Flow Hive Wintering Preparations Using FlowHives in Cold Climates Successfully Bee Keeping

okay so thank you for joining me today
is Sunday March the 10th and we just came out of heavy wind storms again and
snow and ice and everything overnight temperatures rose and we’re now in the
mid 40s so at least the snow is melting off but it is still raining outside and
this is a video that I’ve wanted to make for a while because it deals with the
flow hive so if you’re one of the people that’s not interested in flow hives
there may still be some information here that’s helpful to you this whole series
is designed for beginning beekeepers and today I’ll be talking about three
different flow hive designs and that are marketed for the most basic to the most
elaborate and of course the most expensive I’ll talk about things that
I’m doing with the flow hives to get you through winter to get you through colder
climate survival with your bees and how to progress from the you know the
landing board and the bottom board right through the brood box how to feed them
and some of the flow hives are not really designed to get your bees through
cold weather so you have to add things to improve your bees chances the cool
thing is – this is the fourth year with the flow hive so and I wanted to thank
the cedar and Stuart Anderson the whole Andersen family for coming up with the
flow hive design great innovation and of course the boxes are compatible with
other boxes so for example there’s 8 and 10 frame lengths Roth boxes your Flo
hives are also compatible there’s a six frame flow hive which matches the eight
frame Langstroth and then there’s a seven frame slow hive which matches the
tens ten frame thanks Rock box so I’ve done some mods and made my own feeding
supers and things like that and that’s what we’re gonna cover in this video
starting right off with the most basic which is a flow super and then the next
one will be the full size flow hive and then the last part of this video will be
the flow hive to six frame version which is the eight frame size and I’ll talk
about the things that will get you through winter also some
pest management aspects to it and at the very end there will be a link to all of
our frequently asked questions videos and also there will be a link to all of
my flow hive experience videos so if you want to see these things functioning and
how the bees actually use them we are not able to go outside and do that right
now although I can say even though the weather’s been terrible our bees are
making it they were flying yesterday even though it was raining and again and
it was windy and they’re live so even tiny bee clusters that nobody thought
would make it through because with late season swarm into September
those are alive and flying as of yesterday so the chances are good and
we’re gonna cover in this video how to overcome some of those cold weather
challenges that happen here I should describe where I’m located I’m in the
United States along the Great Lakes region northeast it’s an area that we
call the Snow Belt and that’s because last year for example right where I live
we’re 1,300 feet above sea level we’re considered an agricultural zone
for so it’s pretty challenging for growing seasons and we get record
snowfall up here many feet of snow last year I think we got about a hundred
inches of snow where I live and was no better this year other than we didn’t
have the snowfall we had terrific cold weather and high wind events in fact the
stainless steel capper blew off of my chimney and I still haven’t found that
so I had to buy another one so let’s get into it let’s talk about the flow hive
okay so we’re gonna start right off with the most basic flow hive you can get and
that is by purchasing just this flow super this happens to be a seven frame
flow super which matches the 10 frame Langstroth boxes and you can buy it it
comes just the way it’s shown here you get that side panel access so you can
look into the frames on the side you get all the flow frames and you get one box
and you get a hat and you get the key that activates everything and you get a
hive tool and that’s it this is the most basic and you can begin with this so
we’re beginning our discussion today with just a flow super and I’m going to
show you how to put this together as if you just got your B’s and you’re gonna
progress from there so let’s set this thing up for cold weather so a lot of
people you know when they get this new and they want to put it all together
they just want to put all the components together and get it out in the B yard
and stack all the boxes at once and then put their B’s in that’s a bad beginning
and I’m gonna explain why that is we want to start to be slow and remember
the B’s come first and everything we do so the first thing you’re gonna have to
have is a landing board now this is a landing board that I built myself look
how heavy the stock is this is about an inch and a half thick stock this is
heavy pine these are prying slats all the joints are sealed they’re sealed
along the edges because we don’t want to leave any space for mites and parasites
to hide the underside has a standoff so that it’s up off the bottom the other
thing I want you to notice is the way I make it the sides extend out farther
then the landing board needs to be and that’s because at some point you’re
going to be tilting this backwards to two degrees so that your flow hive can
be extracted so I extend the side rails out a little farther now does that mean
you have to make your own you don’t I have other this is a standard my old
crappy Langstroth tent frame they match up and this kind of shows you the
comparison of the stock for example when you build things yourself you can make
it as robust as you want to be but compare mine to what the standard box is
that you might buy you can get these anywhere better be they don’t man lake
they’re all compatible with the flow hive so you have to start with a bottom
board and let’s go from there so now we’re gonna start with what’s called a
deep brood box you have choices you have a deep a medium and a shallow but we
always start our B boxes with one deep at least and because we’re in the
northern climates is the ten frame if you do not have already drawn outcome
which most people want when they start out you might want to consider a heavy
waxed one-piece plaques classic foundation that is food grade
and this particular one is made by a corn B company and they’re heavy whacks
and it’s been my experience that when you’re starting out with a frame of bees
and you’re starting out with a box of bees that they will draw out the heavy
wax plastic comb first you also have an option of using wooden frames which also
come with your flow hive and they have a little wooden spline here at the top and
that’s where you would prime it with wax I’ve never had to prime these with wax I
put them between plastic frames and the bees draw them out on their own so just
for the brood box you can use plastic frames you can also insert foundation
into the wooden frames which I personally don’t do but we want to get
the bees started in here so you might be inserting a package of bees three pound
package with a queen you might put in nucleus bees so if you have a Nuke
that’s your fastest buildup and the other thing of course is you can catch a
swarm which is going to be your slowest and least predictable buildup of bees so
once they’re in there we have to cover this box and we have to feed the bees to
make sure they get off to a good start and remember don’t just throw your flow
super on already because these bees have to fill the box we don’t want them to
have so much area that they can’t control or protect it and they’re really
not strong enough as a colony so you can also just take a regular cover this one
has a bunch of burr comb all over it still but you could put a regular cover
on this and then just put a telescoping top on it and I recommend since we’re
starting them off a polystyrene cover top and that’s the whole hive ready to
go but guess what they have inside no resources nothing to grow on so then
you’d be counting them to fly out and bring in all of the resources on their
own but let’s give them a head start one thing that you could put on here to
start them off right would be a hive top feeder like this cerasale feeder this
comes with its own wooden shim which matches the ten frame box it would go
run on just like this and then the bees don’t come up into the top here so we
don’t need another cover they’re held into the sugar syrup area I’m assuming
that since yours starting with your bees winter has
passed and all the threat of freezing has passed so now you can put them in a
sugar syrup situation so you’re gonna pour 1 2 1 sugar syrup in here and that
will give these bees now below plenty of resources start drawing out the comb and
they can do their foraging for their pollen on their own but if it starts
raining and you get some bad weather after you’ve put them in there they
won’t starve out and they’ll have the energy that they need right here from
this feeder but the other thing is I made my own version of a feeder box and
I’ll show you that ok so I made this one myself it is ridiculously thick the
outsides are made out of maple these bottom panels are made out of inch and a
quarter pine so this is a heavy-duty box you don’t have to put the cover on you
can put this right on the top here and this becomes what’s called a feeder shim
so this is just the wooden ware so we still have to put something inside of
here so that we can feed the bees and what I like to use right now for this
box is the rapid round this fits an 8 frame or a 10 frame and you can feed
sugar you can feed syrup dry or wet liquids and you put it in the box inside
here and that’s the resource for your bees so this is going to be a
multi-purpose cover we can use this as the feeder with this insert which of
course blocks their entry into this larger space and it’s – hope you can
find just through this cup to get to the feed and then back down inside the hive
plus they’re completely protected from robbing from above there’s no upper
entrance right now and this is a great way to start them out no matter what the
weather does they’re gonna have food and resources inside the hive even though
they’re brand new now with the rapid round feeder in place
you really don’t need a inner cover up here because the bees can’t access this
area they can only get inside that rapid round feeder so you can just put your
cover right on the top there it’s insulated they’re covered and shielded
and then we can just monitor their progress down here in the breed box and
see how things go now let’s say the bees have been fed they made great progress
and they filled all of this you’ve got brood in here you’ve got pollen
they’ve been filling out the outsides they’ve drawn the wax and you have honey
and everything is good to go and the population has built up this is where if
you lived in a warm climate you would be adding the flow super right now but
remember the premise of this video is to show you how to get them through winters
in the northeastern United States or some other really cold region so your
next box is either gonna be a medium super or a deep super and in this case
we’re putting on a medium super and again remember this is a brand new hive
so we want them to draw out the comb so again we have medium frames one piece
plastic in this case they’re by acorn heavy dipped with wax and it’s my
experience that they’ll draw these out the fastest so that’s when now we’re
still in the process of building your bee population letting them establish
their resources here and you can still take that feeder and put it right on top
of this and we still have the rapid roundup inside so there’s still no need
for an inner cover and we can just have the standard polystyrene cover or be
smart design cover whatever you want to do so this is still a building process
and the colony is still strengthening so they would have filled this box and now
they’re starting to work on this box once this fills completely with honey
and resources that’s when we’re gonna put on our flow hive flow super okay so
this is pretty important how did we get to this point remember we had the brood
in this box we waited for them to fill these frames with honey and what that
does is creates a honey bridge between this and now your flow super this is the
flow super that’s full of all the flow frames they’re in here that are ready to
be filled by the bees this is something that actually in your first year of
beekeeping in the northern climates of the United States they may never get
this far in your first year and don’t feel bad about that
because what you’re really doing is you’re culturing the bees and you don’t
need a queen excluder here if you look in Australia where the people are
putting these together they’re going to use this box they’re gonna put a queen
excluder in and then they’re gonna have the flow super right on top of that but
remember we’re trying to get our bees through northern winters so we needed
this extra box of this is about 45 pounds of honey we need this to get them
through winter time so we want that resource first then we want them to come
up here and work these flow hives now they will work flow frames in my area
and my bees have done that in the first year but usually they didn’t fill them
all the way up until September came along so let’s turn this thing around
and look at it from behind okay so this is the back of the hive and now we can
see this is where you later will be extracting the honey but it’s also where
you’re going to observe the bees progress working on this here now what
if we want to give feed to the bees that are here in this stage when you’re
actually getting honey and you’re trying to develop honey that you’re going to
extract you really do not want to be adding sugar syrup it’s the worst time
to do that we want all of these great honey frames
to be filled by natural sources of flowers out in the environment where you
live we don’t want to be feeding them sugar syrup now to have that just end up
metabolized and then put in these cells so you’re no longer feeding once you get
to this point plus if you’re treating your bees if you’re doing exotic
vaporization or something like that you also stopped treating at this level
because this honey remember was not for your consumption this is for the bees so
when you’re putting on any kind of supers where you’re going to draw the
honey we want to make sure that this is not tainted with any kind of treatments
even oxalic vaporization so now what do you put on top of this can you just put
you can put an inner cover on there but that’s been a problem because this
thickness the flow hive covers the inner covers for the flow hives have a huge
broad rim on them that keeps the bees out of
this area of your flow frames so that feeder super that I designed and built
is of such thick material that it will cover the top here so it’s a combination
feeding super and it also is thick enough through here that it blocks
access down into this area where you don’t want the bees the bees can’t come
through here they can’t access any of these joints here and this heavy feeder
box on top now acts just as a vent instead of a source for putting feet in
because remember we don’t want to give them sugar syrup anymore and now this is
what it’s going to look like from the front brood super full of honey they’re
working on the flow of frames now I put my top feeder on even though there’s no
feed in it right now so what’s the purpose of that well we have to get it
high enough so that we can put a cover on it but look it also allows me to
rotate this to a venting position we can have a queen excluder position here or
we can open it up and now we have a top entrance for the bees and I’ve had a
really good luck with these top entrances because now the foraging bees
that are coming in with nectar are gonna go straight to the flow frames and not
come in through the landing board and have to migrate up through all of this
to get to those flow frames so now we can feed but if things get out of hand
up here if maybe there’s some risk of robbing or something like that we can
close it off completely go to venting because remember they’re gonna be
dehydrating and condensing that honey and then on top of this because now this
space is fully accessed by the bees so we actually need to now put an inner
cover on it and again polystyrene or some other color cover on top of it like
this and now you’ve got your complete hive and there’s no reason to expand
bigger than this so if you do get lucky enough and they they cap off all the
honey now you can draw off your flow frames this stays here and for those of
you who like to get cut comb chunk honey and things like that once they fill your
flow frames they’re actually gonna go up into this
space into this box and they’re gonna start running heavy comb through there
and they’re also going to fill it with honey that later you can scrape off put
it in jars and drain out your honey off of the back right into the flow frame I
mean right from the flow frame right into the jar and have chunk honey that
you scraped out of here so this takes some routine maintenance your inner
cover prevents them from gluing down this with propolis and they will of
course seal all of these joints with propolis on their own and then down here
for entrance reducers I should have covered that because we’re trying to
protect them they’re new what I do is I take aluminum screen and I roll this up
and I just tuck it in here and I create a ventilated landing board restrictor
which is an entrance reducer and then the bees will come and go through the
middle so I’ll put a screen on either side that lets them be ventilated but it
also gives them a narrow area that they can successfully defend against stronger
colonies that may try to rob them out so that’s it for the first and most basic
flow hive that will match your 10 frame Langstroth boxes and any custom gear you
want to add now the season’s over it’s winter time now let’s say that didn’t
even fill all these frames but you have to get these guys through winter and you
don’t want to leave them having access to the flow frames as we go into winter
so you’re gonna have to take this box off once you do that remember we’re down
to the brood box and the honey super which is full and what goes on here now
you have to be ready for winter so you have two choices the carousel box here
but if you do that you have to put a inner cover between this and the bottom
so we’ve created two joints when we do that so I prefer and why I was out in
the shop recently building I prefer to use my new multi-purpose top and remember there’s
be space in here I left a gap so they have lots of room to move around here
this goes right on top now I have a box for feeding dry and again we just put
the rapid round in there or you can put protein patties and go put anything you
want in this box this is what it looks like on the inside we have the full 2
inch hole going right down into the bees all the edges are sealed we have the
option of course still here to allow them access through the hole or just
vent or in the dead of winter seal it off completely and then you can put your
wrap it around feeder back in there as we did before and if you have that in
place remember if the rapid round feeder is in here we don’t need an inner cover
and we can go straight to the insulated cover now your buttoned up at the end of
the year to go through winter and if you need to feed them or add anything when
you open this up because that rapid round sits right over that hole there’s
no risk of chilling your bees when you open this up and remember there’s a
bottom board inside of here that is an inch and a quarter thick so they’re well
protected and insulated from the outside air and we created an airspace then we
have that polystyrene cover so they are also protected from condensation
dripping in on them so it’s a great set up scenario in the winter and hopefully
now they’re gonna make it okay so the next fly system we’re going to talk
about is their 7 frame flow hive and this has the compatibility with a 10
frame Langstroth foxes so this is the flow hive bottom board here it has
stainless steel screen or something that’s non corrosive maybe aluminum but
it also has integrated pest management with this board allows you to control
ventilation you can pull it out it’s an open space now we can slide it up on
more and close it off completely notice that their bottom board has a
built-in shim that tilts it back and we also have this little dam on the front
that the bees have to climb over my bees our varroa resistant hygienic bees so
when they are grooming off varroa for example they fall down on to this screen
and go through it and onto the bottom board and that helps them better control
varroa I don’t really have a big problem with small hive beetle but I suppose it
would also be helpful with them so this is the beginning you want to make sure
when you’re putting your bee boxes somewhere again because I’m in a cold
climate I want to face our landing boards to the south because in the
wintertime that’s going to get the most heat I also want to make sure that this
is completely level and I also want to make it about fifteen or sixteen inches
off the ground and that’s so that skunks and other predators aren’t trying to get
into the hive and bother my bees so again this will come with two deeps and
the second one of course is the flow hive they also have a queen excluder and
i’m going to talk about why i do or don’t use that and i’m going to show my
method which is how i’ve eventually come up with the idea of not using Queen
excluders so this is your first box your brood box and I think this material is
hoop pine and the last one we’re going to show will be cedar now I’m gonna
assume that you don’t already have frames so when you buy this in it comes
with a complete kit it comes with everything that the flow super comes
with all the frames everything you need hive tool and so on but this one has the
inner cover it has the bottom board and it has wooden frames that are empty so
there again if you want to speed it up if you’re putting your package bees in
here or your nukes and those are the only two that I really recommend you
start out with I wouldn’t recommend you start with a swarm but I mean if you
spend all this money for a flow hive I’m just going to take the leap and guess
that you can probably afford to buy in bees that are of a variety that you want
I personally use the bee Weaver line of bees out of Texas because they are
survivor line bees that have gone without treatment for many many years
but these heavy whacks a corn frames are what have been the fastest source frames
for my bees to build up in the past so that’s what I’m using here and of course
there are ten of them and then what are you going to put on top of this remember
I don’t want you to put all your boxes together some people get the whole
system put the whole system together put it in their garden and then they just
let the bees do their thing what we really want to do is contain the bees in
the brood box until they fill the space build out their resources in here and
use that space plus it’s small enough that they can completely defend it
that’s really important if you don’t want your new bees to be robbed out and
if you don’t want them to have problems with pests like the the small hive
beetle that some people are having problems with or if you want them to be
able to control varroa and groom each other and police their area keep them in
this box until they’ve built up enough now this is just a development box so
remember we’re not going to harvest any honey out of here so this is a time when
you can feed start we’re gonna go right back to a hive top feeder and again
remember this is this is the one that I’ve built myself because I’m gonna be
experimenting with this this year and I know it’s going to do fantastic because
you know I designed it so the other options are lots of different hive top
feeders if you’re going to use remember the Cirrus L feeder it will go on top of
that feeder it goes by itself so let’s pull this off it’s another option now
this of course does not come with your flow hive but if you want these bees to
build up fast and you don’t want to be one of those people that just set up
your beehive and then the wind and the rain and the weather went bad
and what happens is the bees will be building up there honey resources down
here and then when the weather turns bad they just consume it again so you end up
with bees unable to draw out the comb they need and unable to expand the way
they really need to you can also pull this feeder out and just use this as a
feeder shim so if you want to put other types of feeders in here
you could do that too if you just had a shim so this is a great way to go and
again put this on here if you have those plastic covers over it that keep the
bees from coming up because again you’re starting in warm weather you can give
them syrup one to one by weight and you do have to drill these holes yourself so
the bees can come up through the center they also come up through the corners
there and they will have resources the whole time so and then of course you’re
just going to put your flow hive cover because you get a flow hive lid with
this but now there’s something good about that flow hive way that I’m going
to show you okay so we’ve got our packaged bees or nucleus of bees in here
I don’t use nuke boxes they go straight into an eight or ten frame box and
that’s what I do also with the flow hives so once this is in here and
they’re established now we’re going to put in the inner cover this is the flow
hive flow comm inner cover they’re a little thicker than most they’re pretty
well made and it has that nice hole perfectly designed for that rapid round
feeder this goes right on top and now we have these air gaps here which the bees
are gonna seal up and that’s the purpose of the inner cover so that you can still
pull it off then we’re gonna put this flow hive cover on top now what have
they done it really doesn’t matter if you put them on in front ways or back
ways because it’s gonna cover the whole thing here I think this is backwards
because this is where we would have access but what I did was
I’ll let the cover open so I did not do the other side here just
so we could show how the feeder goes into it the good news is the seven frame
flow hive which is a ten frame Langstroth box is big enough to
accommodate one of these feeders and notice that it sits flush right there
this prevents the bees from accessing this whole space up in here and you can
pull the lid off and have access to the feeder without exposing the bees to foul
weather and you can just put dry or liquid feed in here on the top take care
of it I recommend that you have multiples of
these I do and that’s so that when I come out to this hive to take care of it
I have a nice clean one ready to go I pull the dirty one off new ones in place
they’re being fed and how much time were they exposed to the weather microseconds
and I’ll take this inside and we’ll wash everything out we’ll get rid of that
sugar syrup and we’ll make sure it’s fresh and that the bees are getting the
best resources they can get now the good news is of course as I mentioned that
this cover is wide enough and big enough to accommodate that so now we can feed
these bees and build this up what’s the next thing that should go on there based
on our other discussion should we go right into the flow super right away
once the built the list of numbers build up there no we shouldn’t because
remember we’re doing this from northern climates so the next thing we’re gonna
do is we’re gonna put another super on there now this is up to you this is
compatible with standard Langstroth boxes so we can put a medium super on it
if you want to do that or you can put a full double nuke on there a double brood
box so but generally where I live you can put this medium super on here and
again we’re going to do the same thing we did with the first demonstration we
want them to fill this with honey resources and cap that off that they’re
going to use to get themselves through winter so it’s only after they’ve done
that that we’re going to put the flow super on here
now you can buy supers from flow hive that match this bottom box you can you
can use a double deep as a second super that’s going to be about 75 pounds the
honey when that’s fall and then we’re gonna go to the flow super so let’s do
that now this setup is really ambitious
because what we did was we have a 10 frame deep now for our honey super we
have another 10 frame deep and this one we have of course wooden frames in again
if you have frames that are already drawn out you’re gonna be way ahead the
acorn plastic double triple dipped wax frames will be drawn out the fastest but
there again whose is honey for this is for the bees this is not for you so
don’t be stealing their honey off for the second box remember the whole
purpose of this demonstration is to get our bee it’s through winter so what are
we going to put up here we’re gonna put another feet of box on nice thick and
heavy and there again now we have the opportunity we’re gonna put our feeder
in this which is going to prevent them from roaming around inside the space
which also means we don’t need a hive inner cover on that but you can do it
just so you don’t lose your stuff so put the flow hive inner cover on there and
of course we put the flow hive lid on it so this is an ambitious setup you are
really counting on your bees to fill all this up
but we can still feed because remember you’re not going to be consuming this
honey ourselves you’re going to be just allowing the bees to build up their
resources so you can still treat with exotic flavor you can still take care of
the bees you can still do pest management because none of the honey
that’s on here is for human consumption it’s all for the bees so then once
they’ve filled both of these and remember this is also how I avoid using
Queen excluders if we have a bunch of honey in here and
the brood is down here the Queen’s not going to cross the honey and go up into
my flow super and lay eggs in it because I’ve done this testing several years and
two out of three even with just one super only use the flow frames for brood
so you’re pretty safe once you establish that layer of honey plus as honey is
going to get your bees through winter so now your flow hive is on there these are
the flow frames these are for you so we have a strong brood strong honey
resource now we opened it up to allow them to fill this up and that’s when
you’re also going to put on your cover because we want to feed these to keep
them going not anymore that’s because once you have
honey on once you have these frames on and this honey is going to be for human
consumption we’re not going to put any more feeders on no more liquid syrup no
more food for the bees they’re going to get it off in the wild and that’s what’s
gonna fill your flow frames up and that is the full-size seven frame flow hive
ready to go so if this all happens in the first year count your lucky stars
and then you get them through winter that’s awesome
then the second year is probably when you’re going to get them up here into
this flow super and they’re going to start building up and you can also vent
the top you can also put another feeder on top in the winter time like this
because now what happens summer’s over whether they finish filling these or not
we’re going into winter they have to come off
so we’re going to remove the cover and recovers gone we have to condense it
down so if you have flow frames in here and the bees did not fill them up you’re
gonna have to clean them up yourself and let the beads clean them up and then now
you’re going to come down to this box for winter winter honey brood and this
is what’s going to get them through so now what goes on here we want to get
them through winter so we have to be able to feed them so we’re going to put
the standard inner cover on here and we’re going to put the flow cover on and
then what goes inside here another rapid round feeder which is going to allow you
to care for these bees through the winter and you’re gonna be able put food
on and stuff dry remember as we go into winter time there’s no more liquid syrup
once it’s cold enough and things start freezing you can only put dry feet in
here now there is an option to you don’t have to with that wrap it round in there
you can just put paddies in here as you get into spring you can put fondant up
in here and this is a you know double protection and it’s somewhat ventilated
okay so I mean I prefer to put a rapid roundup in here but you have a space now
but once the bees have access up in here on these really warm days and if they’re
really productive they may start to put Berk home and wax all over up in here
and that’s going to be difficult to clean out so like I have that vented
feeder box that I made you could put something like that also on this for
wintering but the most convenient and the easiest for the bees is for you to
put a rapid round in there because remember when you pull the lid off and
you access that you’re not exposing them to cold and you can also see if they’re
consuming the dry sugar and fondant or whatever you have decided to put in
there you can decide if they’re keeping up
so that’s it for the flow hive seven hoop pine version the flow seven frame
ten frame lengths Roth hoop pine tilted bottom integrated pest management full
size cover that allows this and you should be good to go and get that
through winter now now before I finish up with this one I do want to point out
that you can if you’re living in an area that’s not as severe as mine and even
some of my beehives have made it with just a medium super so if you don’t want
your bees to feel a double deep and you don’t think they’re gonna get there
and let’s be honest a lot of bees just won’t be strong enough to do that you
can put a medium super on you can let them fill this and then you can put your
flow super flow hide box with the flow frames in it on top of this and this can
still get your bees through winter time you’re gonna know you know as the years
go by what your bees need to get through and then of course with a feeding insert
on the top you will have the opportunity to take care of your bees and give them
the feed that they need to survive through winter but they are compatible
the reason that this is a this one looks like it came from an Lake right now the
flow hive company doesn’t even offer medium supers or shallow supers so if
you buy supers from honey flow com you’re going to be getting nothing but
the deep boxes so if you really think your bees just aren’t going to manage
that or you don’t need it because you’re in a intermediate area that gets cold
winters but they’re not severe then you might be able to get away with just the
medium box so that’s just food for thought
they just don’t sell them at flow hive so but they’re compatible with the 10
frame standards now we have saved the most elaborate and the most advanced
version of the flow hive this is a flow hive too it’s made out of cedar and of
course we’re stopping when starting with this bottom board and this thing has
lots of unique aspects to it first of all it has adjustable legs so
that this thing can be leveled it has spirit levels built into the sides over
here’s one got one in the back where is that anyway there’s a level back there
somewhere and this thing has an aluminum insert part of their pest management
system my hygienic bees are gonna groom off little mites and stuff and they’re
gonna fall through this and this is where we’re gonna have some fun this
year I want to show you this let’s zoom in because what’s going on here is they
have a tray and I always have high hopes if I tell you you know the bees are
gonna do something I’m just speculating like everyone else we don’t know what
the bees are gonna do but in the back you have vent control so you can flip
this over this is the closed vent setting right here this is the open vent
setting right here but the cool part is what’s in here this is the tray and I’ve
done some fun stuff with this tray look what fits in here perfectly
these are Swiffer mop pieces and these are the dusting swiffers I know a lot of
people use the thin swiffers that are for wiping your kitchen floor or
whatever but if you look at the fibers and stuff in this thing plus look at
it’s like they’re designed just for this bottom tray and they’re flat enough that
they don’t stick up to where the bees can start to pull them through the
aluminum cover so this summer what’s going to be a lot of fun is fun for me
anyway I’m going to be catching varroa and if there are small hive beetle that
are running down in here I’m going to be collecting them out of here and giving
you some super close-up video of them look at these fibers that is going to
make them crazy and then when these tops are full you can just clip them off and
there’s plenty of layers underneath ready to go
so this to me is what’s really gonna make the mites and stuff that fall down
in here crazy now of course you can pour you know cooking oil or you can put some
other oil in the bottom here that will just round them and trap them but now
you’ve got a messy tray to clean up so there’s two things I’m gonna be testing
out with this this year one is these and I may interchange them or push them to
the sides and put sticky traps in here also I’m using those mouse boards which
are only good when the weather is really warm anyway but I’m going to put sticky
mouse traps in here too and see what kind of stuff I get so I’m going to be
doing a lot of experimenting with this board this year so it’s just going to be
fun now this is a 8 frame so 8 frames you know a lot of people actually do use
them in cold climates but you’re gonna have to allow plenty of room for your
beads to store resources and the same thing is going to apply here this the
whole deal has to get your bees through winter and that’s what we’re going to
show so we have the bottom board this is a nice tight fit it’s aluminum we have
the back again now going into winter what are you gonna do when you’re
starting with your bees of course we’ll just close this up for the beginning
because let’s face it this is not airtight to begin with so there is some
airflow already we’re not that worried about it and I’m
also going to show you how to vent the top on this thing so we have this now
you know everything teeters on my table because this is a hundred year old
harvest table that was used by my wife’s family and it’s just garbage so but look
at that because we have the adjustable legs it’s nice and stable so we have
this board and we’ve already talked about where to put it you’re gonna put
it somewhere wet sheltered from wind we’re gonna put it off the ground to
make sure predators can’t get to it and we’re going to keep the ants down and we
want to make sure that this is south so that when we get those nice
southern sunny mornings that it’s going to shine on the landing board and it’s
gonna warm up those bees and keep them happy and the first box is going to go
on here is going to be a deep so now we’ve put a deep box on here and
remember this is a six frame flow hive too which means it matches an eight
frame Langstroth box and again just as I said before my quickest build up is
going to be with heavy waxed one-piece plastic frames and though I’ve used peer
Co I’ve looked at the man lake versions my personal preference is the acorn B
varieties and they come in white and they come in black and if you see these
green ones that is for your drone come which people use as part of pest
management I just have it here for kicks now the cool thing is on this box this
is the flow I have to remember so everything is fancy you have windows on
both sides so and this is just the the brood box so you have a window on this
side you have a window on this side so you can look in on them without having
to smoke your bees without having to worry about harassing them without
pulling the cover you can see what’s going on down there and see if they’re
filling these frames and remember people often get excited and they want their
neighbors to see their awesome box so they put everything together and they
put the top on it and give the bees all that space to manage and remember we’re
trying to get these bees through a northern climate winter so what’s the
first thing we want to put on here we just put bees in it remember we want to
use nukes or package peace because those would be the quickest build up so what’s
the next thing you want to put on just put on the lid and the inner cover nope
we don’t want to put a feeder on it so somewhere around here I have a feeder so
to get our colonies started off right just as with the other one I made
another one of my heavy-duty shims slant feeders that are recessed sleeve bees
face two inch hole on the bottom maple
outside box and a pine bottom the corners and edges are all sealed to
prevent bug infestations and then this can go right on top now it is it does
have this little vent function but we’re going to keep that closed for now
because remember this is a brand new colony of bees so you want to put in
here and they want to kick them off so what are we gonna do again we’re gonna
take a rapid round or some similar feeder and we’re gonna put it up there
and we’re gonna plug that hole on top now remember it’s a screen bottom board
here and they’re not airtight and we can vent through the back of the bottom so
we don’t worry so much about venting through the top right now so you can
have that feeder on now does it matter if we’re giving them sugar syrup right
now even though it’s the beginning and they can fly out if they need it they’ll
use it if they don’t they won’t need they won’t use it but if you put your
bees in here and you count on them just a forage and they bring in a bunch of
nectar and they start raising their brood and then we get a week of rain
they’re going to consume all the nectar that they’ve brought in and they’re not
going to be able to provide for the brood the way they should so when it’s a
brand new colony of bees like that you always want to put some kind of feeder
shim on top and you always want to make feed available for the bees just in case
they need it because if you don’t have it in place and you don’t have a shim
box to feed them you’re not going to be able to keep them healthy and growing
the way they should particularly when we’re counting on them to fill flow
frames and just like before because we have a new colony we want to make sure
and reduce that entrance a little bit same thing I take my little aluminum
screen pieces here squeeze them up and stick them on either side here and let
them have entrance and egress through the center but because there’s screens
they’re also venting it just gives them an area that they can defend and gives
them a good start so we took the feeder off because now they’ve in theory filled
this box we have brood we have lots of resources honey pollen
they’re jamming up the popular exploding if you do not expand this hive
right now they will swarm out on you so the next thing we want to do is we want
to put a super on so here we go now when you buy the system it only
comes with the stand with a breadbox and then the next one in the kit is going to
be the flow super but we’re talking about getting these things through a
northern winter with heavy snow so apron boxes your next box is going to be
another honey super and not the flow frames so these have might have wooden
frames in them right now and of course you can use plastic if you have drawn
comb your way ahead and once we put these on
can we still feed them or do we have to back off because we’re gonna be using
this honey no we can still feed them because we’re not sealing that honey
this is for the bees so this is where I put my feeding shim back on here and now
we also have the option to open it up so that they can have an upper entrance
they can also be vented through the top and also of course we can put a feeder
in there it’s already won in it you can’t have too many of these around
remember when you go out to visit and to feed them bring a fresh clean one with
fresh clean syrup in it one to one during the summer time and you’re gonna
put that right in there now because that feeder plugs the hole we don’t need to
use the inner cover up here we can just put the hive cover straight on now the
flow hive inner cover that comes with it already has a perfect hole in it for
those rapid round feeders again this is made out of premium stock they’re nice
and thick the joints are great and it’s intermediate thing to that’s nice and
thick much thicker than a standard inner cover so if you put that on here and
again remember this is just the resources that they’re going to use to
get through winter but then we put this flow hive to cover in place on top of
that it looks like we’re good to go but if
this is our winter setup I went ahead I know this is probably not gonna make
those that slow very happy because I drilled a hole on the front of my cover
here you can see flow through it put it all right there so that I would
have an upper entrance into this beehive okay and that also gives them venting up
through here and there’s a queen excluder up through there and we can
block it up just for winter but you know what the drawback is for the seven
frames six frame eight frame length drop is that a rapid round feeder doesn’t fit
underneath this cover that’s why I had to build the feeder shim
just for this and I think there are those being sold that fit it but if
you’re putting your feet or shim in here you of course can keep them fed through
winter time and that is going to help them survive so remember you can take
the rapid round out you can have this open and now you have an upper hive
entrance so they can come down and be replenishing this super now so this is
nothing but honey not for you and this is a brood and honey and pollen there
may be some pollen up through here too now what if we didn’t put this box in
here what if we just went straight to the flow super not only are we not
building resources for winter but with the flow super when they start to put
honey and nectar in those cells what happens is when you get some cold snaps
the bees will come up from the comb here from the brood area and they’ll go right
up in here and they’ll start to consume the honey that they’ve stowed in the
flow super plus if you had your flow super right here what are we gonna have
to put in between them we’re going to have to
but that Queen excluder in there and I’d like to avoid that so what I’m doing is
creating a honey bridge that the Queen won’t cross to get into the flow super
so but what happens is if you were weighing just this box by itself when
you get rainy days you’d see a weight loss because they’re consuming the
resources they’ve just stored there so we’re avoiding them cycling consuming
and replenishing consuming and replenishing in this box that’s not
going to be happening in your flow super because we have this honey resource in
between so now that they’ve got this box full
now that telling you strength is high now that the brood is strong that’s when
we put on the flow super so the flow super is up here on top and we don’t
have to put a queen excluder here because we have a honey barrier through
here now can we continue to put a feeder shim on here and continue to feed the
bees again hopefully you’ve learned for the other two examples that we no longer
feed when we have honey supers on that are going to be used for human
consumption you can’t even use essential oils honey be healthy ProHealth brood
boots during any of that stuff because it’s all marked not suitable for human
consumption so no more feeding after this box up
here that’s for you no more feeding wintertime comes just as
I said before you’re gonna drain off your flow hive flow frames if you’re
gonna take that off and this one has windows on both sides so you can see
your flow frames in there there they are hopefully they would be full of honey
once you drain them off it makes the box light enough to manage and you’re gonna
remove it and now we’re gonna condense down for winter so they’re again slow
supers off flow frames are off next thing we put on here can be a feeder
shim remember we have to get them through winter that’s why I made these
boxes and remember that a rapid round feeder
will not fit under the roof of the flow hive too so now I have this in here and
this is our winter survival box and then of course we’ll close this off we want
to prevent the upper entrance activity and once you put a rapid round in there
again remember that that hole is plugged and they can’t get up through there
anyway so all they have is access again as freezing weather kicks in and the
first snow starts to fly you would have hopefully dropped down to a two to one
sugar to water mixture by weight and then you’ll stop and you’ll just have
dry feet available to them so that’s it this is your winter box and of course
going into winter you would make sure that the vent and the back is closed off
and then we’re going to monitor their progress and you want to make sure and
come out here and clean out for your landing board and do the best you can
for your bees and after that you will have done your very best and if they
make it they make it if they don’t it won’t be because you didn’t try and
thank you so much for watching I hope you got something useful and beneficial
out of my presentation on the various flow hives I hope you can get yours
through winter everything looked good for me this winter and they’re coming
out just fine let me know in the comments section below if you have any
questions at all and we’ll address them in an upcoming frequently asked
questions beginning with bees thanks again have a
great weekend


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