I live in Virginia, USA, where we are enjoying a cool spring. I have 4 10 frame hives and have invested in a Full Flow Hive (6 deep frames) and a deep 8 frame box made to go with it.
My plan is to split an existing hive with a high probability that the queen will end up in the new 8 frame setup. I plan to use 3 mediums as my base with half of the frames coming from the old hive (brood, pollen, honey) and half new frames without foundation of any kind.
My thought is that I will add the Flow Hive super in two weeks when the flow is good and the bees have established themselves in their new hive.
I am thinking that I will leave the Flow Hive on for the winter, harvesting from the outside frames if there is sufficient honey down below to survive the winter or leaving it all for the bees this first year.
My question is this: Will the bees be able to manage a winter in this configuration (6 Flow Hive Frames on top of 3 medium supers)? Can I treat the flow hive just like any other super when it comes to honey storage (not harvesting)? Or will the bees hang out down below and not avail themselves to the honey in the Flow Frames?
Also is 3 medium frames a good configuration to start with? (half already full of brood, pollen and honey)
Some people talk about bringing the Flow Hive in for the winter. Is that necessary? Good?
I thought beekeeping was pretty challenging until the Flow Hive came along what with all the variables. Now it seems impossibly complicated (switching from 10 frame to 8, managing supers that get emptied instead of being harvested, etc.) I know this is supposed to simplify harvesting and I trust that it will but there are so many other aspects that are now needing consideration.