Honey like cement
I saw a few posts in various forums about forage, in particular heather and ivy, although oilseed rape was also mentioned too. The issue with all of these is how viscous the honey can be and what the risk level is of clogging the Flow Hive.
What do Flow say?
My concern was with the Flow Hive frames as the last thing I’d want is to have gummed up frames. Reading the forums was confirming my worst fears and reminded me why you should never look up symptoms of illness on the Internet.
It seemed I needed some authoritative advice, so I reached out to Flow.
“While it will come out of the Flow Frames it will take a very long time so in these circumstances, we recommend that you remove the Flow Super because it will be a lot easier to harvest it as honeycomb.”
Flow size matters
This meant that in Scotland, which already has a short flow season (the window of available nectar flow), I’d be cutting short the amount of time the flow super was on and sticking on a normal super. Or would I? And if I did, what’s the actual point of getting a Flow Hive?
I consulted with the denizens of the Flow Hive UK Facebook community:
Mr S said: “I don’t find there’s enough flow in August onwards to need supers. I use that time for them to replenish stores in the brood box and therefore reduce the need for autumn feeding.”
This was chiming with my way of thinking given that heather and ivy are generally later in the season, meaning the earlier part is fine, although I do need to confirm this applies in our locale and micro-climate. The question is now. “Would it be best to whack on a super around then or let the brood build up?”
Mr H said: “John as with many beekeeping things there is no right answer it depends on area and strength of hive as well as strength of flow. I either double brood for winter (yes even nucs) or I do brood and a half for winter on the full-size hives.”
As Mr H said, there’s no real right or wrong so I’m going to have to play this by ear and be prepared.
The current outline for 2022 is to aim for two brood boxes to allow sufficient brood and stores for the bees to last 2022/23 winter and if (and only if) the brood boxes are at 80% , and it’s before the ivy or heather, I’ll put the flow super on, else a standard comb super. But in any case I’ll be very happy to have two 80% brood boxes heading in to 2022/23 winter.
If all is actually going to plan, I’ll add the flow super during the main season and I’ll see what I can do to draw out the comb super, maybe I’ll have two hives then but I think I’ll be very lucky to get that far.
Oh, I’m definitely getting a Flow Hive. If my hive splits or I gain another colony, the second hive will be Langstroth based for compatibility reasons and it might well be a Poly. In which case I might use either one to draw out the comb ready for when I might need it.
Until next time!