Bees won’t find their way into an empty beehive, even though it’s designed to be a perfect home for them. Here’s a number of ways to get bees to call a Flow brood box home.
A small nuc (nucleus) hive can be bought from reputable beekeeping suppliers. You could have a look online or ask your local beekeeping club/association who they recommend.
A nuc consists of four or five frames of brood and honey, along with a few thousand bees, including a queen bee. You buy these in the Spring, then place them in a standard box with extra wooden frames to complete the brood box. The bees will build these out as the colony expands.
Transferring bees from a nuc to a Flow brood box. Three more empty frames will be added in as well, to complete this 8 frame brood box.
Watch our videos below to see how to install a nuc into your brood box.
An alternative to a nuc is to purchase a package of bees. The package consists of several thousand bees and a queen, but does not include frames. In most countries you have to pick up your packaged bees from a supplier, in some places your bees can get posted in the mail. You tip the package of bees into your brood or nuc box and nurture them as they build their colony.
Watch the 3 part series below on how to install a package of bees with Michael Bush.
Someone with an existing colony may want to split their hive in spring to prevent their colony from swarming – and you could be the lucky recipient.
Check out Hilary Kearney’s blog post on Splitting your Hive in Spring for more information.
Watch our video below on how to do a hive split.
For this, you will need the assistance of an experienced beekeeper or bee club/association/society member who would be happy to set you up with a swarm when they catch one, or assist you with catching your own.
Swarm of bees on a branch, clipped out of a tree. It’s important to have an experienced beekeeper to help when catching a swarm of bees.
Watch the beginner beekeeping video below on how to catch a swarm.
Watch Cedar catch a swarm and learn how to, too! The two-part video is below.
Reach out to members of the Flow Forum for advice. Some of the members are incredibly knowledgeable and happy to share that knowledge – you never know, they may also be happy to split a hive with you. As they say, you never know until you ask!
Check out our Beginner Beekeeping series – here you’ll go over the basics of how to keep bees.
New colony foundationless comb – bees building out fresh comb in their home.
Something to consider is each startup colony has different benefits and slightly different techniques of installation and care.
Whichever you decide, we recommend you get in touch with a local bee mentor and join your local beekeeping club.
They’ll be able to offer advice relevant to your area – and may be able to help you with your startup colony.
They’ll also have you a wealth of information, to nurture and support you to become an enthusiastic, empowered and responsible beekeeper.