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Sharing flow super between hives


#1

We started spring with one overwintered hive, but as it has warmed up in Perth we have had our feral hives swarm and have now caught a further 3 large and one mini swarm. The large ones are filling up the brood box at a crazy rate and will need a super in the next week or so. The problem is we only have 2 sets of flow frames with one more on the way. I was wondering if there is any reason (apart from disease spread) to not use the same flow frames on multiple hives?

As these colonies are just starting out I want them to fill a standard super each to leave them with plenty of honey for winter. I was thinking we could put the flow super on some & standard supers on the others, then move the flows over when harvested once & give the other hives a standard super to build up their own stores. Do you think this will work? If they all fill a standard super quickly and are still going strong we could buy more flow frames this year, but I don’t want to buy more unless necessary. Alternatively we could store honey frames for splits next year. We do not want to harvest from standard frames as we don’t have and don’t want to purchase the equipment to do so.

Is anyone else trying to manage multiple hives with limited flow frames?

Cheers,

Julia


#2

Hi Julia, forgive me for not answering your specific questions because I don’t own any flow frames. Have you considered the cut comb or crush & strain method of harvesting honey? What you can do is place empty frames fitted with wax starter strips in between fully capped frames of honey. In a honey flow, the bees will build beautiful comb in those empty frames, ideal for cut comb or crush & strain.


#3

Listen to Jeff. I use the crush and strain method in my backyard hives because I don’t want to buy another extractor or even wire the frames. The beauty of crush and strain is you can take the ripe honey and leave the uncapped if you are pushed for space. All you need is a sharp knife.

Cheers
Rob.


#4

Thanks both, I will look into that method. The other thing I just noticed while checking out your suggestions was that honeycomb seems to be often sold as is, so we could always just make fresh new comb, cut it out and sell/ gift it. I guess I need to start thinking about more than just honey from our hives!

Cheers,

Julia


#5

If you are going to do comb honey you must have foundationless comb. Foundation is hard and coarse whereas foundationless is very fine and light.

Cheers
Rob.


#6

Hey Julia - here in the US there are much smaller supers available called shallow supers, which are about 6.5" high & a lot of people use to make comb honey. I’m sure you can get something like them where you are. There are also square plastic boxes sold just for packaging squares of comb honey from shallow frames. I just have the one Flow super myself, and if I’m lucky enough to be able to split my colony next spring I’d planned on using the shallow supers for comb honey. I’d go with little wide mouth jars to package it though :yum:

Here’s a fun video showing how simple it is :wink:


#7

Hi Julia, I think the spread of disease risk is the biggest reason. If you are handy with the jigsaw you could make some cutouts on a box for each hive and then have 2 or 3 flow frames on each hive.