Hi Folks, I recently (7 weeks ago) installed my first Nuc into my Flow Hive 2. What I had not anticipated was the size of the frames in the ordered NUC. Here in the UK National frames are the most common and they are 2 Inches smaller than the Flow Hive Langstroth frames. Hence much panic at first, holding my first frame of bees and finding it did not fit the brood box runners !!! So after an emergency cup of tea I made some hasty brood box modifications to reduce the centre width to accommodate the 5 smaller frames. Seven weeks on and the bees seem to be doing well, they have drawn out the comb on the other 3 foundationless frames, and activity levels seem high. The Flow super is on board, but as yet I don’t think they have started storing, and are still prepping the frames. Question - I would like to remove the smaller NUC frames from the brood box. What is the best way to go about doing this without destabilising the bees ?
Hi @PaulG! Welcome to the forum
Modifying your brood box in a hurry was a smart and practical solution for one of those fun surprises life tosses us now and then so well done!
About switching over to Lang frames, I would consider whether it’s that important at this stage, while your bees are so recently established. Especially since you mentioned putting the Flow super on already - prepping those frames takes a lot of work and the bees sometimes can only use what’s left of the season to make new wax to draw them up to readiness!
If you really feel they’re growing at a good clip and the nectar flow in your area is still on for awhile, you could cut out the comb on the Nat frames and rubber-band it into foundationless Lang frames. This will be a messy and disruptive job, best done with a good-tempered helper . If the Nat frames have foundation, wires etc it might not be easy or even possible to do this. In that case, you could wait until next year when it’s time to split this colony if they remain healthy and survive the winter - and just make a new all-National nuc to either sell or raise yourself. My vote would be to wait and split rather than cut-out.
Thank Eva for picking this up. I think my main reason for wishing to switch them out, is the difficulty I have during hive inspections, which are still a bit clunky given my newbie status. My frame layout is 2 x Lang, 5 x Nat and 1 x Lang which means I end up having 3 or 4 frames out of the brood box, hanging on the hive stand, as I am unable to shuffle frames along as per the normal approach. Main concern is the one you point out, which is the volume of work I’d be giving the girls by introducing 5 new frames into the Brood box, Assuming the weather remains normal, then nectar flow should be strong through to mid Oct, as the hive is surrounded by streams lined with Himalayan Balsam.
Welcome to the Flow forum! I am afraid that I am going to be a bit infuriating, and not give you a straight answer, but hopefully you may find some of this useful.
Have you thought about adapting the national frames to the flow hive, rather than adapting the box to the frames? Here is a brilliant post telling you how to do that very easily:
Convert UK national brood frame to langstroth in 1 minute
If you do this modification, you don’t have to hurry to cycle the frames out of the brood box, and inspections will become a whole lot easier.
If you do cycle the frames out, I would just do one at a time, but I really think that this is not the time to do it. The best time to start would be next spring, when several frames will likely be fairly empty and you won’t be removing a lot of precious resources.
I used to run WBC hives in the UK (also with National frames). One brood box was not enough to overwinter in Oxfordshire, and I would imagine that to be even more the case in Lancashire. We used either jumbo brood boxes, or brood and a half. To keep things simple, I would counsel you to consider a second deep Langstroth brood box before filling the super. If you don’t have more brood space, you will have to feed them very attentively all winter and into spring, or they may well starve.
Please ask more questions if you think we can help.