The beekeeper who gave me the hives, is ceasing due to risks of anaphylactic shock from stings; his sister travels up from Rome every weekend to do the work. He gives his sister the credit for the neat combs.
Went to collect two nucs, beekeeper kindly gifted me two full beehives - more than I bargained for. Question is how to integrate with Honeyflow
@Dawn_sd Hi Dawn, I’ve decided to go straight ahead with the Honeyflow super, and will add this tomorrow morning.
Thanks for the info, please let us know how it all goes. Thank you!
Hi @Dawn_SD Obviously, I am as always grateful for advice and your interest as well as the interest of others on this forum regarding the bees.
I looked yesterday with a local beekeeping friend, and felt that it was worth the risk to place the Flow above the Italian brood box. Why? The bees looked ready, I saw both Queens, the drones and workers and many drone cells and even a new Queen cell.
The work is less carpentry, and more wood butchery of a door frame, but it exactly fits the space and is substantially thick enough for the stainless steel screws I used.
I’ll look again around lunchtime (through the observation window) to see how the ladies like their new Australian homestead.
This is very exciting, and there is so much yet for me to understand.
Just checking that you have a queen excluder under that flow super. Certainly don’t want her ladyship laying eggs up there!
Of the most Royal of excluders… absolutely Rob.
Hello there John,
you might want to consider improving your flow hive roofs by unscrewing the roof boards- and putting a layer of alluminum flashing over the A frame of the roof- then screwign the shings back on.
also the piece of wood you used to fit cover the edge of the box- it looks like rainwater might run/be directed into the brood box after pooling in that channel? If possible it would be good to have a slanted triangular piece of wood instead to shed the water off the side of the hive? Do you get much rain where the hives are located?
Anyhow- all’s good- given how good looking the brood pattern is on those frames I am guessing the bees will be all up in the flow boxes in no time at all.
Thanks @semaphore brilliant idea to place tin below the roof shingle. The roof is the weakest point of this lovely design by Honeyflow. I had been planning on making a brand new roof to place over this one, but placing tin underneath is so much smarter.
Given our cold winters, it could even have insulation placed inside the tin.
@semaphore agree also with chamfered wood battens for side filler of Italian hive. Race against time as I had to get it done this morning due to work commitments for the next week.
Summer should be kind, but forecast is for very dry June - after first few days. This will give me space to have time to build new roof to suit distinctive seasons here.
Nicely done @JohnT. I am very glad that you are having fun with your bees and adapting Italian hives to fit the Flow system. Exciting journey and now you can advise others on how to do this!
If your bees are not interested in the plastic frames by next week, I would suggest taking some burr comb during an inspection, and smearing it gently onto the plastic comb face with your hive tool, like buttering toast. That helped my bees to accept the Flow frames and start using them. Just a few well-spaced blobs made the plastic smell more like home.
Yep, just a bit of burr comb from their own hive got them up there for me, every time. No need melting and rolling and spraying, really.
@Dawn_SD I left some burr comb below the roof and above the wooden separator with the ventilation circle in the middle; thinking that the bees would be attracted by the scent.
Time will tell.
Please let us know - spill the beans!
To me looks like there’s a metal mouse guard entrance reducer on your hive entrance? Might want to remove it to give your ladies more room to come and go? I usually only have mine on in the winter. But maybe it’s common there to leave it year round?
@Jenna_Williams Jenna, it’s a permanent feature and prevents hornets nesting in the hive. Also stops field mice getting in.
On 28 May, I transferred an Italian beehive to our home.
On 31 May, I added the Honeyflow super to the italian broodbox.
Today, 7 June, I opened the viewing panel to have a peek, and I could see bees wandering around, not many but then this is seven days after adding the Super, so it’s a reality progress photo.
I realised that the Italian box does not get built with a slight incline, and has been placed by me in a horizontal position, so I’ll have to come up with something to create the slope when I’m drawing off the honey. Perhaps I can use wooden folding wedges?
I’m assuming that I’ll need the incline to encourage the honey to flow into the pipe and subsequently the collecting jar.
OK, please forgive the cut and paste, but I think have typed this twice today already…
If your bees are not in Flow super, you need 2 things - enough bees and making the plastic frames smell of home. The comments below address both of those:
Only put the Flow super on when all of the following rules are true:
Every frame is mostly filled with fully drawn comb, and
The comb is 80% full of brood, honey or pollen, and
Every frame is well-covered with bees.
The reason is that you need enough bees to defend (from SHB, wasps and wax moths) and use the new space. When the above three items are all true, you have enough bees.
To get the bees to use the Flow super more readily, there are a few tricks. I took 1-2cm blobs of burr comb from an inspection on my hive tool, and just pressed and smeared sideways gently onto the frame faces at about 10cm intervals. You don’t need to cover the whole frame, just put enough on to make it smell like the hive. Each frame face ended up with about 12 blobs of smushed wax pressed into it. The bees cleaned it all up within a day or two. You can also paint melted bees wax onto the frames, and there are several other tricks too, which you can search for using the magnifying glass tool at the upper right of the forum window.
Like she said
Also worth looking at :
Hi @Dawn_SD ,
Thanks for advice.
I opened up the hive today, and did as you suggested by placing burr comb on the cells at regular intervals. The bees had been working but in sparse numbers. They seemed to have done some filling in / sealing of the base of the flow cells. Let’s see what happens over the next couple of weeks now that the cells have been perfumed with burr comb.
I did the same as suggested by @Dawn_SD. It does work eh?
I didn’t have enough saved comb to do all frames. I had one that didn’t have smeared comb and noticed it had way less bees (almost none) on it. I also put one or 2 drops of lemongrass essential oil on my hands and rubbed the top of the flow frames with it. Idea was to get the bees up in the flow frames to coax them to use.
2 days later they are already drawing out comb on these frames with lots of honey