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When and how much to ventilate my hive

I have had a flow hive for a few months now, and I live In England, it is 31 degrees Celcius today so I took out the white catcher thing and the ventilation thing with the holes at the bottom. is this a good idea, I just didn’t want them to overheat, if I realise it is not a good idea I will go and put it back. any sign they don’t like it? or any signs they do like it?
Thank you

Hi Hugo, welcome to the group. Your description of “white catcher thing and the ventilation thing with holes at the bottom” is a puzzler for me to understand what you are talking about to give you effective advice. I have several flow hives and the only thing that is white with holes in mine that I can think of is the queen excluder flat plastic that sits between the brood box and the flow hive honey super. You need that on to prevent the queen from moving upstairs and laying eggs in the flow hive super system. Other than that plastic part I’m at a loss at what you are talking about. Pictures are always very helpful when you aren’t sure of what you are looking at.

As for overheating, the bees do a fantastic job of regulating their temps inside-- take a photo of the front entrance area of your hive so we can see what the bees are doing. If you have super heavy amounts of bees all on the front of the hive from roof to landing board and hanging off each other then I would say you have a ventilation issue. I don’t use entrance reducers in this temperature range, I only use them in winters to help keep mice out and make it easier for the bees to defend their hive. Peter48 on this site just mentioned he thinks about a 4" opening is all the bees should have (he is in Australia so temps are quite different for him than you and I).

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I’m also not sure of what the ‘white catcher thing’ is. Is your hive a genuine Flow Hive? Is it a ‘classic’ or a Flow Hive2? A photo would be a help for us to understand what your asking.
With 31C which I have most of the year in Australia, your bees would benefit from any extra ventilation you can provide. I have vents at each end of the roof of my hives and it has greatly reduced the bearding.
Cheers Hugo

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Definitely the right thing to do Hugo. Same here in the Midlands past few days and I’ve mass bearding outside.

Just make sure there is water available for them.

Plastic inspection tray :+1: he’s done the right thing. Really hit in the UK this week. Everyone is posting about bearding worried it’s swarming signs.

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and so they should worry about swarms by the sound of it… is it swarming season there?

31c is not that hot for bees. Bees like the brood to be kept around 35c so if it’s 31c out they are actually still using energy inside to warm things up. I guess if they are super crowded inside the heat may be a bit of an issue but ventilation alone will not resolve crowding… Here in Australia where heat is a REAL issue- I start to really worry when the temps go over 43C! There is a world of difference between 31 and 43…

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Inspection tray? I still don’t understand what that is.

I think they just mean the slide out plastic tray found in screened bottomed Flow hive 2’s.


I guess it’s knowing your own climate Semaphore. 31°is extremely hot for the UK. Most of the posts I’ve seen on UK forums and my own hives there is no physical evidence to suggest swarming. Just the bees out fanning in numbers.

Beautiful spectacle to watch :+1:

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Plastic pest management tray that cones with the FlowHive2 :+1:

Hey there @hugothompson123 it’s hot here in the Philly PA USA suburbs too! I have two original FHs with coreflute sliders on screened bottom boards that I leave in at the top position all years, and custom entrance reducers that only block about 4” across the center, leaving two small gaps on either side. This is so the bees can direct air in one side then out the other, which I set up after watching City of Bees at @JeffH recommendation. There’s a link for it somewhere if you type it into the search area. A bit preachy at times but shows amazing facts about bee life that beeks can benefit from learning. I also have top entrances - feeding shims with a hole in the front - placed on the Flow supers. Sorry for the long description - I will try to get a photo soon. I wasn’t sure if the bees wanted the top entrances so I initially blocked them with a wax plug, figuring they’d open them if they wanted to - and they did.

Three other hives have solid bottom boards and similar double entrance configurations, but only one has a top entrance - none of the hives with top entrances do much bearding, but the two without them really do. Seems I’ll be tweaking this at my next inspection, as the larger of the two not only beards, it sideburns :laughing:!

I’ve concluded that it’s best for a colony to have more control over the airflow than a wide open entrance or bottom can give them. When you see bearding, I believe it’s not just to get warm bodies out but also to block part of the entrance for more efficient fanning, in one side and out the other. I’ve seen smaller clusters of bees at a larger opening in colder weather, helping block the draft.

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@Semaphore swarming is still possible here but less so than in April and May. My first swarm caught me by surprise on March 27 (or 29?) this year - it was a weird late winter so many beeks in the area were not prepared. I believe the nectar flow is still going strong now, but typically starts to tail off by end of June. My two Flow supers are aaaallllmost ready to harvest!


If I’ve interpreted your post correctly, you’ve removed the strip of timber with the ventilation slits as well as the inspection tray. I believe the recommendation from the flow people is to turn the strip of timber upside down in summer, so the ventilation strips are at the top, instead of the bottom when sitting in place. This will enable the air to flow above the inspection tray and across the bottom of the hive. In colder months, the ventilation slits should be at the bottom position to block (or limit) the airflow through the hive.

I would put the tray back in and the timber strip (with slits in the up position) and let the bees sort it out. I’m sure it wouldn’t harm them, to take it all out, but you’d want it all back in place when the temp drops. You could alternatively help things along with some afternoon shade for them.

I don’t know how they did it, but my bees sweltered through a 46 degree day here with the tray in.

it was already in the up position, but I took it out for 2 days because it was 31 degrees Celsius, extremely hot in England, and I put it in last night again as it cools down, the reason being was I could see many bees bearding and they were clearly too hot so I just cooled them for 2 days.

Thank you everyone for the reply I added another brood box yesterday as they were filling up the super very fast and where very cramped, I have put back in the pest tray and the wood slip with the holes on the top and they seem very happy with their new space, I cant wait to have a look at what they have done next week. (I use natural comb so let them build it themselves)
Thank you,

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Check the vent regularly and if you see movement behind the air bubble open it up. I’ve had loads of bees stuck inside after taking out my tray for two days then popping it back in.

I kept it out then at night and raining popped it back in after checking underneath was bee free.