From unwrapping your overwintered hive to performing your first brood inspection of the season, the increase in temperature, daylight hours and bee activity are a beekeeper’s call to action in the apiary.
Inspecting your hive after a cold winter is one of the most exciting activities for a beekeeper (after honey harvesting of course!) and will help you to discover whether your pre-winter preparations paid off.
Often you’ll find that everything isn’t perfect – don’t worry, things are rarely as you’d expect!
This is one of the advantages of owning two hives for side by side comparisons – you’ll learn more from each colony’s unique temperament plus you’ll be able to offer support from a stronger colony if one is ailing.
When inspecting be on the lookout for good population numbers, a queen, healthy brood patterns and honey stores, and most importantly, look closely for pests and diseases and treat accordingly.
If you need help with your first spring inspection, we’re here to help! We have a swarm of resources available and a knowledgeable team on hand to offer support.
Apart from being able to harvest and share more honey, owning two hives ramps up your learning and understanding of the fascinating nature of bees.
Each colony is its own unique microcosm and community, with two you can compare colony strength, productivity, health and support ailing hives with queen cell transfers or brood if needed.
If you’re short on space, setting up a hive for a friend is an excellent opportunity to inspect and learn without the additional ownership.
If you’re an experienced beekeeper, you’ll know it’s time to assemble your brood frames and get your spare brood boxes built. With warmer weather, your queen will amp up her egg-laying which means your colony will expand. You don’t want to get caught out by a colony that’s ready to reproduce with nowhere to house them!
If you have a large, healthy hive it is possible to create a new colony from it by making what is called a split. The basic concept is that you take a portion of an established colony and transfer it to a separate hive thereby creating two colonies. They'll each have sufficient worker bee populations, stores and their own queen.
It’s a good idea to monitor your splits closely in the days following their creation. Make sure each has enough adult bees to care for the brood you have given them and take action if they do not.
“Beekeepers have many opinions on which is the best method. I am a total convert to foundationless frames. It’s a really tedious task waxing and wiring frames. It’s so much easier to let the bees build their own. It leaves the bees making their natural cells sized perfectly for their brood and it’s beautiful to watch them hang their natural comb in their brood nest.
Having said that, in some short season regions it is important to encourage the bees to get to the nectar flow as quickly as possible. It may be better to provide wax foundation as the bees will complete their brood comb more quickly” - Cedar Anderson
Catching a swarm of bees is one of the most joyous parts of beekeeping and it is an easy and free way to bolster your apiary! At this stage, they seldom have comb and are just a cluster of bees. Without the complication of comb, a beekeeper can easily scoop, shake or lower the swarm into their equipment and bring them back to their apiary.
There’s lots to learn when you start out beekeeping!
Spring time is crucial and with so much conflicting advice available online, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
So, in conjunction with the world's experts, we’ve created TheBeekeeper.org
It lets you fast-track your learning easily and enjoyably. Learn in your own time with high-quality videos explaining what you need to know in order to feel confident looking after your bees.
Help a newbee set up a hive or split your colony with a friend! It’s a great way to speed up your beekeeping knowledge.
Our Refer-A-Friend program allows your friend to receive €50 off their first hive, and you receive a sweet €50 reward.
If you don’t have a beekeeping buddy, consider linking up with someone local on the Flow Community Forum.
Yes it is possible to use Flow technology with Rapeseed Honey, as long as it is harvested before it crystallises.
Rapeseed oil (also known as oilseed rape and canola) normally blooms towards winter in the UK and other countries, and as such many traditional beekeepers will leave this for the bees for winter. Others actively remove the super knowing when rape-seed harvest is expected.
If you choose to leave your Flow Super on for winter with rapeseed honey, the bees will eat this honey and clean the frames out before the spring nectar flow.
As with any type of honey extraction, crystallisation can be an issue.
If honey has crystallised in the Flow Frames, you can either disrupt the cells in the frames by inserting the Flow Key and moving it to the harvest or open position. This will prompt the bees to remove the crystallised honey and repair the comb.
Alternatively, you can remove the Flow Frames from the super and soaked them in warm water to soften crystallised honey making it possible to harvest. This may be best done as a bench harvest so you can ensure the honey is flowing well or return the frames to the hive and harvest in the usual way.
Yes! The Flow Hive is successfully in use in all climates wherever beekeeping is possible, from hot climates to cold.
In cold climates, it’s important to ensure your bees have enough resources for overwintering and to harvest before crystallization occurs.
Some beekeepers in the cold climates prefer to use larger hives, either Flow Hives with 7 frames (equivalent to a 10 frame Langstroth) or a Flow UK National Super to provide extra resources for overwintering.
Although Flow Hives require an initial outlay, in the long run, the amount of time, effort and expensive extraction equipment required to harvest from a Langstroth hive make the pricing comparable.
Flow technology is the first of it’s kind in the world. As with any new invention, the pricing is reflective of this. We aim to do business with all those involved in the creation of our products in an ethical and sustainable manner, and this is a further contributing factor to the price of our products.
All plastics used are of the highest quality available, all timber used is sustainably sourced, harvested, and milled, which means it is more expensive than using lower grade, less environmentally conscious timber sources. All staff are paid fair wages and employed in fair-trade conditions.
We are endeavouring to make this premium product as accessible as possible, and have a range of options to suit different budgets.