Im so new and need help. It gets pretty cold here. I was told by a local beekeeper that I should take off the flow super and allow the bees to collect the honey from it for the winter. He told me I should have had another super between the brood box and the flow super, which now it is too late to do. I’m pretty worried about wintering the bees. Was I given correct advice?
Hello and welcome to the Flow forum!
You certainly should take off the Flow super if your nectar season is over for the year. Some areas get a Fall flow, but most don’t. I would harvest any honey in the frames - if it isn’t capped, consider harvesting off the hive to avoid flooding the brood nest. Once harvested, you can either feed it back to the bees using an in-hive feeder, or keep it for yourself. If not capped, you may need to freeze it to prevent fermentation, and use any thawed honey within a couple of weeks. Store the empty Flow super protected from light and wrapped in burlap to stop wax moths from damaging any wax in the frames. Mine is in my garage, but a shed or other unheated building would be fine too.
That is true for most regions in the US, and anywhere where there are long periods of nectar dearth. You should really manage your hive like local traditional beekeepers do, just the extraction method is different. So your local beekeeper is correct, you should have a second brood box for winter stores. However, now you don’t, so what can you do?
- Plan to feed during the Fall and winter. When night temps are above about 50°F, you can use sugar solution (about 2 parts sugar to one part water) in an in-hive feeder. Once it gets colder, you will need fondant/candy or solid sugar. There is lots of information on how to do that, both in this forum, and on the internet/in books.
- Look into insulating your hive. This will reduce the hive’s food consumption (when they already don’t have much) and reduce condensation.
- Consider making a moisture quilt (Search tool at the upper right of this screen will give you threads on that). That will stop condensation from dripping on to the hive cluster and freezing them.
Please ask any more questions that come up, and we will try to help.
I am so grateful for your help and will do all you have described!
You are very welcome! I suggest that you cultivate that local beekeeper as a possible mentor. They sound very sensible, and it is always great to have somebody near you to ask local climate questions, feeding advice, disease treatment etc.
Agreed! I will do that! Thanks again!