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Setup to Harvest- How Long?


Depends on your location and season. The bees have to first build up in their brood box. It needs to be 80% full of bees. If two brood boxes are required in your climate, then wait until they have filled the second one, too. Then you can put your flow super on. It took my bees 6 weeks until I got ny first harvest. The frame was not yet completely full, however, but I didn’t want to wait anymore.

You may want to have a read through our Harvesting Honey FAQs on our website - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/p/22?tag=23
We also have a lot of FAQs for beginners here - http://www.honeyflow.com/faqs/p/22?tag=24

And here is our beginner beekeeping videos - http://www.honeyflow.com/gallery-videos/beginner-beekeeping-videos/p/192

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A quick answer is

Bees installed in box
45 days before installing 2nd brood box depending on your location
45 days after that install your flow frames
45 days after that likely harvest honey

from installing your bees in the box to harvest is about 120 days

If all goes perfectly

Realistic expectations:


“Can” or “Should” :wink:

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Marty-- I know we have spoken before and I appreciated your comments. I installed the colony and queen in the second week of April, put the flow on the 4th week of may and went to inspect the hive today and while there is alot of activity in the flow I am not seeing any honey being put in the cells. The outside cell with the viewing window is completely empty. Are we having a low flow season here in north texas?

I was told not to expect to harvest any money first year. I forced my harvest, Because I new there was enough honey in the brood box and I knew they would produce more for me to feed them to the winter. I only got about 1/2 of what I would be getting next year, Well that is I hope if we had a year like this one. Do you have 2 brood boxes?

You say North Texas? Where? If close I may be able to swing by and just look if you want me to.

there is no good answer, to when it’s just happens when it happens.

ok. well that makes sense. I live in arlington. I will wait patiently then as i know they are in there working their butts off! I have not put on a second brood box yet. is there a good time to do that? I only started with one and then learned a few months down the road that it would be better off on the colony if I added a second one ( which i will do).

I will post that as a separate question on the forum not sure if anyone else’s following this topic or not. Very good question I don’t know the answer.

But to help explain a little bit above now what I understand

You only have about 20,000/30,000 bees in your hive if they are really doing gangbusters. Having said that if you had a second rudebox you would have 60 to 80,000 bees and they would fill up the flow frames much quicker.

Where the flow frames were developed in Australia and in the South US, Very tropical climate having one brood box a lot of times is all that’s necessary. That’s why they sell it that way and you could be harvesting a lot of honey if we were in that climate but due to the nectar and pollen source and some of the heat and dryness around our area we do not have an nector/ pollen flow as they do in the south

If you open the brood box and it’s overflowing with bees, and your frames are covered with capped brood it’s a good time to expand with a second brood box. I don’t add a box just based on a certain time, always by ‘reading the brood’. It depends heavily on the rate the queen is laying at.

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This question just confirms my belief that the Flow Hive is for people who have no interest in bees but just want honey as soon as they can get it. They turn a bee hive into a vending machine.
Buy your honey from a super market, its even quicker

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Yes some folk are like that. There are a fair few experienced beekeepers who are trying one. Whether they keep at it is another question. I have one. It almost fell into my lap serendipitously but it is still in the box. There are others who have catapulted themselves into a hobby that is far from easy and they are trying their level best to acquire the necessary skills. There are others who just blindly crash about and post their experiences on YouTube as some sort of badge of honour. It happens in all pursuits but I’ve yet to see people boasting about losing sheep or cattle the way they do bees. The trick is to learn from other’s mistakes (and I suppose this forum goes somewhat towards addressing that) and to stand on giants’ shoulders.


I think there is definitely a subset of people with this line of thinking but I don’t think it’s new or unique to the flow hive. I have seen many people ask the same question about general beekeeping well before the flow hive was around. One of my early mentors always said ‘your first jar of honey will cost you $1000, that buys a lot of honey in the supermarket’ which would generally sort out who was serious enough to be in it for the long haul.

Much like traditional beekeeping too, you will find that many people after collecting/selling their first harvest of honey all of a sudden jump to the conclusion that they can run a commercial beekeeping operation at scale… once again, this isn’t unique to flow users.

I still think the question about time to extract honey is fair, and doesn’t necessarily mean that honey production is their primary motivation. I get asked this question by people hosting hives, and for many of them they aren’t really in it for the honey they are just wanting to better understand the process.


I don’t necessarily think that just because someone chooses the Flow Hive as their first hive has anything to do with lack of interest for the bees. I am a beginner and will be setting up a hive this spring. I have been considering the Flow Hive not because of the ease it provides, but through my research to this point it looks like, at least on the surface, it is less stressful for the bees. The local beekeeping association here in Indiana are offering classes next month and I will be taking the beginners class and will make my decision on a hive after the class.

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I really have trouble with the ‘less stressful on the bees’ idea for several reasons (not having a go at your comment specifically, but the rhetoric from Flow) , The primary issue being that the original video paints a grim picture for what is actually a fairly low impact activity (traditional extracting).

If you are actively managing the hive you will be opening it and pulling frames regularly, this is part of beekeeping. You don’t regularly squash large numbers of bees if you are careful and know what you are doing. Returning empty frames is no different to draining the frames, the bees still need to deal with broken caps/disrupted comb and the refilling. Lastly, determining if the honey in the Flow frames is ripe without opening the hive is difficult, so the likelihood of extracting unripe honey is high if you aren’t opening the hive and pulling the flow frames. This honey will taste great initially, but will ferment over time rendering it useless.

Hi Rickie, it’s great that you’re taking the class before making your decision as to what type of hive to buy. My advice would be to ask the folks at your local association what type of hive they recommend. When they give the answers, find out why & go from there. The best thing to do is to not go with your mind already made up.

RBK, what’s the rationale (logic) behind “the honey (from a flow hive) will taste great initially, but will ferment over time rendering it useless”. I’m yet to hear or read reports of ‘flow hive’ honey fermenting or becoming useless. Are you suggesting there’s some kind of bacterial process unique to Flow Hives that causes a difference in the pH, chemical composition, viscosity or shelf life of harvested ‘flow’ honey?

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The logic is the same for any unripe honey, if you harvest honey that isn’t capped/ripe it will ferment.

My statement is, that if you aren’t pulling the frames to confirm that they are fully capped, how do you know the honey is ready for harvest… by looking in the window at the end of the frame?

Nothing to do with bacteria or pH unique to Flow.