Adding a super to Jarli's hive

by Flow Hive 15 min read

Cedar was home today, helping his son Jarli check on Jarli’s hives. Jarli’s sister Mela and aunt Mira also joined in. They added a super to one hive and cut out some tasty honeycomb to eat. Cedar answered some beekeeping questions too. 

 

 


Video Transcription


Cedar -

Thank you for joining us this morning. Today we've got the family here at my place. We've got Mela and we've got Jarli and Jarli has been putting some smoke in the entrances of the beehives just to calm them down a little bit. And then what we're going to do is show you how to put the super on. Hopefully one of these hives is ready to put the super on. The super is the top box, the honey harvesting box, which has our invention in it. So to do that, we're going to have to pull a hive apart and have a look and see if one of these hives is ready for the super. Jarli, was this the one you caught the swarm in?

Jarli -

Yeah.


Cedar -

Jarli was catching a swarm on top of the car all by himself, shaking it in the box. It was pretty cool. And now the bees are built up and almost ready to put the super on. That's it. You keep that puffing Mela, that keeps the smoker nice and lit. So let's just take the roof off. What we're going to do is then get a hive tool. You're doing a great job, Mela giving that smoker a lot. The idea is we are levering off this inner cover here just by putting the hive tool in like this. But before I do that, you might have noticed I haven't put my bee veil on. Before you let the bees out of the box, make sure you protect yourself, having gloves ready as well. I'm just going to do, up that zip all the way around.


Jarli -

I'm bored.


Cedar -

Okay. Well let's open the beehive and see what's inside. Who knows? There might even be a little bit of honey to lick in there. So here we go. Jarli's doing a great job. You're levering up that side.


Jarli -

The corner's got honeycomb.


Cedar -

Look at that. There is honeycomb. It looks pretty ready for a super, you know why? Because I'm seeing them starting to build honeycomb up on top and there's lots and lots of bees. I can see that they're finished drawing all of these combs out and I'm pretty sure they're ready for the super. I'm just me looking in case we can squash the queen. Sometimes she's sitting right up here under the lid. She's just a bit longer than the other bees. So she's got a big, long abdomen, bigger legs. She's not to be confused with these drones here, the drones look like big sort of Teddy bear-shaped bees. They're more fun to play with depending on your levels of what you think fun is, of course. here's my sister Mira joining in. She's going to grab a drone.

Because the queen could be on there. I'm going to put that right at the entrance. To pull out one of these frames, we just need to clear the bees away and the smoker does that really well. That's it. You think we can get this frame out and have a look at it? See if it's ready. There we go. Good. Good. So I think I might grab this one right in the middle and we'll just have a look at what's going on there. And if we smoke these bees away, we can actually get right in there without damaging the bees. Sometimes it's a little bit of smoke and wait for a little bit and the bees will get out of the way. And that lets us cut this piece of comb, which allow us to pull this frame out. So I'm trying to choose one that's nice and easy to pull straight up. I'm going to cut the comb away like that.


Jarli -

Can I eat it?


Cedar -

Well you could, but you're going to have to get it through your bee veil. So you might need to just put it aside away from the bees for now.


Jarli -

Oh yes.


Cedar -

Next we're going to go sideways a little bit just by wiggling down here. And we're just breaking the wax. It's holding these end bars together. Now the J-hooks under the end of here this way. Right? Okay. And now you can lever it and the frame should come upwards. That's it all done. So nice and slow and gentle. Because there's lots of bees down there, might even add a bit more smoke to get more bees out of the way We put this down by the entrance.


Jarli -

Well, could you get the other end?


Cedar -

I can do that for you. Okay. That's coming up now. You can put your tool down, that's it in your pocket. And if you grab each end, and slowly, slowly come up. And show that to Ruby holding the camera. Ruby's never held this camera before, so well done Ruby.


Jarli -

Oh wow.


Cedar -

So what we got here is all of the capped brood it's called. So the bees are going through their metamorphosis, changing from a grub into -


Jarli -

A bee! And also, some bees, like that one right there are feeding the baby grub bees.


Cedar -

That's right. Well noticed! You got your eye in here.


Jarli -

There and there and there and there and there and there and there and there and there. And that one’s a cool one. Oh, is that a drone? No, that's not a drone.


Cedar -

Let's have a look on the other side, more capped brood. So every one of those cells has a baby bee in it. So what we're going to see soon is an explosion of bees in your hive. There'll be so many bees that we need to put another box on. So this is perfect.


Jarli -

What?


Cedar -

Well, we need to put another box on to give them more room. Even though here we are in our autumn. So this time of year in places that get long, cold winters, aren't putting another box on, but here we are with some good honey coming in the be really building up and we get good flows in the wintertime. So we may as well put the super on and see how we go. That's this box here and Jarli's just explaining all of the parts of the box.


Jarli -

These are the Flow Frames, and you put the key in through these little caps down here. Pull them out, which is very hard. You sometimes need to do it with this tool. And you can do it.


Cedar -

So we're not quite ready to put the super on. You know why? Because we haven'treset the cells and some of them might have moved in transport and be not in line. If you have a look down here, you can see hexagon shapes. Now it's a little bit tricky with the angles, but what you've gotta do to make sure they're all forming a hexagon shape, is put that in the top slot. See how there's two slots there. That's an important bit of preparation. Now you just turn that. That's it done. So that's all you need to do to push them all down into position. Now we can do that to the frames while they're sitting in the box. Do you want to pull out all of these little caps?


Mela -

Dad, can I pull out one?


Cedar -

Yeah, you can pull one out if you can. It's a bit hard with gloves, but you're using the end of the hive tool. Good. We'll put them up here for the moment. You want to pull out that one And turn it?


Jarli -

Turn it.


Cedar -

That's it. But we didn't go all the way to the back. And that's another important thing to do. So you feel the knock at the back and then to the 90, that's it. Do you remember what 90 degrees means? That's it. Okay, go again. Jarli. How old are you?


Jarli -

Seven.


Cedar -

How old are you? Mela?


Mela -

Four.


Cedar -

Seven and four, that's a great fun age to be beekeeping. Here we go. Excellent. So important little thing to note and that's we want a nice flat face here and how you achieve that is by pushing all the frames to the front. The reason why you want that flat is you don't want any bees escaping between the frames. So have a look at the back here, you'd see there's a little adjustment screw and Jarli and I have adjusted all of these screws out. But have a look, we've forgotten one. So what I'm going to do is show you how to adjust that, to make sure the frames are pushed forward using this tool here. Okay. Mela's going to have a go at putting that last cap in. So all we need to do is lift up this frame here and unwind this screw a little bit. And then I'm going to wind it out a little bit like this. You want to help? Okay. Beautiful.


Jarli -

And then this big box goes on top and this thing will help to get queens not coming up, because the bees fit through there and the drones can't and the queen can't. We need to keep the queens out of the top box so they don't lay eggs in our honey.


Cedar -

That's it, well done. Okay. So what I'm going to do is get a bit of smoke. Mela, could you go behind Jarli there and just grab a smoker? There we go and I want you to pass some smoke on top here just to clear the bees out of the way for when we put the queen excluder on. So puff here, that's it. And tipping and blow it right down onto the bees. The reason why we were doing that is to help them get out of the way.


Jarli -

Make sure there's no bees on the edge.


Cedar -

That's right. So you can do that while you're putting it on just by nestling it down. Just gently, gently, rubbing it a little bit around until all the bees out of the way. The queen excluder's in place.


Jarli -

Dad, what if there's a queen on the lid?


Cedar -

Exactly, good thinking. So what we need to do before we put the lid on is just to have a really good look for the queen, or just shake all the bees off at the entrance. But it's good to have a look because the queen sometimes can't find her way back in if you shake her off. So now we need to get the right way around. We want to do the harvesting at the back.


Jarli -

Oh, there's a squished bee here.


Cedar -

Oh, that happens sometimes. Okay. So there.


Jarli -

Now we've got a high hive and a low hive.


Cedar -

So I'm looking at this. Most of the bees have walked back into the entrance. But I will have a look just in case the queen might be there. I can't see any queen. So I'm pretty happy that she's in the bottom box. I can see a drone there.


Mela -

Can I have it?


Cedar -

It's going to be hard with your gloves. They're good ones to play with without the gloves. Because they don't have the stinger.


Jarli -

I just want a little bee.


Cedar -

Okay. So what we can do shake the rest of the bees off. So to get bees off something, give it a quick shake like this and you get a lot of the bees off and you can put that right on top like that. Now we've successfully put your super on.


Mela -

The bees are going in there.


Cedar -

They're already exploring it. Are they? That's great. We've put the super on. This is a split, this hive. Jarli took a split first and then we found a swarm. And so that's this one. So his little apiary is building up. So Jarli why did you want to start keeping bees?


Jarli -

Because it's mine, and also I wanted a pet and I didn't have one.


Cedar -

And what are you going to do with the honey?


Jarli -

Sell it at a roadside store sell half of it and eat half of it.


Cedar -

Awesome. Bees are coming in and out of the entrance. Okay. Mela's climbing up the mountain. Jarli's putting the roof on. Excellent. So now you can open the side windows and just have a look at the bees exploring the super.


Jarli -

Oh, the bee has got killed in there.


Cedar -

Really?


Jarli -

Yes.


Cedar -

Uhoh, what happened? That was that one that squashed before.


Jarli -

Yes. And it had half the body still in there.


Cedar -

Mm, dear. Sometimes that happens. We try and as careful as we can be.


Jarli -

You see, I have to twist these handles here like that.


Cedar -

Okay. Can you see something in the back?


Mela -

Yeah. There's a bee in there daddy.


Jarli -

If you want to harvest honey, you pull off these caps. You get this piece and these little things and it turns into shelf where you put your jar. Then open these at the top and the bottom.


Cedar -

That's beautiful. You're putting it all back together. So you can put the back door on the hive now. You've done a great job there.


Jarli -

And that is our full hive.


Cedar -

That's a full Flow Hive. So we can check this and watch the bees getting up in there. Watch them do their work. Watch them through the window. It's not going to look like much yet, but you can see a few bees already coming up to explore the space. It's nice just to have a look.


Jarli -

Do they just fly back to their own hive?


Cedar -

Generally they'll fly back to their own hive, but sometimes if the wind's strong and they're laden with nectar and they get blown over there, they'll just go, this will do. And you know what? The bees will let them in if they've got nectar and pollen. If they're not they'll, they'll kick them back out. So they will keep bees away that are just coming to steal the honey. So let's open up this other hive and do a bit of a brood inspection.


Jarli -

There's lots of honeycomb in this hive.


Cedar -

There is. You want me to cut some out so you've got some honey to eat after?


Jarli -

Yeah.


Cedar -

Let's just take out one with some nice honeycomb and we'll cut a little bit out for the kids. Right? Wow. Have your bees been busy or what? Look at that beautiful honey.


Jarli -

Beautiful honey. Are we going to cut some out or are we going to leave it?


Cedar -

We'll cut a little bit out and leave the rest for the bees.


Mira -

Have a look at that next one. I think that next one's a little bit more capped than this one. This one's still got some brood at the bottom, so I'm going to put this one back in and we'll grab that next one over. And again, we go sideways. I need to get this little one in here first, now you can help me


Cedar -

Look at that. The honeycombs coming up. Look at that brood all the way out towards the edge. That's a really good sign that we have a nice virile hive producing a lot of bees. It'll be ready for a super now as well.


Jarli -

There's a hive beetle in there, there's two.


Mira -

There are few small hive beetles at this time of year.


Cedar -

Jarli's spotted the hive beetle. We're going to have to shake some of the bees off and we won't add too much smoke because we don't actually want to flavour the honey with smoke here. But what we can do is just get a little bit of foliage. This is my favourite bee brush because it doesn't store pathogens. There we go.


Jarli -

Can I do it?


Cedar -

Yeah, you can do it too. What we want to do is just sweep gently across the comb, brushing any bees off. Here we go. There we go. All those bees are getting off nicely. This is naturally drawn comb. We can just cut a bit out and put it straight back in. Now it's a little bit delicate. Let's see how we go. Ready? Beautiful. Yeah. So that fell right out.


Jarli -

Wow, how do you do that?


Cedar -

That's beautiful. Isn't it? Maybe we can enjoy that piece of honeycomb and you know what? The bees will fill that in super quick. And what you'll get is a different type of honey in the comb here.


Jarli -

It's dripping a bit.


Cedar -

It is dripping. We might put that back in the hive for the bees to clean up. We'll drop that right back in. So come over here and put that gently down into the hive again. So you want to hold the top bars, which are here and here. Gently putting that back in and those busy bees get to work filling in. Actually a lot of work actually chewing that comb away to make the right bee space so they can service the frame.


Jarli -

It's the love heart frame. Oh, they've already started filling in that at the bottom.


Cedar -

They're starting to lick it up and they'll be repairing away. This bee's got two pieces of capping there and it's dragging it along.


Jarli -

Hey, I have a bee on my suit.


Cedar -

Apologies, we've been a bit busy with the family here to answer many questions. But the kids are going to go inside now and eat that honeycomb, and we'll get to answering your questions.


Beekeeping Questions

I notice that you're putting a super on in late autumn. Is that normal in your area?

Here we are in a subtropical region where we actually get some decent honey flows over the winter. So we're putting it on knowing that it doesn't get that cold here. In some tropical places, you'll get better honey in the winter than in the summer. In the Northern hemisphere, people will now be installing their bees and getting ready to be putting their supers on. So it's timely to do that, to show you how to, to prepare your super and put it on. And thanks to Jarli and Mela and their little beekeeping efforts here this morning.


Would you recommend waiting until the bees have filled up two brood boxes before adding a super?

I wouldn't do that. I like to keep it in a smaller configuration. If you wait for the bees to fill two brood boxes, you could be waiting a long time before you put on the super. I always put the super on a single brood box. And if I do want to add another box, I'll do it after they've already started to use the Flow super. Otherwise you'll be waiting a long time and you might miss the season with the Flow Frames and not be able to extract in that beautiful, easy way. It does depend on the season and where you live as well. So some in some places they like to keep a full box of honey for the winter. And so in some places they might put just a half a box extra on or another whole box. So ask your local beekeepers as well how much honey they need for the winter and you may need to feed them in winter also.


Do you ever have wasp problems? Wasps have been fighting and killing our guard bees. (Tasmania, Australia)

You might like to reduce the entrance down, so your bees can defend themselves more easily. We've got entrance reducers we sell, or we can make your own just by putting some sticks in the entrance to, or if you're in a hurry just even some straw or grass in the entrance to narrow it down so the bees can defend it better.


Do you leave the Flow Hive at the three-degree angle all the time? Or just when you are harvesting the honey?

Just leave it atthree degrees all the time. That makes it nice and easy. You don't have to pick up the hive and adjust it and all of that when you're trying to harvest. And it also means the leak-back point, which is at the back here can let honey drain back into the hive.


What's the best way to get healthy bees?

So the way to get healthy bees is to get them off a bee breeder. They breed for hygienic traits. They breed for nice and gentle traits. And those two things mean they will be a pleasure to work with. And so that's the best way. Sometimes you'll catch a swarm and you don't know whether it's going to be grumpy or not. But either way, getting started is the main thing with whatever way you go.


When should you add a super to your hive?

The time to add the super is when the bees are ready and you've got a honey flow ahead. The brood box should be full and busy with bees. So in our climate, it's a warm time of year. But in other areas you'd be waiting longer for the be to start working the Flow Frames. However, if it's a colder time and you know, there's not much honey coming up ahead, then don't put the super on because that'll just make things a bit harder for them to keep their brood nest warm with a big empty box above, and not enough bees to fill that box.

 

 

We better start putting the hive back together. The tone of the bees, you can hear that they're just getting a little bit annoyed with being open so long. Their pitch is a bit louder and a bit higher. Okay. So this one's just going to go straight on there, and then the roof can go on. And we can say thank you bees for your show and tell, and your amazing effort making that comb that the kids are now enjoying inside.

Thank you very much for tuning in and being patient with us getting onto the questions and explain how the Flow Hive works. Certainly enjoyable for me to do this with my children and do something that's out of the house and out in nature, learning about things and getting their curiosity going. Tune in next week for another Q & A.



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