Flow Hive

After having been lambasted with the new “Flow Hive” articles over the past week or so, its time I share my thoughts on the matter. In general, I am wary of ‘new’ concepts especially in an industry where we are still using hives originally patented in October 1852.

Firstly, at the price it is going, its just not going to be commercially viable. That though wouldn’t be my concern.
Bees only have excess honey for harvesting at certain times of the year. And honey needs to be ripe before harvesting ( yes you read correctly, ripe ) So in fact, draining honey at anytime that you feel like, which I suspect is what most people envisage would be the case when owning such a hive, may be quite detrimental to the hive. And the honey may not be ripened properly.
The second selling point is “without disturbing the bees”. Well in truth, beekeepers inspect their hives to check for diseases and general health, and to determine if the honey is ripe, and to harvest the honey leaving enough surplus in the hive for the swarm to survive on. And in my experience, bees don’t mind being disturbed, if you know what you are doing.
Yes, some bees go to the happy forage grounds in the sky during an inspection or harvest. But think of a swarm as a group consciousness. Then losing a few individuals is like you shedding some bacteria through various bodily functions.

Its a fad and a novelty for the wealthy.

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Tales from the Hive

Beautiful documentary answering questions such as how is honey produced, how long do bees live etc.

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Buchu & Beeswax Lip Balm


Buchu & Beeswax lip balm now ready. Beeswax and Propolis tincture ingredients contribute to a lasting protective barrier. Buchu has traditionally been used to prepare antiseptic ointments, and Ribwort is known for tissue healing properties.

Ingredients: Beeswax, Organic Olive Oil(Crede), Buchu(Still Pure) and Lemon(Soil) essential oils, Ribwort, Propolis Tincture.

( Only Olive Oil and Essential Oils not produced by Slabber Apiculture )


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Uncapping Honeycomb

A short video showing part of the processing required to get the honey out of the comb. This also demonstrates the ‘cold process’, using a normal bread knife and uncapping fork instead of a heated knife to preserve the subtle flavours present in raw honey.

Uncapping honeycomb on frames from Frans Bresler Slabber on Vimeo.

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Bee-Inspired Wood Food

Handmade wood food manufactured from pure beeswax and raw linseed oil. Available directly from Slabber Apiculture at ZAR 150.00 per 300g tin. ( 350ml )

BeesWax_1 BeesWax_2 BeesWax_3

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Hive entrance size and Queen Excluders

I have had a prospective client, new to beekeeping, ask some questions and thought it may be of interest to beekeepers in general. Any additional comments and suggestions will be much appreciated.

Q: Should the inner lid have ventilation holes in them? Or should one keep 2 lids – a solid one for winter and a ventilated one for summer?
Q: Do you partly close up the entrance with wax or something else with winter on its way?

As with all questions in beekeeping there are as many answers as beekeepers. Personally I think it depends a lot on the area that you are keeping the hives in and whether the hives are in direct sun or in shade, near water etc. It is important to remember that bees want to keep hive temperature and humidity at a constant. And the harder they have to work to keep those internal factors constant, the more time and energy they are going to spend doing so, and less time on foraging firstly, and secondly, the food(nectar) that they do collect will be used to power the activities of maintaining hive temperature and humidity. Both factors thus reduce the honey they produce and of course may influence the health of the swarm overall. So factors such as changing the hive opening size, thickness of the hive enclosure walls, ventilation holes in lids make a difference.
I recommend a hole in the inner lid, it has worked well for me. But you do get that they start building comb in the lid when everything else is filled up, which is no problem on regular inspection. I do close half the entrance of my hives with a wooden block in June, July, August depending on the severity of the winter in the Cape. I have no experience of beekeeping in the summer rainfall areas with their freezing winters, but would suspect that hive opening reduction is a must.

Q: Do you encourage the use of queen excluders and if so, can you quote me on that too, please?

I use queen excluders. Some beekeepers do say that queen excluders reduces your honey production when you are experiencing heavy nectar flow ( eg. flowering stand of bluegums ). For starting out though, I would recommend using a queen excluder until such time as you can yourself experiment. There is also a beekeeper’s trick of using a piece of 3-ply cut to dimensions slightly smaller than the interior dimensions of you hive enclosure. The theory being that the queen does not leave the center of the hive so will most likely never move to the edges where the openings are to the top super combs. Thus no eggs will be laid in the super comb. I am still experimenting with that one, it certainly is a cheaper option. QEs can also be a pain, especially the metal framed ones, as they can host ant nests.

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Klein Joostenberg Honey Festival 2012

A truly festive and social gathering of beekeepers and industry related people. Thanks to all the support and for all the constructive advice on beehive design, that I received from the establish beekeepers. Here are a few photographs of exhibitors that I took during the course of the day. Thanks also to Lynnette Barnes of the Western Cape Bee Industry Association for all her hard work and organization. I am sure next year it will attract more interest.

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Honey Festival

At Klein Joostenberg, near Stellenbosch, on the 21ste March 2012 from 10am to 6pm. Slabber Apiculture will have a stall at the festival. Find a google map here.

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Opening of Beehive Factory

I am glad to announce the opening of brand new production premises at Unit 6, 13 Link Road, Gordonsbay Industrial Area as of today. The factory/shop will be open to the public from Saturday, the 24th of March. More updates on products and open times to follow.

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Mark Dae : Waar, Wanneer en Wat

Volgende mark dag is die 9de Julie 2011 by die Organiese Boere Mark te Spier. ( Vat die R44 of die R310 en draai by die Annandale pad in, die ingang is gemerk en op hierdie pad. ) Alle produkte word deur Slabber Byeboerdery vervaardig.

Mark Produkte

Mark Produkte

Van links na regs op die tafel;

byewas blokkie R10.00 – maak jou eie skoonheidsmiddel, leer beskermer of om jou koeksusterhare(dreadlocks) in te smeer.

byewas kers R15.00 – kom met ‘n gratis eikehout stander.

30 ml propolis tinktuur R100.00 – algemene antiseptiese gebruike, daaglikse gesondheids doepa en nog meer.

400g Franse Laventel en Suurlemoen bloeisel heuning R50.00 –  unieke geur en in groot aanvraag, vanuit my bye staanplek naby Stellenbosch.

400g Bloekom heuning R40.00 –  net deur ‘n growwe sif gesit, geen hitte ooit bygevoeg nie, vanuit my bye staanplek in Klapmuts.

750g Bloekom heuning R65.00-  net deur ‘n growwe sif gesit, geen hitte ooit bygevoeg nie, vanuit my bye staanplek in Klapmuts.

250ml Byewas & Roulyn hout voedsel R85.00 – gebruik sommer op leer ook en vir werkende hande.


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