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We've assembled our first Flow Hive!

We’ll be posting updates as things progress here.

This is the first hive the 2nd is on the way, the bee nucs should be ready in the coming few weeks.

My wife is standing next to the completed hive.

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You have the super on back to front, the end of the super you extract the honey from should be at the opposite end of the hive to the entrance. You have done a good job in assembling the hive.
Cheers

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D’oh!

Thanks Peter, we will ensure its on correctly when the nucs come.

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Hiya Phoenix, welcome! Good catch from Peter, but also please note that you won’t be putting the super on your new colony right away, and maybe not at all in the first season - the bees will need most or all of that time to build to full capacity before they can store extra honey in a super.

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Yes Eva I’m aware, thanks for the reminder.

I’ve actually built a set of notes, let me know if I’ve missed something important.

Generally you want brood in the middle, pollen and honey in the outside frames.
Remember to keep the hive leveled.

3 Types of Bees:

1 Queen (Biggest one)
Some Drones (Round eyes no stinger)
Many Workers (smaller eyes with stinger)

5 Ways to Obtain:

  1. Nuc or Nucleus is an existing colony of bees in a few frames that is ready to be transfered into brood box as is.
    When installing a nucleus:

    1. Close all the vents (flow hive its a direction up or down) so the bees aren’t confusing them for entrances, and place the nuc box where the flow hive is intended to be. Including the screened bottom.
    2. Its best to let the nuc sit for a few hours for the bees to orient themselves to the area before
      transplanting, if you are going to leave them for days then make certain they are in the shade.
    3. Move the nuc in a parallel fashion away from the spot the flow hive is going to, then move the flow hive and broodbox to the original spot.
    4. When moving frames respect the original order they were in.
      First lossen the frames with the J tool, and cut any obvious adjoining comb.
      Remember to use the smoker to clear an area for your hands.
      Shake the nuc into the brood box to transfer the majority of the remaining bees.
    5. Leave the nuc next to the brood box for the remaining bees to migrate into the new hive.
    6. Put the lid on, and wait for the combs to be fully built, then its ready for the super to be put on top.
  2. Split, or removing some of the frames out of an existing large hive and putting them into another one.
    In this case you would need to buy another queen, or if they are a very strong hive with lots of resources,
    they will raise their own queen.
    When splitting a colony:

    1. Bees basically GPS to their home, so you need to put the new hive into the old hive location and
      put them very close to each other so they return to both hives.
    2. In order for bees to raise their own queen there needs to be bee eggs that look like rice or very young larvea, under 3 days old (look like a crescent moon). Ensure to transfer half of these into the new hive if you’re not buying a queen.
    3. Generally you want to split a hive only when there are plenty of resources.
      Ensure to put the new queen if purchased, into the hiveless queen atleast 8 hours after. Put the container slightly upwards facing.
    4. If its shortly before winter but the split colony hasn’t grown then you will need to either re-merge the hives or buy a queen.
  3. Swarm, or catch an existing natural bee colony in the wild/or one that has split off from a nearby hive.
    This is done by shaking a hive on a tree and holding the brood box
    underneath.

    1. Put the stand and the brood box under the swarm, be sure to close the vents.
    2. Take out a few of the brood frames so there is space for them to fall into the box.
    3. Take the branch and bring it gently very close to brood box and then shake the bees in.
    4. Snip off the branch that the bees were previously on.
    5. Put the frames back in and fix the spacing or the bees wont hang their comb properly.
  4. Package or a ventilated box of around 10K bees mailed with a mated queen.

    1. Block the screen door under the brood box so that the bees dont get confused.
    2. Block the hole ontop of the brood box so that they don’t try to build comb from the roof down.
    3. Use protective gear.
    4. Temporarily remove the middle frames.
    5. Put the Queen on the bottom if its warm, otherwise release the Queen into the box.
    6. Leave the Queen in the container if possible, you may need to release her a few days after if she doesn’t eat through the candy blocking her exit on her own.
    7. Move the package ontop of the brood box and start cutting the screen.
    8. Smack the box to transfer the bees and put aside the package.
    9. Squeeze the frames tight together so they wont try to build comb in-between the frames.
    10. Brush the bees off with a flick motion and a brush/smoker.
    11. You may have to feed the bees depending on if there are flowers available or not.
    12. Put the lid on.
  5. Bait, where you setup an empty box with a scent to attract existing bees to your hive.

    1. Bees tend to swarm during times when there is a heavy nectar flow, usually during spring and summer.
    2. Choose an area that has water, plenty of flowers and not much human activity. You can increase your chances of catching a swarm by setting multiple bait hives.
    3. Add the scented lure and leave it there for atleast a week after the bees have moved into your hive(s).
    4. Observe from a distance!
  6. Keep entrance away from people

  7. Avoid shining light on the hive at night or the bees may become active.

  8. Keep the hive on higher ground/on a stand to avoid land predators from eating the bees.

  9. Remember to Register your hive with your local jurisdiction

  10. When new frames to existing ones, it is better to interspace them

  11. Can use a thin stick of wood inside the frame as a comb-guide.

  12. Watch the progress in foundation-less frames to ensure it is straight and not too wavy, use the tool
    to adjust the comb to keep them building straight. Otherwise you will have trouble removing the frames.

  13. Lift frames loosely to avoid breaking the honeycomb, when rotating remember gravity rotate along the frame,
    not perpendicular to it.