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Author Topic: Flow hive Management Over Winter  (Read 384 times)

Offline DAVE07

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Flow hive Management Over Winter
« on: April 10, 2020, 07:52:11 am »
Hi guys was hoping to get a little guidance on wintering my flow hive. I live in the inner suburbs of Melbourne which get cold, but not freezing. The  hive is actually in my backyard so it?s fairly well sheltered from frost / extreme colds etc. I currently run a 10 frame brood box with the flow super on top and a Queen Excluder in between. The bee population has dwindled a little bit (I suspect it may have swarmed) the brood box is full but the super maybe only has 100 or so bees in it. I did a  harvest approx 7 weeks ago when I was in a strong flow thinking the bees would refill it again quickly as they had been filling the flow super frames every 3 weeks However the flow slowed down a lot after the last harvest. The supers have a bit of nectar in them .. about 4 flow frames have nectar, only about 10% capped. My question is going in to winter am I better off removing the flow hive super and leaving it out for a day for the bees to grab that nectar and store it? Or do I leave the flow super on over winter .. even though the bee population isn?t big enough to occupy that box? I was also thinking remove the flow super and replace with an ideal super and place some excess ideal frames I have with honey and pollen I have from other frames. Keen to hear everyone?s thoughts. 


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Offline guitarstitch

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2020, 03:46:06 pm »
How would you overwinter if you didn't have a Flow Hive?  The biggest mistake people make with those hives (from what I've seen) is treating them like they have to be managed completely different than any other hive type.

If it were me, I would pull the Queen Excluder and Flow super.  If your flow has stopped and you're going into winter, what you've got is what you're going to have to get through winter.
-Matthew Pence/Stitch

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2020, 08:51:06 am »
Do not go through winter with the flow frames on it will kill the hive.  Take it off and clean it for spring.  Do what ever you can to cram the brood box with stores.  No QE's in winter, that's another killer.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline KellyBeeFriendly

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2020, 05:50:03 am »
You should take the flow super off clean it out and store it safely - it just a big empty space making it harder for your bees to stay warm. If it were full of honey different story - as guitar stitch says flow hive is not any different. What you have is a brood box and likely very little in the way of stores for your bees in winter. You are probably going to need to feed them to get them through the winter. Please see other down under posts for feeding bees in winter.
Keep Calm and Keep Bees

Offline Hillbilly

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2020, 03:02:03 am »
How do you clean Flow frames? I?m in Perth and this is my third winter and always left the supers on the hive over winter and so far they always survived.

Offline KellyBeeFriendly

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2020, 06:12:50 am »
I?m not sure but I think it?s a bit warmer in Perth so it?s ok to leave frames on, esp if your flow frames are also acting as bee pantry. If they are not full and are just empty space For the bees to heat (and for pests to set up shop) and if not offering the bees any stores then the folks above recommend removing them. The bees tend to clean them up and store any leftover honey in lower boxes after you do your Autumn flow.

After that just take the flow super off, remove the all the flow frames and store them ( mine are stored in the spare fridge in the shed. I turned on the fridge and set it to coldest setting let it sit like that for 2weeks or do you kill any wax moth or hive beetle Then turned off the fridge. Come summer when I might need the fridge the flow frames will be back on the hive.

There are quite a few posts on flow hive forums on storing flow frames. I?d look there. Some folks rinse them with some warm water to remove any honey before storing too.
Keep Calm and Keep Bees

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2020, 09:38:53 am »
Has anyone tried to flip the box over on the hive to let the bees clean them out?  A freezer is OK but not a refrigerator because the honey will crystallize.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline KellyBeeFriendly

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Re: Flow hive Management Over Winter
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 09:01:39 am »
Yep I did that, but unf it seemed to attract more Yellowjackets!

Used the hose and then put in fridge on extra cold. (At least cold enough to freeze a watermelon I had in there last summer?) Im figuring it will have similar effect to freezer, but you needed to leave it longer. Weeks rather than days. This extract is from Queensland gov article - small hive beetle are prevalent up north.

When temperature reaches -12?C, all stages of small hive beetle will be killed. Existing cold rooms used for wax moth control can also be used by holding equipment at 1-9?C for 8 days. Equipment should be held in a freezer for 6 hours then for 12 days at 1-9?C to overcome thermal inertia.
Keep Calm and Keep Bees