All Frequently Asked Questions
All 95 FAQs, sorted by most recent:
95. Adding brood boxes or supers of different wood-types
Just as no honeycomb structure is exactly the same in a beehive, so too does the thickness of our Araucaria and Western Red Cedar timber products differ.
There is a small variance in the thickness of timber between our Western Red Cedar and Araucaria products, this means mixing brood boxes or supers of different timber-type may result in a minor overhang of up to 5mm.
Although this gap should not be significant enough to allow bees to escape, the boxes will not sit completely flush with each other.
This should not impair the functionality of the hive as the internal dimensions should still align.
We have many Flow beekeepers who choose to mix-and-match Flow Western Red Cedar and Araucaria brood boxes and supers, without any qualms.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/adding-brood-boxes-or-supers-of-different-wood-types/p/329
94. Managing cross comb
The most important part of foundationless beekeeping is getting the bees to build straight combs. Once you remove the foundations, there’s nothing stopping the bees from building in any direction they please. More often than not, they will build across multiple frames if you give them the chance. The result is that you will have a very hard time pulling up frames without destroying comb and angering your bees. You may be able to avoid this by installing comb guides.
It's advised to complete regular inspections while the frames are being built out. This way you can correct any cross comb before it becomes an issue.
What to do if your bees to build cross comb:
The best way to handle cross-combs is to avoid them in the first place with comb guides, and by performing routine inspections as the comb is being built out.
Fixing mild cross-comb:
In most cases, the bees will initially build straight and then flare out and connect to the neighboring frame. It is recommended to remove any empty or straight frames from the brood box to give yourself room to work on the crossed-comb. Separate the comb that has started to attach, from the neighboring frame by cutting the comb away from the top, bottom and side of the frame. Pull the next door frame (now no longer attached) out of the way, and gently push the flared piece of comb into it’s correct frame. Use a rubber band to secure it in place.
Once you have corrected the combs, you may want to reorder your frames to prevent more cross-combs. For example, you may move a frame where the comb has not been completely drawn out between two straight frames that have already been drawn. This boxes in the partially empty frame and will prevent the bees from building it crooked again.
Fixing advanced cross-comb:
In extreme cases, you may find yourself with several frames or even an entire box of comb built perpendicular to the frames. Once again, your first step is to remove any empty or straight combs to give yourself room to work.
If this cannot be done, you will need to break comb to pull out the first frame. Select one of the outer frames and smoke the area heavily to drive the bees out of harm’s way. Then pull the frame up the best you can. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid damaging the comb with advanced cross-comb.
You may want a container with a lid to place leaky, damaged combs. You will likely not be able to save them and are better off harvesting or discarding them. Now, you perform a bit of surgery. Try to make the least number of cuts to extract whatever straight pieces of comb that you can. Separate them entirely from the frames and then use rubber bands to secure them within the frames again, this time, going the proper direction.
Once again, you may want to rearrange your frames to prevent further incidents of crossing. The trick is not to place two frames with gaps in the same place next to each other.
93. Hybrid hive / colony maintenance
The Hybrid gives beekeepers the advantage of being able to manage their colony by rotating frames between the brood box and the super. This can be beneficial for keeping your worker population strong and can also help with winter preparations or encouraging the bees into the super for quicker uptake.
If you notice a strong honey flow, and your bees are busy filling frames, you might want to consider storing traditional frames outside of the hive for winter feeding. To do this you will need extra traditional frames to replace for the ones you have removed.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/hybrid-hive-colony-maintenance/p/327
92. How to add the Hybrid Super to your brood box
How to know when your Brood Box is ready to add the super:
- You need to open up the brood box so will need to take safety precautions and use the appropriate safety gear
- It is important to install your bees in the brood box and wait until they are fully established before adding the Hybrid Super. This can take anywhere between 1-8 weeks (longer if conditions are not favourable), depending on whether you have a nuc or package of bees, and will vary greatly depending on the time of year and the local resources available for your bees.
- We supply foundationless frames with our brood boxes, as we think it’s beneficial for the bees to build their honeycomb from scratch. Many beekeepers also use foundation in their frames as it requires less maintenance when the bees are first establishing themselves in the brood box. When using foundationless frames it’s a good idea to inspect the brood box whilst the colony is building the comb to prevent the bees building cross comb in the frame. This way if they have run off course, you can gently nudge the comb back in place.
- Remember to keep all of the Brood Frames tightly together towards the centre of the box. If there is an extra space this should be distributed evenly on the outer edges of the brood box to further reduce the risks of cross comb. For best results it is recommended that you check to ensure that all 8 Brood Frames have been drawn out and contain substantial comb before adding the Hybrid Super. The combination of a full Brood Box and a significant amount of bees will help to encourage your bees to make fast progress on the Flow Frames.
- Once you are ready to add your Flow Hybrid Super to the Brood box, you need to place the Queen Excluder between the two boxes to prevent the Queen from moving into the super and laying eggs in your super frames.
- Next, place your Flow Hybrid super on top of the queen excluder. The Hybrid should be setup with the 3 Flow Frames pushed together in the centre and secured in place with the supplied screws or dowel. Make sure you reset your Flow Frames before adding them to the Super to ensure they are in correct alignment.
- The extra traditional timber frames need to be added 2 on either side of the Flow Frames. These should be pushed up close to the Flow Frames with any gaps in the super to the outside edges- this will help the bees to build straight comb. The Flow Hive Hybrid 3 super comes with special brood frames slots to ensure that the spacing is even and optimal.
- Double check there are no gaps on the edge of where the Key Access cover sits which would allow bees to exit when you are harvesting. The Flow Hive Hybrid Super comes with modified timber panels to prevent this.
- You can choose to swap a brood frame with one of your traditional frames to encourage fast progress in the super.
91. How to collect honeycomb from your hive
One of the greatest benefits of the Flow Hybrid is the ability to harvest both Flow honey and traditional honeycomb from the same super.
To harvest honeycomb you need to open the super– it is important to use safety precautions and equipment when doing so. Please see our Flow sponsored safety pamphlet covering common beekeeping safety risks and first aid responses.
First, remove the roof, and then carefully remove the traditional frame that you want to harvest.
You need to check to ensure that the frame is ready and fully capped– otherwise the moisture content in the honey may be too high, and may lead to fermentation.
Care needs to be taken move slowly and gently, or there is a real risk of damaging the comb, as well as disturbing the bees.
Once you are ready to harvest you need to remove the bees from the comb. To do this you can gently brush the bees off using a soft brush or tree branch.
When bees are removed from the frame you need to take it away from the hive to remove the comb so that bees are not attracted to the honey.
Using a small knife or a hive tool carefully remove the honeycomb from the foundation, taking care to remove it from the bottom edge so that when you add the frame back into the hive, the bees will hopefully continue to build comb again from the top foundation strip.
It is best to use foundationless frames for honeycomb harvesting, however if you do happen to use frames with foundation, you will need to be careful to not cut the wires.
It is also possible to collect honeycomb and correct uneven comb that may contain largely built out sections (which in turn affects the comb built alongside it) by carefully cutting off the section which is protruding. The same steps need to be taken for this process (removing bees from the frame etc). Just cut off the section which is sticking out and replace the comb back into the hive.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-to-collect-honeycomb-from-your-hive/p/325
90. How much honey & honeycomb does the Flow Hive Hybrid 3 produce?
When the super is full you can harvest up to 9 kgs (20 lb) of Flow honey from the 3 Flow Frames in the Super. This is in addition to the 4 x frames of honeycomb that you can also harvest.
Each Flow Frame holds approximately 3 kg (6.5 lb) of unprocessed honey, this can increase if the bees really build each frame out. Bee prepared with extra jars in case your first one overflows!
Watch as fresh, pure unfiltered honey Flows from the back of the hive directly into your own jars. No filtering, no mess.
Collect fresh honeycomb from the Flow Hive Hybrid (with a beesuit on!) as a tasty snack, excellent as a gift to friends and neighbours. Chew the honeycomb until all the honey is gone, then melt down the wax for lip balms, shoe polish or even make some wax wraps of your own.
Serve a sliver of warm honeycomb with soft goats cheese and a dry cracker. Heaven!
A great thing about harvesting with Flow technology is that as soon as honey is ready and capped, you can harvest, meaning that it may be possible to harvest several times throughout a nectar flow– or leave it until you are ready!https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-much-honey-honeycomb-does-the-flow-hive-hybrid-3-produce/p/324
89. Timber & its natural colour variations
Timber included in our products is made from naturally grown resources making each hive slightly different in character.
We are passionate about our ecological footprint and have made the decision to minimise waste and to utilise as much timber as possible during manufacturing.
Timber components for our products may arrive with an array of colour variations- for Western Red Cedar you can expect to see yellowish white to a dark reddish brown and for Araucaria white to cream or light brown.
The timber may also include small cosmetic inconsistencies such as timber knots, growth rings and minor chips. These natural timber characteristics will not affect the functionality of your product and may even add to the character and uniqueness of your hive.
You can find more information on our ethical timber sourcing here.
Our beehives are designed for outdoor use and will be exposed to the elements making them susceptible to wear over time. We recommend providing additional protection for your timber components to increase their longevity.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/timber-colour-variations/p/306
88. How many brood boxes should I use?
As with many beekeeping questions opinions vary on this one.
There are many factors that can affect this decision including local climate and colony size— so it's a great idea to consult with local beekeepers or jump onto our forum to assist in finding the perfect set up for you.
In our experience either one or two brood boxes work well. In our region we have found that running a single brood box will lead to honey being stored in the Flow frames much earlier, especially when your bees are using them for the first time.
If you decide to use two brood boxes and are concerned about a slow uptake on your Flow Frames, it is possible to add the Flow Super first on a single brood box. Once the colony expands and the Flow super is totally packed with bees storing honey, then add a second brood box or honey super to give the colony more space if needed. A good place to start is the Beginner Beekeeping Videos. Please note - it is important to consult with local experienced beekeepers to ensure that this practice will suit your climate.
Remember, bees will happily live in a mailbox, wall cavity, tree hollow, a beehive with a single brood box or a beehive with multiple brood boxes. So in the end it is best to seek local knowledge and experience and make up your own mind.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-many-brood-boxes-should-i-use/p/231
87. Leaking roof
If the roof of your Flow Hive is leaking consider the following treatments:
- Paint the roof with a standard exterior-grade paint. A couple of thick coats of paint can be enough to seal small leaks. Ensure you work the paint into the small gaps, and apply paint liberally to the joins between each of the roof panels.
- Apply a sealant externally to the joins between panels and any holes or areas that may be admitting water (e.g. silicone roof and gutter sealant). Discuss your needs with your local hardware shop to determine the most appropriate product available.
A strong colony of bees who have access to the roof cavity may also resolve water leaks as the bees themselves will fill any gaps with their propolis and create their own weather proofing.
See also our FAQ What paint or varnish is safe to coat my Flow Hive with?https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/leaking-roof/p/209
86. Flow Hive brood frames
The wooden brood frames we supply can be used in 4 different ways:
1. Foundationless frames
Assemble the frame with some glue and the supplied nails. Glue or nail the provided wooden strip into the slot in the top bar of each frame to act as a comb guide, they are now ready for your hive. The wooden comb guide sets the starting point from which the bees draw out natural comb.
Four tips for successfully using foundationless frames:
- When you add them to your brood box, press the frames tightly together so the spacing is correct for the bees to start their comb. Leave any excess space towards the edges of the box.
- Make sure the hive is flat and level horizontally (ie: from side to side direction), so that as the bees build comb it is more likely to hang inside the frame.
- If you are starting from scratch in a hive (i.e. no other frames already built), check every few days to make sure they are building comb on the guides. If the comb starts to wander off the guide, push it back into place with your hive tool. Generally, once your bees build a few straight combs the rest will follow on the comb guides.
- When inspecting fresh foundationless comb, keep the frame vertical. Be careful not to tilt the frame in such a way that the comb will break off.
Foundationless frames are becoming increasingly popular and have many benefits. For more information please see Michael Bush's website http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoundationless.htm and also this great blog post 'Foundationless fabulousness' by Hilary Kearney.
2. Wax foundation
Use a full sheet of wax foundation* and mount it into the frame. To do this you will need to thread wire through the holes in the sides of the frame in order to support the wax. Once the wire is tightened it is usually electrically heated to melt it into the wax foundation sheet. This method gives the bees a sheet to start on so it will be less important to check that they are building straight comb, although they will still build wonky or ‘off-square’ sometimes.
e.g. Video: Adding wax foundation to frame
3. Starter strips of wax foundation
This is a similar method to the foundationless frames method outlined above, but instead of using a wooden strip as a comb guide you use a 20 mm wide strip of wax foundation* to give the bees a starting place for their comb. Melted beeswax can be used to stick the wax strip into the slot in the top bar.
4. Plastic foundation
Use a prefabricated sheet of plastic foundation* and assemble the frame around the plastic foundation. You do not need the wooden strip comb guides for this method. It’s less important that the hive is level in this case, but it’s still a good idea to make sure it’s sitting fairly flat and level. Most beekeepers rub beeswax on plastic foundation as the bees will take to it more quickly.
*Wax foundation and plastic foundation sheets can be purchased from a commercial beekeeping supply store.
“Beekeepers have many opinions on which is the best method. I am a total convert to the foundationless frames. It’s a really tedious task waxing and wiring frames. It’s so much easier to let the bees build their own. It leaves the bees making their natural cells sized perfectly for their brood and it’s beautiful to watch them hang their natural comb in their brood nest.
Having said that, in some short season regions it is important to encourage the bees to get to the nectar flow as quickly as possible. It may be better to provide wax foundation as the bees will complete their brood comb more quickly.”
Beginner Beekeeping Ep 3 - Setting up brood box frames
Watch more Beginner Beekeeping Videos here.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/flow-hive-brood-frames/p/208
85. Wintering your Flow Hive
We cannot emphasise enough that it is best to consult local beekeepers on this and other beekeeping questions. If there is a bee club near you, we encourage you to join it. You will get several opinions on what to do – and will be able to pick the most suitable approach for your situation.
Wintering preparations will vary greatly depending on your local climate—in areas that have mild winters with winter forage, considerations will be far fewer then for areas which experience freezing conditions.
There are two main concerns for a beehive over the winter months; the colony starving, and the queen becoming stranded below the queen excluder.
This response is specifically oriented toward overwintering the Flow Hive where cold conditions make it necessary to make winter preparations, (you can also find plenty of general information about overwintering bees on the web - our forum is a great place to start).
Our standard Flow Hive Classic consists of a brood box and a Flow Super. In cold climates the general recommendation is for the bees to have a super full of honey for their food during the cold months. If you have a reasonably full Flow Super at the end of your nectar flow season you can leave it on the hive for the bees to use over the coming months. This will ensure they will not starve; however, you also need to ensure the queen can access these honey reserves. During a cold winter the bees do not forage but will steadily use up the honey stores in order to stay warm. The queen will not be laying brood at this time, so the colony will cluster around the honey that it is consuming. This means that the cluster may gradually move up into the honey super over winter.
If you have a queen excluder in place the queen will not be able to move up with the colony and will die. Therefore, it is recommended that you remove the queen excluder as part of your preparation for winter. Of course you will probably want to replace the queen excluder as the warmer weather arrives and you will have to ensure that the queen is actually in the brood box before you do so.
We also recommend insulating the top of the hive by putting Styrofoam, wool insulation, etc. between the top cover and the hive roof. To minimise cold draughts; you may also put the corflute slider in the top position and reduce the size of the entrance to being just 30mm / an inch or so wide.
Some cold climate beekeepers prefer to reduce their hive to one box, the brood box, over winter. There are usually one or two frames of honey on each side of the brood, and this plus the option of feeding them a sugar solution either before or after the coldest months gets the colony through the winter. This eliminates issues with the queen excluder and there are advantages to the bees being confined to a smaller space. If you decide to take this approach, at the end of your nectar flow season extract the honey in the Flow Super and leave it in place for a day for the bees to clean, then remove the Flow Super with Flow Frames and queen excluder and replace the top cover and roof on the brood box adding some insulation in between.
To store your Flow Frames wash them in warm to hot water and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them in a cool, dry, dark* location for the winter.
*The Flow Frame plastic is UV sensitive.
These two options apply to the complete Flow Hive setup with a single brood box and Flow Super; however, with advice you may want to add an extra brood box or standard super to your hive giving you more choice in overwintering configurations.
HOW TO PACK DOWN A FLOW HIVE FOR WINTERhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/wintering-your-flow-hive/p/206
- 84. What do I need to check before I harvest my Flow Hive / Frames? 16,844 views
83. Why aren't my bees filling the Flow Frames?
There could be many reasons why the bees aren't filling the Flow Frames.
The two main things we have found that increase the rate at which bees fill the frames for the first time are:
Lots of bees on the Flow Frames.
This is the main factor. If there are not many bees when you look in the rear window and the side window, it will probably take some time for the bees to build up and start working on the Flow Frames.
A good nectar flow.
Honey won’t be stored in your hive, regardless of the number of bees, unless there are enough flowers around with plenty of nectar.
Suggestions for encouraging the bees to get working on the Flow Frames sooner:
- If you have other honey supers on the hive, removing some or all of them so that the Flow Super fills with bees is likely to get much faster results.
- Pressing some beeswax into the surface of the Flow comb can encourage them to get working on the Flow Frames earlier. You can use chunks of burr comb, wax foundation or wax cappings. The bees will then re-distribute the wax onto the Flow Frames and start working them.
- Heat up some beeswax and paint it onto the Flow Frame surface. If you try this, be careful not to get too much wax in the base of the cells or in the upper movement mechanism, as this may jam the mechanism when it comes time to harvest.
- The feedback we’ve received so far is that many beekeepers are saying the bees filled all the Flow frames quickly - sometimes in a week or two, and some are saying it took quite a while for the bees to start work on the Flow Frames for the first time.
Bees don’t always do what we would like them to. We received feedback from one customer who had two Flow Hives beside each other of similar strength. While one hive filled the Flow Frames quickly, the other is taking its time to start on the Flow Frames.
If your bees are taking their time to start storing honey in the Flow Frames you may like to try try one of the solutions suggested above. Please let us know how your hive goes.
What to expect as the bees start to work on the Flow Frames:
- First the bees tend to seal the joins in the bottom of each cell, they will use either new wax they produce or recycle wax from elsewhere in the hive;
- Then they start to complete the cell walls;
- Then they start to fill the cells with nectar;
- Then they draw the combs out beyond the Flow Frame with their wax;
- Typically, they start toward the centre of each frame and work their way out towards the edge;
- Once the honey is ready and the cell is full, they cap it with wax;
- When you can see mostly capped cells in the end frame view, it’s likely that the rest of the frame is mostly capped and ready for harvest.
We have done a lot of testing with Flow Frames in the same hive box as other types of traditional frames.
The preference from hive to hive varies, but we have generally found that naturally drawn comb on a wooden starter strip is built on first, followed by Flow Frames and wax foundation at a similar time. Plastic foundation typically seemed to be the last to be built on.
Bees waxing the gaps:
Capped side window:
Bees capping a flow frame:
82. What feeders will work with a Flow Hive?
Where we are located in Australia there are flowers most of the year round, so feeding isn’t usually necessary. However, many parts of the world have long winters where bees may need to be fed. This is necessary when there are no flowers available for foraging and there are not enough honey stores in the hive to feed the bees through the colder months.
Here are some feeders that can fit a Flow Hive. There is lots of discussion and debate on feeding bees- the two more popular options seem to be sugar water feeding and dry sugar feeding (Note: use white sugar rather than raw or brown sugar).
Some people make a feeder by putting small holes in the lid of a jar, filling with sugar water and placing over the hole in the inner cover. There are also commercially available feeders. Note, small jars or feeders may fit under the Flow Hive gabled roof. Larger feeders may need more space, which can be gained by using a spare bee box on top of the inner cover.
CAUTION: As always wear a bee suit when working your bees
DO NOT feed supermarket honey to your bees. It may contain American Foulbrood spores.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-feeders-will-work-with-a-flow-hive/p/188
81. Can I Become A Flow Distributor?
Thanks to the huge public support for our crowdfunding campaign, and the fantastic buzz that Flow's revolutionary honey harvesting technology has created around the globe, Flow hives are being delivered to customers in 134 countries around the world.
We know that Flow technology has enormous international potential, and we're looking for distributors to help us reach more customers, especially in countries where English is not the native language. We feel that a local distribution company will be able to reach and serve customers more effectively than we can.
If you are interested in distributing for Flow, please complete the appropriate form for each country that you are applying for.
Flow Distributor Application Forms
Please complete Form A if each of these points describe your business:
- a) Your current business revenue is > $1,000,000 USD per annum, or
b) Your current business revenue is > $500,000 USD per annum and you work in sustainability, agriculture or the management of premium brands
- Your Business Operations include: Import & Distribution, Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, (including Social Media) and has sophisticated IT and Financial Management systems
- Your website allows ecommerce transactions
- You employ a minimum of 8 staff
- Your business has high standards of ethical conduct regarding working conditions for staff, environmental sustainability and integrity in business, and can demonstrate its commitment to working toward a healthy world
Please note - all criteria must be met for this category of applicant.
If some, but not all are met, then please be sure to complete Form B below.
Please complete this form if you meet these criteria:
- A passion for sustainability & the environment & a belief that you can help Flow Hives build a fantastic presence in your area
- You are an individual or company with high standards of ethical conduct regarding working conditions for staff, environmental sustainability and integrity in business, and can demonstrate a commitment to working toward a healthy world
The form will take 15 - 60 minutes to complete, and we will give preference to distributors who have proven presence, connections and distribution ability
Thank you so much for your interest.
The Flow Teamhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-become-a-flow-distributor/p/187
- a) Your current business revenue is > $1,000,000 USD per annum, or
80. Identifying your Flow Frame model / version (BZ?)
To identify exactly which part is required to suit your Flow Frame model number:
- Embossed in the bottom left corner of your Flow Frame is the model number
- It will read BZ*
[where * is a single digit]
79. Leaking honey from my Flow Hive
It's not uncommon for the frames to leak a small amount of honey inside the hive whilst harvesting. This is usually not a problem as the bees will mop up the excess honey even if it reaches the bottom of the hive.
The amount of honey leakage that occurs will depend on the way the bees have capped the cells and also how you set up your hive for harvest.
In most cases the amount of honey that leaks is minimal, however there have been a few reports of more significant leakage. To ensure that there is no risk of flooding the brood below the Flow Super, we recommend only harvesting 1-2 frames at a time for your first harvest to ascertain whether there is any leakage and if so, what steps need to be taken to reduce the impact that this has on your hive.
There are many factors which could contribute to this issue including partially capped frames, inverted capping and incorrect hive setup for harvesting.
Ensure that the honey tubes are inserted firmly and correctly with the tongue in the honey-leak-back gap, and that the hive is sloped towards the outlet.
If you have connected the honey tube to a container, ensure that air can escape from the container. In your efforts to make it bee-proof don’t make it air-tight otherwise the honey will back up in the tube and overspill the edges of the trough inside the hive.
Placing the Corflute Slider (white plastic slider in the base board) in the upper position will help to make any honey spillage reachable for the bees to reuse.
If you do experience leakage with your initial frame we recommend that you check your remaining frames are all capped and ready to harvest.
If you do have any concerns after you have worked through the harvesting checklist please contact us here and we will be happy to help.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/leaking-honey-from-my-flow-hive/p/183
78. My hive has different coloured woods, is it made entirely of western red cedar?
We decided to use western red cedar as it is a beautiful timber with a remarkably fine and stable grain structure. It has unique fine grain characteristics that minimises shrinkage and swelling, along with being a hard-wearing softwood.
The colour variation of the grain is cedar's most distinguishing feature and makes it highly sought after as a material for feature joinery. Visually, western red cedar is favoured for its rich and inviting colours. The colour ranges from a yellowish white colour, to pale brown through to a richer dark brown. It has a fine texture and straight grain with growth rings often visible.
Sometimes this will make our hive bodies and supers appear to be made from different woods, we can confirm that this is normal.
Cedar also has built-in natural preservatives that provide resistance to borers, termites, rot and fungus growth. Its lack of pitch and gum veins allow cedar to readily accept semi-clear and clear finishes, which will accentuate its natural colour variations.
Western Red Cedar Flow Hive - Video Walk Throughhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/is-my-hive-made-all-of-the-same-western-red-cedar-wood/p/182
77. Why is my Flow Hive or Super being shipped separately / in two packages?
The timber components and Flow Frames for our Flow Hives and Flow Supers are being manufactured in two different locations, and as a result are shipped in separate packages.
We know that many of our customers have been really excited to get started, so we decided to ship the wooden hive components first, with the Flow Frames for these orders to follow shortly after.
The good news is that you will be able to assemble your hive when it arrives, and depending on local conditions you may be able to get started straight away by installing a nuc or swarm in your brood box.This way, when your frames arrive your hive will be already humming!https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/why-is-my-flow-hive-or-super-being-shipped-separately-in-two-packages/p/181
76. Fixing bent/misaligned Flow Frames & complete Flow Frame re-assembly
Please see the following instructional videos on fixing small issues which may occur with Flow Frames while they are in transit:
Reassemble and tighten Flow Frame wires together
If the cables on your Flow Frames are loose, and the frame is sagging, it’s best to tighten up the cables, watch the video below:
Fixing bent and misaligned Flow Frames
75. Assembling your Flow Hive
Download a printable PDF or watch our videos below on how to assemble your Flow Hive or Super below:
- Read all instructions first
- If you are unfamiliar with wood work, you may like to ask a friend or someone from your nearest beekeeping club to help.
- We’ve put together some great assembly support videos at www.honeyflow.com/assembly
74. How long do the Flow Frames last?
The Flow Frames have been tested for several seasons and are still functioning well.
They are designed to last many, many years provided they are kept away from sunlight and treated with care.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-long-do-the-flow-frames-last/p/178
73. What type of bees can go in Flow Hives / Frames?
The Flow Hive has been specifically designed and tested for use with the European honey bee (Apis mellifera).
We believe the Flow frames should work well with most, if not all, subspecies of Apis mellifera, although we have not yet had time to trial this. We have, however, heard reports that African bees, Apis mellifera scutellata, do not readily take to plastic foundation of any kind.
Early supporters of Flow Hives will be able to be pioneers in using Flow frames with the various subspecies of Apis mellifera, and we really appreciate all feedback from customers in regards to different species of bees, and their success with Flow Frame technology.
We look forward to hearing about your endeavours, please post your photos and videos to our Facebook page or on Instagram or YouTube using the hashtag #flowhivehttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-type-of-bees-can-go-in-flow-hive-frames/p/177
72. Flow Hive & Frames weights and dimensions
Flow Hive & Supers (in shipping boxes)
All dimensions & weights are in a box, flat-packed, for shipping. Frames are in a separate box from the Flow Hive / Supers.
Flow Hive - Classic Cedar 6 Frame
635mm x 535mm x 230mm / 25 inch x 21.1 inch x 9.1 inch
14.5kg / 32lbs
Flow Supers - Classic & Hybrid Cedar
510mm x 260mm x 110mm / 20.1 inch x 10.2 inch x 4.3 inch
3.65 / 8lbs
Flow Hive - Classic Araucaria 6 Frame
640mm x 480mm x 240mm / 25.2 inch x 18.9 inch x 9.4 inch
17.5kg / 38.6 lbs
Flow Hive - Classic Araucaria 7 Frame
620mm x 425mm x 300mm / 24.5 inch x 16.7 inch x 11.8 inch
18.9kg / 41.7 lbs
Flow Frames (in shipping boxes)
Flow™ Frame - Single
The height of the Flow frame is 240mm
The width of the clear frame ends is set to 50mm
All dimensions & weights below are in a box, flat-packed, for shipping. Frames are in a separate box from the Flow Hive / Supers.
Flow Frame - Classic 3 (FFKIT-3) IN A BOX
540mm x 195mm x 285mm / 21.3 inch x 7.7 inch x 11.2 inch
4.5kg / 9.9lbs
Flow Frame - Classic 4 (FFKIT-4) IN A BOX
540mm x 265mm x 285mm / 2.3 1inch x 10.4 inch x 11i.2nch
5.5kg / 12.11lbs
Flow Frame - Classic 6 (FFKIT-6) IN A BOX
540mm x 375mm x 285mm / 21.3 inch x 14.8 inch x 11.2 inch
7.5kg / 16.5lbs
Flow Frame - Classic 7 (FFKIT-7) IN A BOX
540mm x 425mm x 285mm / 21.3 inch x 16.7 inch x 11.2 inch
8.5kg / 18.7lbs
Flow Hive & Supers Assembled
Flow Hive - Classic Cedar 6 Frame
Height: 660mm (base to top of lid)
Flow Hive - Classic Cedar AU 6 Frame
Height: 685mm (base to top of lid)
Miscellaneous Flow Measurements
Internal measurements of western red cedar boxes / supers:
Flow™ western red cedar base:
Length - hive stand: 505mm
Length - with landing board: 555mm
Height - back end: 36mm
Height - front end: 58mm
Miscellaneous Langstroth Box Sizes
(These are the standard sizes used in beekeeping.)
Langstroth 8 Deep – Standard size
Box width – 35cm | 14 inches
Box height – 24.5cm | 9.6 inches
Box length - 50.5cm | 20 inches
Base length – 57.5cm | 23 inches
Roof width – 50cm | 20 inches
Roof length – 60cm | 24 inches
Total height - 73cm
Approx total weight with Flow frames – 18.5kg (shipping)
Approx total weight when Flow frames full (no bees or wax) – 36.5kg
A colony can weigh between 1.5 – 6kg
Wax weighs 1-4kg
Approximate maximum weight - 50kg
Langstroth 10 Deep – Standard size
Box width – 41cm | 16 inches
Box height – 24.5cm | 9.6 inches
Box length - 50.5cm | 20 inches
Base length – 57.5cm | 22.6 inches
Roof width – 51.5cm | 20.3 inches
Roof length – 60cm | 24 inches
Total height – 73cm
Approx total weight with frames – 21.5kghttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/flow-hive-frames-weights-and-dimensions/p/175
Approx total weight when frames full (no bees or wax) – 42.5kg
A colony can weigh between 1.5 – 6kg
Wax weighs 1-4kg
71. Ants attracted to Flow Frames
Clean up any spilt honey after harvest with warm water.
Remove the honey trough cap and, if necessary, clean the leak-back gap with a thin tool such as a kitchen skewer or wire to allow honey to drain back into hive.
Throw some cinnamon powder behind the window covers to deter the ants.
If your hive is on a stand, you can place the legs in water to prevent ants climbing onto the hive.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/ants-attracted-to-flow-frames/p/173
70. Cap doesn’t fit on the Flow Key operation slot
The cap can only be replaced when the frame is properly reset.
Insert Flow Key in the UPPER operating slot and rotate 90 degrees.
Remove Flow Key and replace cap.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/cap-doesnt-fit-on-the-flow-key-operation-slot/p/172
69. Honey not flowing after opening the Flow Frame
Check that the Flow Key is inserted in the LOWER operating slot. Turn the key 90 degrees to the vertical position. Leave it in this position until honey starts to flow.
Sometimes the wax is particularly tough and the Flow comb takes longer to open. You can leave the key in the vertical position for an hour or more.
If the honey is still not flowing, you may have crystallised honey in your cells.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/honey-not-flowing-after-opening-the-flow-frame/p/170
68. Flow Key is really hard to turn when opening the frame
The cells of the Flow comb are sealed with beeswax by the bees. Sometimes this wax is particularly tough and the key is really hard to turn.
To make it easier, you can open part of a frame at a time.
This is achieved by inserting the Flow Key part way into the lower operating slot and turning it. You can then insert the key further in and repeat the process until you have opened the entire frame.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/flow-key-is-really-hard-to-turn-when-opening-the-frame/p/169
67. Cannot remove caps from Flow Frame operating slot or honey trough
From time to time the Honey Trough Caps and Key Acess Caps can become a little tight or hard to remove. Using pliers to grip the cap and then pull can assist with removing these.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/cannot-remove-caps-from-flow-frame-operating-slot-or-honey-trough/p/168
66. Cannot fit Flow Frame into Flow Super between the front and rear walls
You may need to adjust your Flow Frame. Tighten the adjustment screw on the front of the frame [refer to Section 4 of the manual].
For further adjustment trim the stepped tags/spacer on the front face of the Flow Frame in order to allow the frame to slide into the box.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/cannot-fit-flow-frame-into-flow-super-between-the-front-and-rear-walls/p/167
65. Cannot fit Flow Frames into Flow Super side by side
Place each frame into the Flow Super ensuring that it is butted tightly against the adjacent frames. Ensure that the rear end windows sit snugly against each other.
Some boxes will have a packing strip that can be removed or perhaps shaved to make it thinner. A gap less than 2 mm (1/8”) is acceptable. The bees cannot get through this and will gum up the gap over time.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/cannot-fit-flow-frames-into-flow-super-side-by-side/p/166
64. HS Codes (Customs Tariff)
The HS Code (Customs Tariff) for the complete full FlowHive is:
HS code: 4421 9097
US HS code: 8436.80.0070
UE HS code: 8436809000
63. Where to locate your Flow Hive
It is important to consider the location of your new beehive prior to installing your bees. You can’t move a beehive around your paddock, yard or rooftop easily. Bees have highly developed navigational skills which are extremely sensitive to location. If the hive is moved only a small distance, they become confused and will return to the original site. For advice on moving a bee hive once the bees are housed please consult a beekeeping book, the Flow Community Forum on honeyflow.com or your local beekeepers’ association.
There are three important things to consider when selecting a site for your new hive – your bees, your neighbours and yourself.
The location of your beehive will affect the overall strength of your colony. Choose a sheltered position. In cool climates look for a dry sunny position, in hot climates the hive will benefit from some shade, particularly in Summer. Face the hive entrance away from the prevailing winds. Ideally, face the entrance in a southerly direction if you’re in the northern hemisphere and northerly direction for the southern hemisphere.
- Check out this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet for an introduction to safety considerations to keep in mind when locating your hive.
- Bees excrete waste to a distance of about 15 metres from the hive. This appears as little yellow/orange dots that can stain washing and soil cars with light coloured paint. Situate your hive to avoid these issues. It’s a good idea to place your hive so that the flight path is over a seldom-used area of your yard or roof anyway.
- The hive should sit firmly, without any wobble on a stable base with clear access for when you are working with the colony. Placing the hive on a stand prevents rotting of base timbers and improves accessibility (options include bricks, concrete blocks, steel posts etc).
- During harvest, Flow Frames should be tilted backwards so that the honey flows out to the honey collection tubes. The slope of the hive for optimal draining is 2.5 to 4.0 degrees sloping backwards (a tilt of about 15mm (1⁄2") over the length of the hive is enough).
There are two options:
Chock up the hive when it’s time to harvest. Bees can be agitated by tilting the hive, so wear a beekeeping suit and do this several hours before you harvest.
Leave the hive on a permanent slope. If sloping the hive backwards it is important to ensure that water can’t enter the front of the hive. A sloped landing board can minimise this.
Beginner Beekeeping Video Ep 2 - Situating your Flow Hivehttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/where-to-locate-your-flow-hive/p/159
- Check out this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet for an introduction to safety considerations to keep in mind when locating your hive.
62. Isn't cedar bad for bees and other insects? Doesn't it repel them?
Western red cedar is a standard wood used for hives in the UK and other places. It's very different from Spanish cedar or other aromatic cedars commonly used to deter moths and other insects. It's very common to find feral honey bee colonies living inside hollow western red cedar trees.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/isnt-cedar-bad-for-bees-and-other-insects-doesnt-it-repel-them/p/153
61. What paint or varnish is safe to coat my Flow Hive with?
Many beekeepers use oils such as Tung oil or Linseed oil, however we have found when finishing with oils in wet climates, that mildew (black mould) can grow on the surface of your hive. While this will not effect the structural integrity of your hive and should not have any impact on your bees, this may not be the look you were anticipating.
It can be a challenge keeping wood outdoors looking like new, especially in wetter climates. If you wish for your hive to stay mould free and to maintain the natural timber look for as long as possible, we suggest you go to your local paint store and ask for a finish that will last outdoors.
When choosing a finish you will be faced with the choice of natural or non natural finishes. If you go with a less natural finish we recommend you leave the inside of the timber boxes unfinished to keep the internal wood natural for the bees. However, it is advisable to coat the inside of the window covers to stop these from expanding excessively in wet weather. If the finish has a strong smell it is recommended to leave it a few days before installing your bees.
Aside from mildew, wood outdoors will naturally turn to grey. If you want to prevent your hive from greying, paint stores will recommend a finish with a tint. The tint helps shield the wood from UV which is what turns the wood to grey.
If you want to paint your hive with an outdoor paint, this is a great option for protecting your hive from the weather. This will also give you the opportunity to get creative with your designs.
Some commercial beekeepers recommend dipping your hive boxes in copper Naphthalate, then painting inside and out with several coats. While this has proven to make bee boxes last a long time, we like to recommend you use a more natural finish.
60. Can I order spare parts?
Yes, if you do happen to need spare parts we carry spare stock for:
Flow Hive; all parts including the lid, bottom board, side panels, window covers;
Flow Supers; all parts;
Flow Frames, all parts including caps for the honey trough and Flow key access slot;
Miscellaneous parts such as screws, springs, wooden frames, honey collection tubes, Flow keys and queen excluders.
Before you contact us for spares, please note:
We are currently only sending spares that are lost or broken;
Try to describe the missing or lost parts using the Assembly Guide PDF or images below;
If the spare part is Flow Frame related please read this FAQ on identifying your model.
Assembly Guide PDF & Images:https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-order-spare-parts/p/146
59. Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control
Heat treatment: Flow Frames can handle hot water up to 70˚C.
Chemical treatment: The plastics chosen have good chemical resistance. We will be testing various chemicals to evaluate this soon.
Irradiation: We have tested the Flow Frames with multiple doses of 15kGy gamma rays. We found that 1 dose had minimal effect while 2 doses made the plastic significantly more brittle. We have also discovered that some Irradiation facilities use beehives as 'Gap Filler' in larger loads. This means a single round may expose your frames to more than 40 kGy.
What you should do when treating with irradiation:
Flow frames should only be exposed to a single dose of 15 kGy irradiation. If you need to send your Flow frames for irradiation please mark them clearly for future reference. In addition, you should contact the irradiation facility and explain that due to the plastic in your frames you require a dose as close to 15 kGy as possible. Discuss this with them and clearly label your package before sending.
If you would like to ask us more about sterilising the Flow Frames feel free to discuss on the forumhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/flow-frame-sterilisation-irradiation-disease-control/p/145
58. Modifying a Langstroth Box for Flow Frames
The following steps are a guide to modify a standard 8- or 10-frame langstroth super box to allow you to fit Flow Frames, it should take you 1 to 2 hours to complete.
Download the full instructions as a printable PDF and view videos below:
Modifying an 8 frame Langstroth to fit 3 x Flow Frames
Modifying a 10 frame Langstroth to fit 7 x Flow Frameshttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/modifying-a-langstroth-box-for-flow-frames/p/143
57. How can I view my orders or change my address and details?
You can view and manage your orders and delivery details through our website.
Login to your account on our website using the email or username used for your purchase to receive secure access to your personal account area.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-can-i-view-my-orders-or-change-my-address-and-details/p/140
56. Payment issues (credit card or paypal) on website
Some US customers are having failed card problems due to the large dollar value and Flow being an Australian company.
While we work on a solution, please contact your bank and inform them that this is legitimate transaction, they may then allow us to then recharge your account.
Please contact us after you speak with your bank and we will attempt to process your order again.
Or try the PayPal payment option on checkout.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/payment-issues-credit-card-or-paypal-on-website/p/138
55. What is the cell size of a Flow Frame?
Flow Frames use a 5.8mm cell width.
We experimented with a range of cell sizes and measured a lot of natural comb.
When bees make cells specifically to store honey they often make much larger cells. As Flow Frames are designed for honey only, we chose a larger cell size. We also wanted the queen to be less interested in laying in the frames for those who experiment with no excluder.
The size we chose is far too big for worker brood and just smaller than drone brood.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-is-the-cell-size/p/118
54. What can I do if I get drone brood in the Flow Frames?
We recommend that you put a queen excluder on the hive and wait for the drones to hatch before harvesting. Make sure the queen is underneath the excluder in the brood box before replacing the Flow Super.
See also our 'Do I need a queen excluder?' FAQ.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-would-you-do-if-you-got-drone-brood-in-the-flow-frames/p/117
53. Can the honey channels get blocked?
When the Flow Frame is operated the hexagonal honeycomb cells split forming vertical, zig-zag channels which the honey flows down to the large honey trough at the base of the frame.
The zigzag channels are sometimes blocked by a bee or by pollen. In bench tests we have found that the honey will flow around these blockages usually returning to the zigzag channel and down into the honey trough.
The honey trough at the base of the Flow Frame is comparatively large and we have never had (or can imagine) anything blocking it. It is also very accessible and can be cleaned from outside the hive using a bottle brush or something similar.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-the-honey-channels-get-blocked/p/112
52. When is my Flow product going to be delivered?
Please check the estimated delivery date on the confirmation email from our online shop.
You can also login to the My Account area to view all your orders and estimated shipping dates.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/when-is-my-flow-product-going-to-be-delivered/p/111
51. Can I pick-up locally or from Brisbane?
We don't have any option for pick-up at the moment. We will look into this but can make no guarantees.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-pick-up-locally-or-from-brisbane/p/109
This is due to boxes and frames being produced at different locations.
50. Will Flow work with pollen draws?
Pollen draws fit on the outside of the hive, the Flow system does not interfere with this at all.
If you can fit your pollen draw to a standard Langstroth box, then there should be no problem fitting it on a Flow box.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/will-flow-work-with-pollen-draws/p/108
49. Will the queen lay eggs in the Flow Frames?
The Flow Frame cells are wider and deeper than normal comb cells so that the queen will not lay worker eggs in them.
Occasionally, we have found that a queen will lay a few drone (male bee) eggs in a Flow Frame. This doesn't stop the Flow Frame from working, but does kill any drone eggs or larvae in the cells when you extract the honey.
If you find eggs or larvae in your honey, it is up to you whether you want to add a queen excluder and wait for the drones to hatch before continuing the harvest or just strain the jar of honey.
We recommend you use a queen excluder to ensure a drone/larvae free Flow Frame.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/will-the-queen-lay-eggs-in-the-flow-frames/p/107
48. UK / British Standard National hives and Flow Frames
We are now selling UK National sized Flow Supers, see our European website here:
A UK National is shorter, wider and deeper than a Langstroth 10 frame deep. Therefore adapting them to fit together is the easiest option. If you choose this approach you will need to get a Langstroth 10 box and adapt it for Flow Frames (see videos) or buy a Flow Super.
A Langstroth is only just shorter than than a UK National, in fact you can put a Flow Lang on a UK National and the Lang just covers the outside ends of the UK. If you're willing to leave the ends like this then you can just add some straight pieces of wood or plywood to cover the gap between the narrower Lang and the UK. A triangular section of wood about 60mm (2.5") wide on each side of the Lang would do it.
If you are keen you can adapt a UK National super and shorten the Flow Frames as follows:
Begin by taking off the cables (on a table so that it doesn't completely disintegrate) and removing pairs of 'blades'. Each pair is 11.8mm (0.466"). You will have to measure how much shorter it needs to be and divide this by the above figure. You will need stainless steel tie-wire of around 1mm diameter to re-bind the whole thing together. Remember to cross the wire (figure 8 shape) to support the base and top of the frame and twist (twitch) it to tighten. 8 of these frames will fit in a UK National.
To adapt a UK National you will have to view our Langstroth box modification videos and adapt that to the UK National design. A UK National is higher than a Lang deep. You will have to cut it back around three sides to bring it down to the correct height, a bit tricky.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/uk-national-and-flow-frames/p/106
47. How do I change / upgrade my order?
Please contact the support team to change or upgrade your order.
The most common change is an upgrade to Flow Hive or the addition of a Flow Super.
We are trying to support customers in getting the right product, and are happy to work with them.
We cannot change your delivery dates though, and cannot upgrade you to an earlier shipping date.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-do-i-change-upgrade-my-order/p/104
46. Do Flow Frames work with Manuka / Jellybush honey?
The only test we have done with thixotropic honey in Flow Frames used Australian Jellybush, which is similar to New Zealand Manuka honey. This ended up being a 50/50 mixture of ordinary honey and Jellybush.
We found that with repeated opening/closings of the Flow mechanism almost all the honey would flow out. We know that thixotropic honeys do respond to agitation but cannot say yet whether this would work with 100% of a thixotropic honey in the Flow frames.
A few people have been discussing Jellybush and Manuka honey on our forum, you are welcome to join the discussion: Visit our Forum to discuss Manuka Honey.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-flow-frames-work-with-manuka-jellybush-honey/p/103
45. Do I need a special hive tool to pull out the Flow Frames to inspect them for disease?
The Flow Frames are designed so that they can be removed in the same way as regular frames using a standard hive tool.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-a-special-hive-tool-to-pull-out-the-flow-frames-to-inspect-them-for-disease/p/89
44. Do the bees ever put pollen in a Flow Frame? Is this a problem?
Occasionally the bees will store pollen in Flow Frame cells. In our experience this isn’t a problem as the frames will still operate when some cells are full of pollen. Pollen cells may block the flow of honey from above, but the honey will drain around the blockage, and usually back into the Flow channel. If it doesn’t drain back into the channel, the bees get to lick it up.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-the-bees-ever-put-pollen-in-a-flow-frame-is-this-a-problem/p/88
43. Do I need to clean the Flow Frames?
Apart from the trough at the bottom, you don't need to clean Flow Frames unless you detect disease in them. You will need experienced beekeepers to give you advice on disease prevention and response for your area.
The plug for the honey collection trough is designed with tiny grooves that allow a bee lick up any residue honey that collects behind the plug. Sometimes the bees block these grooves with propolis (a resin bees use to plug any holes in the hive) but it is easy to clean this out by removing the plug. We haven’t experienced propolis build-up in the frames themselves.
Some cleaning tips from Flow beekeepers:
Amazing Except for a little propolis on the edges, all six flowhive frames have been completely cleaned by the bees! Since the bees have ample honey stores to get through the winter, we took the flow honey super off after harvesting, and set it out in the backyard. Within ten days the bees had recovered all of the leftover honey and wax, leaving the frames clean and ready to store until next spring. Beautiful! #rogsquad #wagehope #looktothefuture #honeybees #flowhive #sterile #honey #bees #beekeeping #bee #winterprep #propolis #california #norcal #mtdiablo #backyardbeekeeping #backyardbees #savethebees #readyforwinter #godsbeautyhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-to-clean-the-flow-frames/p/87
42. Does the honey in the bottom of the Flow frames ever go mouldy, ferment or crystallize? If so, what can I do about it?
We recommend cleaning Flow Frames at the end of the summer, after harvesting is finished for the year.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/does-the-honey-in-the-bottom-of-the-flow-frames-ever-go-mouldy-ferment-or-crystallize-if-so-what-can-i-do-about-it/p/86
This is easy to do without removing the frames from the super or the super from the hive. You can squirt water into the trough and then let it drain out.
If there are still signs of dirt, mould or crystalised honey, you can use a bottle brush to loosen it and then wash out with warm water.
41. Do I need a queen excluder?
We recommend the use of a queen excluder as this ensures no drone or worker-bee eggs and larvae end up in the Flow Frames.
Having said this, most of our experimental Flow Hives did not use an excluder and we never found worker brood in them and very rarely found drone brood. We have designed Flow comb to have deep cells of a size that suits neither worker or drone brood.
Another factor that we believe helps ensure brood stays in the brood box is giving the bees flexibility in making the brood comb by providing them with open frames rather than foundation to build on. They will then build drone or worker size brood cells as they see fit, leaving the Flow Frames for the honey storage.
Join the forum discussion on the pros and cons of using a queen excluder.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/will-the-queen-lay-eggs-in-the-flow-frames-do-i-need-a-queen-excluder/p/85
40. Do I need to install a metal strip on the back of my hive, like in the pictures?
The metal strip does need to be installed, as it provides structural strength to the Flow Super after most of the back side is cut away. It also covers up the gap made by the rebate in the brood box below, thus blocking bees from exiting through the back of the hive. We are providing the metal strip to people who order the Flow Hive box from us. The dimensions of the metal strip will be sent out to everyone who is intending to modify their own boxes.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-to-install-a-metal-strip-on-the-back-of-my-hive-like-in-the-pictures/p/84
39. Can I separate the three Flow Frames I’ve ordered, or are they one unit?
The frames are modular, and are operated separately to extract honey. You could buy six Flow Frames and create two sets of three to put in the middle of two existing supers. When you put them in the middle of your super, the bees will fill these frames first, and when you drain them, they will move any honey in the outer standard frames into the Flow Frames, so you may find you don’t have to remove and extract the normal frames again.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-separate-the-three-flow-frames-ive-ordered-or-are-they-one-unit/p/82
38. How do I get bees?
Bees rarely find their way into empty beehive boxes, even though they are designed to be a perfect home for them. There are a number of ways of starting a colony and you should read more than this small overview to learn all that is involved.
A small nuc (nucleus) hive can be bought from beekeeping suppliers in most countries (for Australia see: http://www.aussieapiaristsonline.net/bees-for-sale.html). 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 a divider which can be removed as the colony expands.
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 package of bees into your brood or nuc box and nurture them as they build their colony.
A third option is to catch a swarm. For this you need an experienced beekeeper or bee association member who would be happy to set you up with a swarm when they catch one.
In all cases, once the bees are established and have built up their numbers you can add the Flow Super.
There’s plenty of information on bees on the internet, try our community forum and search the web. We'll be adding more information, videos and resources to our website ongoingly.
Capturing a Swarm
Cedar and some of the Flow Staff catch a swarm at Flow HQ in Byron Bay, Australiahttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-do-i-get-bees/p/80
37. If I haven’t kept bees before should I get a Flow Hive?
Yes, beekeeping is a wonderful learning experience!
The Flow Hive makes extracting the honey easy. While this saves much of the work involved in keeping bees, you will still be spending time observing your bees and inspecting the hive to ensure your bees are healthy.
Keeping bees, like caring for any animal, comes with responsibilities - it’s vital to keep an eye on the health of your hives. The easiest way to learn about bees is to ask for help from experienced beekeepers. Almost every city and town in the world has beekeepers and many places have a beekeepers’ association. They can tell you if you need to register your hive and other local relevant regulations. They can also help you to get your hive started and make routine inspections for pests and diseases. This involves opening up the hive, you will need a hive tool, a smoker, a bee suit and gloves to do this.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/if-i-havent-kept-bees-before-should-i-get-a-flow-hive/p/79
36. Do I need a license to keep bees?
This depends on where you live. We recommend you check with your local primary industries and agriculture authorities or link up with your nearest beekeepers’ association to find out what is required in your jurisdiction. You might have to check with your local council because some local authorities have banned beekeeping in built-up areas.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-a-license-to-keep-bees/p/78
35. Do I need to register my hive?
Yes you probably do, the regulations on beehives vary greatly from country to country and also within countries. In Australia, hives must be registered with state authorities. For instance, in the state of Victoria, all hives must be registered with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and this is free for fewer than than five hives.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-to-register-my-hive/p/77
34. If I get a Flow Hive, does that mean I never have to open up the hive?
All Flow Hives need to be opened for inspection, just like regular beehives. This is an important activity in monitoring your hive for pests and disease. The number of inspections needed per year varies a great deal. In places with a high level of bee disease, many beekeepers open and inspect each hive every month or six weeks during the spring and summer. Experienced beekeepers observe the behaviour of bees at the hive entrance and can usually judge whether they need to open the hive for further inspection.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/if-i-get-a-flow-hive-does-that-mean-i-never-have-to-open-up-the-hive/p/76
33. What if I am allergic to bees? Can I still use a Flow Hive?
If you have a life-threatening allergy to bees, we recommend that you don’t become a beekeeper. You can learn about beekeeping safety and first aid in this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-if-i-am-allergic-to-bees-can-i-still-use-a-flow-hive/p/75
32. Do bees in a Flow Hive still sting people?
Yes. The Flow Hive reduces hive disturbance and the risk of stings, however all honeybees sting. You can read more about beekeeping safety and first aid in this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-bees-in-a-flow-hive-still-sting-people/p/74
31. What are the dimensions of the Flow Frames?
The Flow Frames are designed to fit a standard Langstroth deep super. The Flow Super has the same measurements as a Langstroth deep (8 or 10 frame) super.
The height of the Flow frame is 242mm; this perfectly fits a Langstroth deep box.
The width of the clear frame ends is set to 51mm. Flow Frames are wider than traditional Langstroth frames which means they hold more honey and the deeper cells discourage the queen from laying should you choose to experiment with no excluder.
A standard Langstroth 8-frame deep fits 6 Flow Frames. A standard Langstroth 10 frame deep fits 7 Flow Frames.
The length of a Flow Frame is adjustable. A standard Flow Frame is 480mm long; however, you can reduce the length in increments of 12mm by removing some of the comb blades. This allows you to adapt the length of the frames to many different sized hives. Or if you want to get really creative you could make a 2m long frame to go in a wall cavity, or make a short frame to insert into a hollow tree hive…
See also 'Flow Hive & Frames Weights and Dimensions' page.
UK National Flow Frames (shorter)
A UK National fits 8 shorter Flow Frames; however, the depth of the UK National would need to be modified (we have now released a UK National sized Flow Super)https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-are-the-dimensions-of-the-flow-frames/p/70
30. Crystallised honey & Flow Frames
If honey has crystallised in the Flow Frames, you have two options:
Wait for the bees to remove it: Attempting to harvest the honey will have disturbed the comb a little. The bees will likely remove the crystallised honey to repair the comb.
Remove it yourself: The frames will need to be removed from the super and soaked in warm water to soften crystallised honey.
If you are in an area that is prone to crystallised honey, we recommend harvesting as soon as the honey is ready.
To discuss crystallised honey in the Flow frames take a look at our community forumhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/does-the-honey-crystallise-in-the-flow-frame/p/69
29. Small hive beetle (SHB) and Flow - Can they enter and is there a need for maintenance?
Small hive beetle is a big problem in our area. We have designed the frames with beetles in mind.
Beetles cannot get into the honey trough or movement mechanism. Unlike other plastic frames we have made sure there are no spaces created to harbour beetles.
We have lost one Flow Hive to small hive beetles. The Flow Frames weren’t damaged but they did need a clean using a hot water hose. Remove the frames from the hive to do this. The water must be hot enough to melt beeswax.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/small-hive-beetle-shb/p/68
28. Cleaning and Flow Frame maintenance
We haven't found the Flow comb itself needs cleaning if it stays in the hive - the bees do a great job of keeping it clean. If you remove Flow Frames from the hive and store them for a while they may need cleaning. You can do this by using hot water (just hot enough to melt wax, no hotter than 70 Celsius / 160 Fahrenheit). A hot water hose is good. Set the Flow comb to ‘cell open’ position, this allows the water to run quite easily through all parts of the frame.
We have designed the honey trough at the bottom of the frame so that any remaining honey can drip back into the hive for the bees to use. If the honey leak-back gap remains clear this works well; however, if the bees block it up some honey may remain in the honey trough after harvest. Clear the leak-back gap prior to harvest and inspect the honey trough. If the honey trough is dirty it can be cleaned from outside the hive using a bottle brush or something similar.
If you are storing your Flow Frames for any length of time outside the hive, ensure they are kept away from the light as the Flow frame plastic is UV sensitive. Store the frames in a cool, dry, dark location.
To discuss cleaning and maintenance of the Flow frames join the discussion on our forumhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/cleaning-frame-maintenance/p/67
27. Can I use Flow Frames in cold or freezing conditions?
The Flow Hive was trialled in Canada by John Gates in the fall of 2014, and no issues were found regarding the cold. Bees keep the hive warm because the brood nest needs to stay around 35 degrees Celsius or 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
In cold climates it would be recommended to harvest early and often so the possibility of crystallisation is less likely. Also read our page on Wintering Your Flow Hive.
Remember your bees will still require honey stores or feeding through the winter. Let us know how you go!
If you want to discuss using the Flow Frames in freezing conditions or get more information from the community please visit our forum.
26. Are the Flow Frames made from BPA free plastic?
We have worked hard to ensure that our Flow Frames are manufactured from the very best food grade materials.
The clear viewing ends of the frames, as well as the honey tube and caps, are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufacturers have assured us that it's not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured with bisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds.
The manufacturers also advise that third-party labs have tested this material and the results have demonstrated that it is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity. The centre frame parts are made from a virgin food grade polypropylene which is also free from any bisphenol compounds and is widely accepted as one of the safest plastics for food contact.
Plastics have been used for many years in beehives for both brood and honey combs and have not been found to have a negative impact on bee colonies.
The blades in our Flow Frames form partial honeycomb cells. The bees “complete” these cells by joining the gaps and drawing the comb out, then coat the entire cell with wax.
Light microscope images of Flow Frame honeycomb cells (x7 magnification) (a) 'clean' unused Flow Frame with partially formed honeycomb cells; (b) & (c) top surface of a used Flow frame showing honeycomb cells fully drawn with wax (b) and gaps filled with wax/propolis (c); (d) Single row of fully-drawn honeycomb cells from a Flow frame, note wax lining sides of cells; (e) and (f) Surface of a single Flow blade from a used Flow Frame showing wax added by the bees coating the entire surface of the blade.
We are constantly striving to further develop and improve our products and continue to investigate alternate materials which may be suitable for manufacturing.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/are-the-flow-frames-made-from-bpa-free-plastic/p/57
25. Do you ship to my country? What are the shipping rates?
Do you ship to my country?
We ship to everywhere that we legally can, please see our shipping page for which countries we ship to now, and the cost for our Flow products.
What are the shipping rates?
Because of all your amazing support we have been able to negotiate discounts of more than 50% off standard shipping rates. See shipping guide on this page.
Please note our shipping rates do not include any taxes or charges you may incur on arrival in your country.
At this time we do not have any price estimates for combined shipping.
Currently it is more cost effective to send each product individually.
To check the cost of what your shipping will be look at our shipping page.
We are committed to obtaining the best rates for our customers and will continue to work towards getting you better prices if we can.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-you-ship-to-my-country-what-are-the-shipping-rates/p/56
24. Will Flow Frames work with Warre hives?
Yes Flow can work with any hive, as you can shorten the frames to suit any length of box, as long as they fit the depth of the hive box. It might be simplest to use Langstroth size boxes and make up an adaptor to fit one box to another.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/will-flow-frames-work-with-warre-hives/p/55
23. Do Flow Frames work with Australian native bees?
No, you can’t use Flow Frames with an Australian native beehive.
Australian native bees have a completely different comb/pod structure and honey production pattern to the European honey bee.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/does-flow-work-with-australian-native-bees/p/54
22. Can you harvest beeswax from a Flow Frame?
You cannot harvest wax from a Flow Frame. Honey comes out of the Flow Frames free from wax and ready for the table. All the wax stays in the hive and the bees reuse it. Bees use about 7kg honey to make 1kg of wax, so this aspect of the Flow system can improve your hive’s rate of honey production.
To enable harvesting of wax we offer two Flow Hybrid Super models that contain both Flow Frames and traditional frames. This allows for those that wish to harvest wax and traditional comb from their Flow Super.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-you-harvest-beeswax-from-a-flow-frame/p/53
21. How do the bees know when to uncap the comb, and how long does it take?
The bees are quick to notice when the honeycomb cells are empty - we guess empty cells must feel quite different underfoot if you are a bee. You can watch them work on the end cells as soon as you reset the Flow Frame to the closed position.
We have found the bees will sense the cells are empty and straight away begin uncapping, repairing the wax in the cells, and refilling. Usually they finish uncapping all the cells in a day or two. If the hive is not so busy it may take longer.
In our experience a slower hive can take a week to finish uncapping the cells on the outside frames.
20. Do I need to leave some honey in the hive for the bees?
Yes, this applies to all beekeeping. Your bees need honey to get them through the times when there is no nectar available. The number of frames of honey that you should leave depends on your climate. You should consult local beekeepers as to how much they leave for their colonies over the winter.
The Flow Frames make it a lot easier to see how much honey is in your frames at any time, so you can learn to manage how much honey to harvest and how much to leave for the bees.
Watching the honey level change every day is quite fascinating and helps you feel more in touch with the bees. You’ll probably find you can’t help but look on a daily basis. You can also take a small amount of honey if you choose, by draining one frame or part of a frame.
Some beekeepers feed sugar syrup to their bees to help them get through the cold winter months. They rarely use honey for feeding as this could spread disease and is a lot more expensive than sugar.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-to-leave-some-honey-in-the-hive-for-the-bees/p/51
19. How many Flow Supers do I need per hive?
One Flow Super per hive is the simple answer, as you can keep tapping off the honey which gives the bees room to keep working and making more honey.
However, if you live in areas with a very high nectar flow, or if your existing beehives are particularly large, we would recommend you use two Flow Supers or more. As the Flow Hive is a new innovation, we’re interested in your feedback as to how many Flow Supers are best in your situation. Please feel welcome to share your experiences on our community forum.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-many-flow-boxes-supers-do-i-need-per-hive/p/50
18. How often do I need to check the brood?
This depends on your location. In our area it is normal to inspect the brood nest of each hive twice a year for disease. In some areas beekeepers check more frequently. If the hive is weak it should also be inspected. Our invention changes the honey harvesting component of beekeeping. All the rest of the normal beekeeping care for the hive still applies; beetles, mites, swarm control, etc. The Flow Hive’s end window does assist with allowing you to look into the hive and gauge the strength and health of the colony.
Watch more Beginner Beekeeping Videos here.
Facebook Live Brood Check
17. Is there a best time of day to harvest the Flow Hive?
It is possible to harvest a Flow Hive at any time of the day or night because the hive is not opened. There is not the concern of chilling or disturbing the bees on cold or windy days.
We have found the bees are calmest in the late afternoon, and at this time the honey in the hive is likely to be warmest and so runs more easily, therefore we tend to rob at this time.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/is-there-a-best-time-of-day-to-rob-the-hive-using-flow/p/48
16. Do I need to wear a bee suit, bee veil or gloves when I drain the honey out?
We recommend you wear a protective beekeeper suit whenever you are working with your bees. For more information see this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-to-wear-a-bee-suit-bee-veil-or-gloves-when-i-drain-the-honey-out/p/47
15. Do I need to smoke the hive?
We do recommend that you use a smoker whilst undertaking beekeeping activities such as routine inspections of the brood nest. You can learn more about handling your smoker safely by reading this Flow® sponsored safety pamphlet.
14. How do I know when to harvest/drain the hive?
The ends of the Flow Frames are visible through the rear window of the Flow Super. It is worth having a look at the bees regularly through this window as you’ll get to know your hive and it doesn’t disturb the bees. You will see the bees depositing honey in the cells and, when the cells are full, sealing them with a wax capping.
When the end cells are full and capped this generally indicates that the honey is ready or ripe. There is no hurry though, the sealed honey will keep until it is convenient for you to drain it out of the hive.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-do-i-know-when-to-harvestdrain-the-hive/p/45
13. What extra equipment will I need to operate a Flow Hive and harvest honey?
You will need a container to collect your honey. A bee suit and gloves, or at least a bee veil, is essential in case your bees get aggressive. You will need to open the hive to inspect it for health as usual, for which you will still need a bee suit, smoker and hive tool. These can be purchased from our shop.
If you are new to beekeeping, you should link up with an experienced beekeeper to learn how to care for your bees.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-extra-equipment-will-i-need-to-get-the-honey/p/44
12. Can the Flow Frames come out of the super, like the standard frames do?
Yes. This is important for inspections and because this is how most hives in the world work. However, there is no need for this in the course of extracting the honey.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-the-flow-frames-come-out-of-the-super-like-the-standard-frames-do/p/43
11. How much honey comes out of a Flow Hive or Super?
When the Flow Super is full, you can expect to harvest approximately 3 kg (6.5 lb) per Flow Frame (even more if the bees really build each frame out). The Flow Hive Classic 6 comes with 6 Flow Frames, giving up to 18 kg (39 lb) of fresh, unfiltered honey.
If you have one of our 7 frame Flow Supers, then you can expect to harvest approximately 20 kg (44 lbs) when every frame is full.
The amount of honey for harvesting depends on many factors, including hive strength, local climate and available forage. With a good Nectar Flow it is possible to harvest from a full super multiple times in one season. It is not uncommon to have very different results from hives kept at the same location and even within the same hive annually compared to previous years.
When harvesting it's important to remember to leave enough honey stores for your colony to see them through the winter.
10. How long does it take for the honey to drain from a Flow Frame?
It can take anywhere from twenty minutes to over two hours depending on the temperature and the viscosity of the honey, to drain a Flow Frame. It is OK to leave the frame draining overnight provided it is secure from insects and nocturnal animals. When you have finished draining the honey remember to return the frames to the “cell closed” position so that the bees can seal the fractured cells and recommence filling them with honey.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-long-does-it-take-for-the-honey-to-drain-out/p/41
9. How long does it take before I can harvest the honey from the Flow Hive?
This depends on the amount of nectar available for the bees and how strong the colony is. We have had Flow Supers fill in a week during peak times of the flowering season. A super usually fills well within a month during the spring and summer.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-long-does-it-take-before-i-can-drain-the-honey-from-the-flow-hive/p/40
8. Do the bees willingly fill the Flow comb compared to the traditional wax comb?
In many years of testing we have found the bees readily wax up and fill the Flow Frames. We have done quite a few experiments putting Flow Frames in the middle of a standard super with wax foundation frames either side. The bees have shown no preference either way and readily start building on, and filling the Flow Frames at the same time as the traditional ones.
If your bees are taking a while to start filling your Flow Frames, please read this FAQ.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-the-bees-willingly-fill-the-flow-comb-compared-to-the-traditional-wax-comb/p/39
7. Can I put a Flow Super on a top bar hive?
Yes, and it will be up to you as to how to adapt and join the two. The bees should have good access to the Flow Super and therefore sense that it is part of their hive.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-put-a-flow-super-on-a-top-bar-hive/p/38
6. Does the Flow Super fit an 8 or 10 frame Langstroth hive?
The Flow Frames will fit either an 8- or 10-frame Langstroth.
Six Flow Frames fit into a full 8-frame, deep super.
Seven Flow Frames fit a 10-frame super as they are wider than traditional frames.
It is also possible to have a combination of traditional Langstroth frames and Flow Frames in the one super. We offer ‘hybrid’ Flow Supers to accomplish this, or you can build your own.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/does-the-flow-super-fit-an-8-or-10-frame-langstroth-hive/p/36
5. Can I fit the Flow frames into my existing beehives?
Yes. We want Flow to be adaptable and as affordable as possible so we have designed it so you can use your own boxes. The Flow Frames are designed to fit Langstroth size deep boxes (although they will adapt to others) and are inserted into standard bee supers (boxes) in much the same way as standard frames. The box itself is modified by cutting two access doorways in one end. When the frames are inserted, the ends of the frames form the end of the super. This allows access to the Flow Key and honey trough outlets and a great view into the hive.
To discuss modifying your bee hives to fit the Flow frames, please check out our community forumhttps://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/can-i-fit-the-flow-frames-into-my-existing-beehives/p/34
4. Do I need to use a Flow box for the brood box too?
Not necessarily, any brood box of a suitable size will do. You have the option of simply replacing the honey supers on a standard beehive with one or more Flow Supers.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/do-i-need-a-flow-box-for-the-brood-box-too/p/33
3. How do I stop the bees getting to the honey while it’s draining out of the Flow Hive?
We have found we can usually harvest the honey without the bees noticing us at the back of the hive. Nevertheless it is best to cover the jars with flywire or plastic wrap, or better still, make a sealed system. This can be achieved by simply making a hole in the lid of a jar for a tube to go into.
If you are harvesting several frames at once using a larger container, you can make holes through the lid for each tube.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/how-do-i-stop-the-bees-getting-to-the-honey-while-its-draining-out-of-the-flow-hive/p/32
2. What is a Flow Hive?
A Flow Hive is our term for a standard beehive that has Flow frames in the honey storage part (super). A honeybee hive is usually made up of; the brood box where the queen bee lays eggs, and the ‘supers’ with honeycomb for the storage of honey. A ‘Flow Super’ is a beehive box using Flow Frames that the bees store honey in.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/what-is-a-flow-hive/p/30
1. Where can I buy Flow hive & frames / What is the price or cost?
Flow products are available from our online shop.
- Flow Hive shop: https://www.honeyflow.com/shop/p/94
- European customers please visit: https://eu.honeyflow.com/collections/all-products
- Australian customers please visit: https://www.honeyflow.com.au/collections/all
We believe Flow to be the gentlest beekeeping system ever developed, and are so pleased that so many others feel the same way.
We hope you find the Flow shop and account areas convenient and easy to use.https://www.honeyflow.com//resources/faqs/when-where-can-i-buy-flow-hive-frames/p/28