The honey flow hive

Just about everyone I know has been asking me what I think about the Flow Hive. If you haven’t checked out the video, do it. It’s a nice video with some beautiful scenery. It describes a hive system that seems to allow honey to be extracted without pulling frames out of the hive.

I will admit that I haven’t seen the gear first hand or even talked to anyone who has. I’ve only seen the 5 minute video. From the looks of it, the system is pretty clever, but there are enough scenes of idyllic lazy honey dripping (directly onto food nonetheless) without the interest of any other bees that make me wonder what else is amiss with the system. Who knows? I think wider comments from people having experience with the hive system will help determine how useful it really is.

With the unknowns of how it really performs aside, I’m still a bit amazed by the perception of the problem it solves. Really all this system appears to do beyond any other hive system is make the honey harvest easier, less messy, and more mellow. Personally, I really enjoy the honey harvest time of year. For my handful of hives, the whole process takes about a week from the time I start getting hives prepped, have the honey frames removed, get the honey extracted, settled, put into jars, and gear cleaned up by the bees. Yes, the whole process takes a while, but the smell is delightful, the mess is delicious, I get cappings wax out of the process, and I find I am even more connected with my food. Honey harvest, as a process, is a good reason why I keep bees in the first place.

Ive been amazed at the people who suggest that an easier honey process would be the one thing that would get them into keeping bees. While there is the potential for significant convenience during a week of the year, the honey harvest is not the hard part of keeping bees. It’s not even the scary part. Keeping bees happy and healthy throughout the season, then through the winter, seems the be the challenging part of beekeeping.

I love seeing new people get into beekeeping, and I love seeing healthy happy hives of bees. I’ll remain hopeful that this new honey flow hive performs as advertised and addresses the right problems that people have making bees a bigger part of their lives.

Re-up your membership!

Just a heads up to everyone that we are looking to update the email list to reflect our 2015 membership at the end of the month. If you haven’t re-upped your dues and want to remain on the list, please bring in a membership form at the next meeting (the 22nd), or contact treasurer@ncwbees.com to get signed up again. Thanks!

Buying bees in 2015

It’s time to order bees! We have the following sources and options to choose from:
Item 1 — Charles Schaffer packages:
  • 3 lb. packages. Heitkam Honey Bees.  (no 4 lb)
  • First generation Sue Colby queens from breeders in California (Heitkam Honey Bees)
  • Carniolans unless Italians on request.
  • Marked queens
  • Available approximately 3rd week in April.
  • Delivered to Wenatchee
  • Price is $100 for 3 albs
  • Orders must be in by middle of March. Checks should be made out to the supplier, not NCWBA.

Item 2 — Charles Schaffer nucs:

  • Nucs are 2 five frame Medium boxes for a total of 10 medium frames.
  • Available end of May or first week of June.
  • Price $130 plus $20 refundable deposit for the nuc box
  • Orders must be in by middle of March. Checks should be made out to the supplier, not NCWBA.
  • Delivered to Wenatchee

Item 3 — Charles Schaffer extra queens:

  • Price is $30.
  • Same specs as the packages above
  • Orders must be in by middle of March. Checks should be made out to the supplier, not NCWBA.
  • Delivered to Wenatchee

Item 4 — Sunrise Honey nucs:

  • Carniolan or Carniaolan Italian cross
  • 5 deep frames
  • new marked queen in cage
  • cardboard nuc box
  • Available mid April
  • Price $110 no deposit
  • Extra queens $30
  • Orders must be in by middle of March. Checks should be made out to the supplier, not NCWBA.
  • Pick up in Yakima or Spokane (a club member may be making the pickup for everyone)

Item 5 — Ruben Klimok Outdoorbee nuts:

  • Queens grafted from WSU breeder stock.
  • Marked queens.
  • Carniolan or Italian
  • 5 frame established with laying queen in cardboard nuc box. Queen laying for 3 weeks then evaluated. (Medium frame nucs available)
  • Available mid to end of April.
  • Price $130
  • Orders must be in by middle of March. Checks should be made out to the supplier, not NCWBA.
  • If 30 or more orders will deliver to Wenatchee, otherwise Spokane. Someone from the club may make the pickup if there is sufficient interest.

For more information, please contact the package coordinators for the North Central Washington Beekeepers Association below.

Al Zalewski in Manson, (425) 238-5194, packages@ncwbees.com
Tim Bovee in Wenatchee, (509) 421-8802. packages@ncwbees.com

Beekeeping class scheduled for 2015

I will be teaching the Washington State Beekeepers Association Master Beekeeper Apprentice level class again this year. It is an excellent introduction to beekeeping, a great way to get connected with other beginning beekeepers, and a wonderful way to carve out some time to think bees for a little while. The class will be held from 9am-1pm on March 7, 21, and 28 (Saturdays) in Leavenworth at the PUD (building behind the fire station on Chumstick Highway).

The class will involve some lecture, discussion, some show-and-tell, and an apiary visit on the last day if the weather is warm enough to look in some hives. There is a 100 question True/False open-book test to get your apprentice certificate. Class size is 20, cost is $15 for the WA State Beekeepers Association certificate and patch. Class is limited to members of the NCWBA, but we are happily accepting new members now at the beginning of bee season. There should be an opportunity to purchase bees at the first class, so this could be a one-stop-shop for bees and education at the start of your bee season!

Please contact Kris Crilly (treasurer@ncwbees.com) to get signed up.

-Steve