


#13

Wanted to give an update here.

I went through a “bee school” put on by our local bee club. Purchased 6 hives and just installed my nucs 3 days ago. Everything is going great and we’re really excited to be into beekeeping!

I just received my Flow Hive 2 today! Very impressed so far. Could I just swap the Flow Hive brood box with one of my Langstroth boxes? Removing the frames from the old box and transferring them to the Flow Hive? Would that bother the bees too much?

Or should I just wait and place the Flow Hive brood box on top of my existing brood box? And then the Flow Super when it’s time? I don’t want to interfere with the bees orientation or getting settled into their new box.


#14

you can just swap the frames over with no problem. But you want to be positioning the flow hive exactly where the other hive was. Otherwise bees that are out and about will be confused and lost when they return. So you would pick up that hive- move it to the side- and place the flow brood box and base in that position. Then with the donor hive right alongside start moving the frames carefully into the flow brood placing them in the same positions as they were in the original hive taking care that you don’t drop the queen onto the ground (though this is not much of a risk as she will likely cling to whatever frame she is on- just be aware)…

At the end there will likely be some bees in the empty original box running around- take that box and give it a sharp shake over the flow brood so most of those bees fall down onto the frames. Then place that box on it side right beside the hive so any remaining bees can walk up into the new hive. Done! Assuming your entrance is in the same position as the original hives- returning foragers will fly straight in none the wiser.