We have added what we have been asked the most, but if your questions do not appear below, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We would gladly assist you with anything you would like to know.
Does a flow hive work in South Africa?
Absolutely, a flow hive works well with the Cape honey bee and African bee.
There was a study done on a wine farm in Stellenbosch a few years back, where a beekeeper did a trial on the flow hive. Find the post on our website.
Our own hives are also working very well and the bees took to the flow frames quickly and put them to good use.
Do the bees willingly build on the flow frames and fill them?
Yes, if you are adding a flow super onto a conventional hive, the bees will move straight up into the flow super and start building on the flow frames.
If you put out a baited hive, and a swarm moves in, it will be a few weeks before you notice bees in the flow super.
The bees first have to start building comb onto the brood frames, and once they have finished in the brood box, they start moving up to the super box.
How long does it take before I can harvest the first honey?
This will depend on whether you added a super flow kit onto an active hive or if you put out a baited hive to attract a swarm.
If you added a super flow kit to an active hive, the frames can be full in as quickly as 2 weeks if pollen and nectar is freely available close to the hive, and there is a strong swarm in the hive. In low rainfall areas, expect to wait much longer!
If you put out a baited hive, expect to wait 9 to 12 months for the first harvest. After the first harvest your swing around time will be much quicker.
How much honey comes out of a flow hive?
Each frame can hold up to 3kg of honey when full, so expect to harvest between 1 to 3 kg per frame.
How do I know when to harvest the flow frames?
You will wait for the bees to cap the honey cells off. With viewing windows, it is much easier to see the capping process without disturbing the bees.
Once the whole frame is capped, it is ready to harvest. Each frame can be harvested separately.
You can then harvest frames that are ready and leave frames that still need to be capped.
What extra equipment will I need to keep bees?
Though the harvesting process doesn’t require any equipment, health inspections and brood maintenance on the hive would. In order to open up a hive, you need a smoker, hive tool, bee suit and gloves.
Talk to an experienced beekeeper in your area, about what he recommends, and when to do it.
Do I need to wear a bee suit or gloves when I harvest honey?
This will depend on how aggressive the swarm of bees is that is in your hive. It is recommended to have at least a bee veil on, because getting stung in the face is no fun.
If harvesting on a warm early evening, the doors on the hive can be closed down keeping the bees in, which will prevent them from buzzing around while harvesting. It is possible to tap honey off at the back of the hive without any of the bees coming and going in the front to notice.
However, sooner or later all beekeepers get stung though! Some people have allergies to bee stings, so please be aware of the potential hazards when considering beekeeping as a hobby or profession.
Is there a best time of the day to harvest honey from a flow frame?
Any time of the day or night is fine, because the hive is not opened.
Things to keep in mind though, ambient temperature is a factor. With very cold weather, honey flow is very slow.
Try for the warm part of the day or night, so that the honey drains quicker. Most bees also tend to be more calm in the late afternoon.
Do I need to leave some honey in the flow hive for the bees?
Yes, this is the same with all beekeeping.
It all depends on how harsh your winters or summers are. If there are times of the year that no nectar is available, the bees will need honey to get them through the tough times. Consult with a beekeeper in your area about how much and when honey must be left in the hive for the bees.