A common beginner question is what kind of bee should I use with my Flow Hive?
The general answer is Apis mellifera, AKA Western/European honey bee, the most commonly used bee in the world, loved by humans for thousands of years for their incredible honey production and pollination abilities, plus additional production qualities such as wax, propolis, pollen, the list goes on.
Within the Apis mellifera species, there are 31 different subspecies (e.g. Carniolan, Caucasian, Buckfast etc.) available across the globe that demonstrate unique characteristics and behaviours influenced by their evolutionary path (e.g. they’ve adapted to the local climate) or domestication (e.g. bred for docility, honey production). It’s not necessary to get too caught up in this as most bees are a blend of multiple races as honey bees are difficult to domesticate due to the queen’s mating method. I do advise though to familiarise yourself with the Africanised honey bee if you’re located in North, Central or South America.
Flow is also being successfully used with Apis cerana (Asian honey bee), the only other domesticated honey bee species in the world. In particular, Flow developed shorter Flow Frames suited for the Japanese honey bee (Apis cerana japonica) that are traditionally kept in smaller log hives. See here for more information - Research & Development – Flow Hive US
To avoid confusing the new beekeeper, my best recommendation for sourcing the ‘right’ bees for your Flow Hive is to simply speak to your local and experienced beekeepers about what honey bee is most commonly used in your particular location. Reach out through your local beekeeping associations, clubs, mentors, bee breeders, suppliers, or online connections (forum).
If you’re worried that your local bees won’t be suitable for Flow Frames, keep in mind that if the bees are amenable to being maintained in a removable frame hive, such as Langstroth, they can be expected to be fine with Flow Frames.
I’d love to take this opportunity to ask beekeepers in different locations around the world to tell the forum what species of honey bee they’re using (Apis mellifera or Apis cerana) and subspecies (if you know it). Perhaps you have a favourite subspecies for your particular location that you could share for others located near you, or you live in a rural location where you believe to be the only Flow Hive beekeeper.