Frequently Asked Questions
New to beekeeping and not sure where to start?
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For those new to beekeeping, getting set up with a Flow Hive is a great way to get started, as our revolutionary honey harvesting technology removes the need for additional harvesting equipment, making this enjoyable hobby much more accessible.
We love welcoming new beekeepers into the Flow Family and have a swarm of resources to assist you in your beekeeping journey.
Beekeeping safely, do I need safety equipment with a Flow Hive?
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Flow Hive technology drastically reduces the chance of being stung during harvest, however, beekeepers using the Flow system will still need to perform routine hive inspections to check for pests and diseases and to ensure their hive is healthy.
When opening a hive it is important to take the usual safety precautions, including using a smoker and a quality beekeeper suit.
How many brood boxes should I use?
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As with many beekeeping questions, opinions vary greatly on this one.
There are many factors that can affect this decision, including local climate and colony size – so it's a great idea to consult with local beekeepers, or jump onto our Community Forum to assist in finding the perfect set up for you.
- Flow Hive brood frames viewed 43,961 times
Why aren't my bees filling the Flow Frames?
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The two main things we have found that increase the rate at which bees fill the Flow Frames for the first time are:
What feeders will work with a Flow Hive?
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Where we are located in Northern NSW, Australia there are flowers most of the year round, so feeding isn’t usually necessary. However, many parts of the world have long winters where bees may need to be fed. This is necessary when there are no flowers available for foraging and there are not enough honey stores in the hive to feed the bees through the colder months.
There is lots of discussion and debate on feeding bees – the two more popular options seem to be; i) sugar water feeding, and ii) dry sugar feeding. (Note: Use white sugar, rather than raw or brown sugar.)
Assembling your Flow Hive
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Download a printable PDF or watch our videos below on how to assemble your Flow Hive or Super below:
What extra equipment will I need to operate a Flow Hive and harvest honey?
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For harvesting your honey, you will need a container (or several jars) to collect your honey. It’s a good idea to have some extras on hand – you may be surprised by how much honey comes out!
A bee suit and gloves, or at least a bee veil, are important to have on hand in case your bees get aggressive – it’s always best to bee prepared.
Do I need to wear a bee suit, bee veil or gloves when I drain the honey out?
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We recommend you wear a protective beekeeper suit whenever you are opening your hive and working with your bees, and though this should not be necessary when harvesting, it is important to have a suit on hand in case your bees become agitated.
For more information see this Flow sponsored safety pamphlet.
How often do I need to check the brood?
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The frequency which you need to check the brood depends on your location. In our area (Northern NSW, Australia) it is normal to inspect the brood nest of each hive a few times a year for disease. In some areas beekeepers check more frequently.
If colony numbers appear to be declining or the hive is weak it should also be inspected.
How many Flow Supers do I need per hive?
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One Flow Super per hive is the simple answer, as you can keep harvesting the honey whenever it is ready, giving the bees room to keep working and making more honey.
However, if you live in areas with a very high nectar flow, or if your existing bee colony is particularly large, we would recommend you use two Flow Supers or more. You can also add conventional supers for overwintering purposes. Read more about overwintering your Flow Hive here.
Can I use Flow Frames in cold or freezing conditions?
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The Flow Hive was trialled in Canada by John Gates in the fall of 2014, and no issues were found regarding the cold. Bees keep the hive warm because the brood nest needs to stay around 35 degrees Celsius or 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
In cold climates it would be recommended to harvest early and often so the possibility of crystallisation is less likely. Also read our page on Wintering Your Flow Hive.
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If I get a Flow Hive, does that mean I never have to open up the hive?
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All Flow Hives need to be opened for inspection, just like regular beehives. This is an important activity in monitoring your hive for pests and disease. The number of inspections needed per year varies a great deal. In places with a high level of bee disease, many beekeepers open and inspect each hive every month or six weeks during the spring and summer. Experienced beekeepers observe the behaviour of bees at the hive entrance and can usually judge whether they need to open the hive for further inspection.
Do I need to register my hive?
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Yes you probably do, the regulations on beehives vary greatly from country to country and also within countries. In Australia, hives must be registered with state authorities. For instance, in the state of Victoria, all hives must be registered with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and this is free for fewer than than five hives.
Do I need a license to keep bees?
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The need to obtain a license to keep bees will depend on the regulations in your local area.
We recommend you check with your local primary industries and agriculture authorities or link up with your nearest beekeepers’ association to find out what is required in your jurisdiction before you set up a new hive.
If I haven’t kept bees before should I get a Flow Hive?
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Yes, beekeeping is a wonderful learning experience!
The Flow Hive makes extracting the honey easy. While this saves much of the work involved in keeping bees, you will still be spending time observing your bees and inspecting the hive to ensure your bees are healthy.
How do I get bees?
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Bees rarely find their way into empty beehive boxes, even though they are designed to be a perfect home for them. There are a number of ways of starting a colony and you should read more than this small overview to learn all that is involved.
A small nuc (nucleus) hive can be bought from beekeeping suppliers in most countries (for Australia see: http://www.aussieapiaristsonline.net/bees-for-sale.html). A nuc consists of four or five frames of brood and honey along with a few thousand bees, including a queen bee. You buy these in the Spring, then place them in a standard box with a divider which can be removed as the colony expands.
Modifying a Langstroth Box for Flow Frames
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The following steps are a guide to modify a standard 8- or 10-frame langstroth super box to allow you to fit Flow Frames, it should take you 1 to 2 hours to complete.
Download the full instructions as a printable PDF and view videos below:
Where to locate your Flow Hive
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It is important to consider the location of your new beehive prior to installing your bees. You can’t move a beehive around your paddock, yard or rooftop easily. Bees have highly developed navigational skills which are extremely sensitive to location. If the hive is moved only a small distance, they become confused and will return to the original site. For advice on moving a bee hive once the bees are housed please consult a beekeeping book, the Flow Community Forum on honeyflow.com or your local beekeepers’ association.
There are three important things to consider when selecting a site for your new hive – your bees, your neighbours and yourself.