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Starting configuration


#1

Hi All! Last year, we ended the year with a good amount of honey. None of it from the flow hive. I think we may have added the flow hive box too late in the season… we are in Vermont, USA and we added them around the end of July. It turned out that the bees were happy to walk on them, but there was no interesting in actually using them, So, I think we are going to put them on earlier.

This is our third season of bee keeping. We have sadly lost our hives both winters. It is heartbreaking. But we shall try again. Even after following all the prep for the winter. I won’t bore you with the details.

So, from our dead hives, we have pulled out beautiful frames of both comb and capped honey. We filled our freezer with as much as it will hold, and we still have about 15 frames stored in a large Tupperware in our art studio. We are keeping them in the light, as we know that dark is what moths like.

We pick up our nukes in about a month. How should we arrange the hives? We will be taking the five frames from the nuke, and adding three frames our ours. We are assuming we should use the ones with the empty built up comb (?) not the caped honey.

Then, we want to give them the frames of capped honey instead of feeding them sugar water. What do you think of this idea? We can fill an 8 framer with those. then, we are thinking of putting on the flow hive right away. I am assuming we should use the queen excluder then the flow hive on top. This way there can be brood in the middle. or should we put the flow hive in the middle and improve the changes of them using it? So, community, we would appreciate some coaching here. Do you like the idea of our approach? Any advice would be most welcome. Thank you!


#2

I would inspect the nuclei before deciding. If they are short of food stores (e.g. only one frame of honey), I would give them an extra frame of capped honey. I would then arrange the frames in one deep box in this order:

H E N N N N E H

H = frame of Honey
E = Empty drawn comb
N = Nucleus frame with brood or pollen

If I understand what you are saying, you intend to take a 5-frame nucleus, and immediately expand it up to 3 deep boxes (2 below the QX and Flow super on top)? I definitely would not do that. The reason is that you only have 5 frames of bees to work and defend a hive with 24 frames of space in it. The bees may find it very hard to control robbing, pests and heat that much space.

I would start with one deep with the frame arrangement I described above. I would not add any more boxes until:
Every frame has fully drawn comb, and
The comb is 80% full of honey, pollen or brood, and
Every frame is well covered with bees.

When you add the second box, you need to wait for that to fit the same rules (all drawn, full and covered with bees), otherwise you are overloading the bees with work. I would only add the Flow super when you have 2 bursting brood boxes, otherwise the bees will probably just ignore it. For the second deep, you might want to leave some empty drawn comb in the middle too. That way the queen can expand the brood nest to provide all of the bees that your 3 box hive will eventually need. If you put on 8 full frames of honey, I would be concerned that the bees may feel “honey-bound” and develop a swarming urge.

Good luck with your new bees. :blush: