All Frequently Asked Questions
All 98 FAQs, sorted by most recent:
98. New to beekeeping and not sure where to start?
For those new to beekeeping, getting set up with a Flow Hive is a great way to get started, as our revolutionary honey harvesting technology removes the need for additional harvesting equipment, making this enjoyable hobby much more accessible.
We love welcoming new beekeepers into the Flow Family and have a swarm of resources to assist you in your beekeeping journey.
Did you know that Cedar connects in with our Flow Community every week on Facebook Live? Watch him answer new to beekeeping questions here:
Expert-led advice on getting your first hive started. Any time, any device. Whether you are a newbee or an experienced beekeeper wanting to refresh your skills, our beginner beekeeping course has handy tips and information to get you started on your beekeeping journey with confidence.
Included with the purchase of any of our Flow products is support from our knowledgeable Flow team:
Weather permitting, the Flow team host weekly question & answer Facebook-live events. Cedar, Stu and our Flow team will run through practical beekeeping, hive inspections and harvesting tips in the Flow apiary. Jump online and have the opportunity to have your question answered.
Have Flow-related bee questions? We’re here to help, and operate during Australian business hours, Monday to Friday.
- Email with our friendly support staff
- Phone in and kick back for a good old chat with Trace
- Live chat to get fast answers to your buzzing questions
Official Flow answers to frequently asked questions.
Who better to answer your beekeeping question than another beekeeper, or twenty! Ask general questions regarding beekeeping, and have them answered by the Flow community. Or read through different topics to find your answer.
Still curious? Read more on getting started beekeeping here.
If you're thinking about getting set-up for the first time, here is a handy Decision Chart to help make your choice a bit easier.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/new-to-beekeeping-and-not-sure-where-to-start/p/394
97. How to Reset a Flow Frame
It is important that you reset your Flow Frames before adding them to your hive to ensure that they are in the correct position for optimal honey storage.
It is not uncommon for a few cells to move out of alignment after being transported, which can be difficult to spot – this simple frame resetting process will allow you to add your Flow Frames to your hive with confidence.
Step-by-step guide to resetting a Flow Frame
- Remove the Key Access Cap.
- Insert the Flow Key in the LOWER operating slot and rotate 90 degrees. This opens the cells.
- Insert Flow Key in the UPPER operating slot and rotate 90 degrees. This closes the cells.
- Remove the Flow Key and replace the Key Access Cap. The cap can only be replaced when the frame is properly reset.
It is very important to ensure you insert the Flow Key right to the back of the operational slot, otherwise, the frame may not be reset in full.
Completing this process is a great way to familiarise yourself with the operation of the Flow Frames before they are in the hive.
If some of the cells still appear to be open (misaligned), please contact our customer support team for further assistance.
Upon adding your Flow Frames into your super, it is also important to adjust the screw at the back of the Flow Frame. Check out the video below for instructions on how to do this, or have a look at our FAQ on how to fit Flow Frame into Flow Super between the front and rear walls.
96. How do I care for my bee suit?
When the weather warms up, it's time to tend to your apiaries and check over all your beekeeping equipment.
Aside from ensuring you have the best hive equipment, it's also essential that you have all the appropriate safety gear which will assist in making your beekeeping season a great one, and a safe one.
Flow Hive technology drastically reduces the chance of being stung during harvest, however, even the friendliest hive can become unsettled sometimes.
So, whether you are checking your brood frames, harvesting some honey, or just hanging out with your girls, it’s great practice to always wear your protective clothing.
If you do not yet have a beekeeping suit, we have plenty of options available to get you beekeeping in style and confidence – you can find our bee suit options here.
A Flow Bee Veil is also the perfect accessory for doing minor chores around your hives.
How to keep your bee suit working effectively
Beekeeping suits, jackets and gloves are valuable pieces of safety equipment. If you maintain them well and treat them with care, they can offer you long lasting and functional sting prevention.
It’s important to remember that your protective wear is not indestructible, so we thought we’d share a couple of our basic tips on how to care for your kit to make sure it's durable and provides you with the best possible ongoing protection.
Inspect your suit often
We recommend that you inspect your safety gear every single time you go to suit up. Check for weaknesses in the seams, tears, rips or holes, or any areas that show signs of weakness.
Bees are very clever when it comes to finding small spaces to crawl through so we suggest you always take particular care when inspecting your veil.
Check for bee-sized gaps
Once you have your gear on, check for any gaps or spaces that a bee could squeeze through – ensure your zippers are done up tight!
Your veil is designed to sit forward and away from your face. Make sure your skin isn’t touching your veil – remember, though it’s unlikely, bees can sting through fabric.
When not in use, carefully store your suit (hanging it up is optimal), avoid contact with sharp objects. Don’t store it under heavy items and try to keep it away from any fabric-eating insects.
Cleaning your veil, suit or gloves
If you feel your beekeeper's suit needs a clean (though most beekeepers we know are happy for them to get quite dirty!), be sure to follow the washing instructions carefully:
Washing Instructions for Bee Suits
- Bee Veil and Hood: Hand wash only. Hang to dry in the shade. Do not tumble dry.
- Suit: Remove veil from suit for machine washing in cold water. Our Organic Cotton suit can be tumble dried on low, however, we recommend to air-dry in shade. All Mesh suits, do not tumble dry. No bleach.
- Gloves: Hand wash in cold water. Hang to dry in shade. Do not tumble dry. No bleach.
95. What pests and diseases do I need to lookout for?
Common pests and diseases affecting European honey bee
There’s a ton of information on beekeeping in books and online. It’s often said that if you ask one question of two beekeepers, you’ll get three answers!
No one person has all the answers, so it’s best to read widely. You might find that our Pests & Diseases fact sheets offer a good starting point.
Click on an image below to download a 2-page PDF (under 1MB each):
94. Beekeeping safely, do I need safety equipment with a Flow Hive?
Flow Hive technology drastically reduces the chance of being stung during harvest, however, beekeepers using the Flow system will still need to perform routine hive inspections to check for pests and diseases and to ensure their hive is healthy.
When opening a hive it is important to take the usual safety precautions, including using a smoker and a quality beekeeper suit.
Check out this Flow-sponsored safety pamphlet covering common beekeeping safety risks and first aid responses.
Flow technology eliminates almost all of the work associated with the honey extraction process, allowing more time to attend to the other more interesting aspects of being a beekeeper.
Want the best in sting prevention?https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/beekeeping-safely-do-i-need-safety-equipment-with-a-flow-hive/p/346
93. Adding brood boxes or supers of different wood-types
Due to different supply sources and manufacturers, there is a small variance in the thickness of timber between some of our products, including those created from different wood sources – Cedar, Araucaria or Paulownia and also between the different styles of hives including Classics and Flow Hive 2’s. Consequently, mixing brood boxes or supers of different timber-type or style 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 and there may also be differences in the appearance of the handles and fixtures included on the boxes.
This should not impair the functionality of the hive as the internal dimensions should still align – it is best to centre the brood boxes so that only a small overhang will appear on all sides rather than on just one panel.
It is also important to note when using brood boxes with different timber or style types, there can be an issue with applying a roof of a different style or timber type directly onto a non-matching brood box. This can be overcome when adding a second brood box to a Flow Hive created from a different timber source, by placing it under the matching brood box rather than above it.
We have many Flow beekeepers who choose to mix-and-match timber types and styles, without any qualms.
Please contact our customer support team for clarification on sizing if you are concerned about product compatibility.
Need a second brood box for your Flow Hive?https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/adding-brood-boxes-or-supers-of-different-wood-types/p/329
92. 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. It’s not uncommon for the bees to 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.
The best way to handle cross-combs is to avoid them in the first place with comb guides, pressing all the frames together tightly into the middle of the box, and by performing regular inspections as the comb is being built out – this way you can correct any cross comb before it becomes an issue.
What to do if your bees do build cross comb
Fixing mild cross-comb:
In most cases, the bees will initially build straight and then flare out and connect to the neighbouring 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 neighbouring frame by cutting the comb away from the top, bottom and side/s 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 its 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 you can. Separate them entirely from the frames and then use rubber bands to secure them within the frames again, ensuring to align the comb vertically.
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.
Extra brood frames are always handy to have around for replacing old frames or for colony maintenance.
91. Flow Hive Hybrid / colony maintenance
The Flow Hive Hybrid incorporates both Flow Frames and traditional timber frames in the Flow Super. This gives beekeepers the opportunity to experience the ease of harvesting with Flow and the advantage of being able to manage their colony by rotating traditional timber 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 timber frames outside of the hive for winter feeding. To do this you will need extra traditional timber frames to replace the ones you have removed.
If you need additional advice on colony management, check out our Community Forum to chat with experienced beekeepers from around the world.
Don’t have a Flow Hive Hybrid? Check them out here.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/hybrid-hive-colony-maintenance/p/327
90. How to add the Flow Super to your brood box
The prospect of adding a Flow Super to a new brood colony is exciting, however, it is really important to wait until the brood box is completely established before adding extra space.
How to know when your brood box is ready to add the super
- To check whether your colony is ready for supering, you need to open up the brood box – so, you'll need to 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 Flow 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 how you acquired your colony, 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 comb 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 any 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 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.
To add your Flow Super/ Hybrid Super
- Once you are ready to add your Flow 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 Flow Frames.
- Next, place your Flow Super on top of the queen excluder.
- If you have a Hybrid Super, it needs to be set up with the 3 Flow Frames pushed together in the centre and secured in place with the supplied screws or dowel). The extra traditional timber frames in a Hybrid Super 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 Super 3 comes with special brood frame slots to ensure that the spacing is even and optimal.
- Make sure you reset your Flow Frames before adding them to the super to ensure they are in correct alignment.
- For Hybrid Supers, 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 3 comes with modified timber panels to prevent this). You can choose to swap a brood frame with one of your traditional timber frames to encourage fast progress in the super – just make that if there is any drone brood, to allow a gap at the roof for about two weeks, to allow the drones to exit once they have hatched.
Watch: Is my Brood box ready for a super ?? – Facebook Livehttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/how-to-add-the-flow-super-to-your-brood-box/p/326
89. How to collect honeycomb from your hive
One of the greatest benefits of the Flow Hybrid is the ability to harvest both Flow harvested honey and honeycomb from the same super.
To harvest honeycomb you need to open the super (remember to take safety precautions – please see our Flow sponsored safety pamphlet covering common beekeeping safety risks and first aid responses).
First, remove the roof and inner cover and then carefully remove the timber frame that you want to harvest.
You need to check to ensure that the frame of honeycomb 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 to 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, give the frame a short, sharp downwards shake into the hive and then you can gently brush with quick flicks any remaining bees off using a bee brush, gloved hands or a soft tree branch (a sprig of rosemary works quite well).
Once the bees are removed from the frame, you need to take it away from the hive (preferably indoors) to cut away 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. Take care to remove all of the comb from the bottom edge so that when you add the frame back into the hive, the bees will hopefully 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.
How much honey can I collect?
The amount of honey your hive will produce is dependent on several factors, such as the strength of the colony, time of year and available forage. However, when the super is full you can collect up to 9 kgs (20 lb) of Flow harvested 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 raw, unprocessed honey – this can increase if the bees really build out each frame. Be prepared with extra jars in case your first one overflows!
Flow Hive Hybrid honeycomb harvesthttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/how-to-collect-honeycomb-from-your-hive/p/325
88. Timber & its natural colour variations
The timber included in our products is made from naturally grown resources making each hive—sometimes even individual panels in the same hive—slightly different in character.
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, for Araucaria white to cream or light brown, and for Paulownia white to pale cream.
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//faqs/all/timber-colour-variations/p/306
87. Refer-A-Friend Program
As a Flow beekeeper you’ve probably harvested with friends and chances are, after experiencing the excitement of honey flowing from the hive straight into a jar, they fancied the idea of owning a Flow Hive themselves… So how can you help?
Our Refer-A-Friend program offers $50 off your friend's first purchase of a Flow Hive, Flow Super or Flow Frames and as a thank you for sharing the love, you’ll receive a sweet $50 reward!
Simply sign up to our program here, and you’ll receive a unique code to share with all the budding newbees you’ve inspired to take up beekeeping.
You can increase your reward by sharing your code on your favourite social media channel – the more people you refer, the greater the reward.
Sign up and get sharing today!
If you have any problems using our Refer-A-Friend program please contact our friendly support team.
- Our websites are currently configured to serve customers based in three separate regions: Australia, Europe, and everywhere else we can ship to. If you wish to refer a friend for purchase from a website outside the region in which you reside, please contact us and we will arrange this for you.
- Referral discounts and reward coupons cannot be used in conjunction with other discounts or promotions, including product bundles. If you have referred multiple friends and wish to apply accumulated reward coupons to a single order, please contact us and we will arrange this for you.
Forage this sweet is too good not to be shared!https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/refer-a-friend-program/p/250
- Our websites are currently configured to serve customers based in three separate regions: Australia, Europe, and everywhere else we can ship to. If you wish to refer a friend for purchase from a website outside the region in which you reside, please contact us and we will arrange this for you.
86. How many brood boxes should I use?
As with many beekeeping questions, opinions vary greatly 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 Community 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 (Northern NSW, Australia) 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 nectar to turn into honey, then add a second brood box or honey super to give the colony more space if needed. Please note, it is important to consult with local experienced beekeepers to ensure that this practice will suit your climate.
For brood box compatibility between hives manufactured from different wood types, see our FAQ here.
Need an extra Brood Boxes?
Spare brood boxes are always handy to have, whether for swarm catching, hive splitting or for adding extra space. Check out our brood boxes here.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/how-many-brood-boxes-should-i-use/p/231
85. Leaking roof
It’s important to ensure that your Flow Hive roof is weatherproof to keep your colony safe and dry.
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 joints between each of the roof panels.
Apply a sealant externally to the joints between panels and any holes or areas that may be admitting water (e.g. silicone roof and gutter sealant). We recommend discussing 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.
For more information on weatherproofing your hive, see our FAQ: What paint or varnish is safe to coat my Flow Hive with?https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/leaking-roof/p/209
84. Flow Hive brood frames
The traditional timber brood frames that are supplied with our Flow Hives 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 timber 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 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 with a new colony and empty brood frames, inspect the brood once a week to make sure they are building comb on the guides to avoid cross comb. If the comb starts to wander off the guide, push it back into place with your hand or hive tool. Generally, once your bees build a few straight combs, they will continue to do so on the remaining frames.
- When inspecting fresh foundationless comb, keep the frame vertical. Fresh comb is very delicate, 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 check out this great blog post 'Foundationless fabulousness' by Hilary Kearney.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Watch here on how to add wax foundation to a brood frame.
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 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
Want to learn more? Our online beekeeping course features advice from the world's experts, and the free trial includes information on brood frames and foundationless beekeeping. Find out more.
Watch Facebook Live: What type of brood frame is best?
Watch: Starting a Flow Hive with foundationless frames
Need extra timber frames?
Spare timber brood frames are always handy to have – whether you’ve captured a swarm, are performing a hive split or just need to swap out some frames for routine maintenance. Check out our timber Foundationless Brood Frames here.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/flow-hive-brood-frames/p/208
83. Wintering your Flow Hive
We cannot emphasise enough that it is best to consult local beekeepers on this topic as advice will vary greatly depending on local conditions. If there is a bee club near you, we encourage you to join it or find a local mentor who can offer you support.
Wintering preparations will be based around the needs resulting from your local climate – in areas that have mild winters with winter forage, considerations will be far fewer than for areas which experience freezing conditions.
There are a few main concerns for a beehive over the winter months, these include, but are not limited to; the colony starving, not having enough population numbers and the colony freezing, 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 Community Forum is a great place to start).
Our Flow Hives consist of a brood box and a Flow Super (you can also add an additional brood box if this is your preference).
In cold climates the general recommendation is for the bees to have a full honey super to feed on during the cold months. It is important to consider your bees overwintering needs towards the end of the season and to leave them the appropriate stores for winter. Leaving your Flow Super on the hive with a good store of honey will give your colony the best chance of surviving, 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 form a cluster around the honey that it is consuming in order to both feed and retain their optimal temperature. This cluster will gradually move up into the honey super over winter when stores are depleted in the brood box.
If you have a queen excluder in place the queen will not be able to move up with the colony and will starve. Therefore, it is recommended that you remove the queen excluder as part of your preparation for winter. Remember to replace the queen excluder again when the warmer weather arrives checking first that your queen is back in the brood box.
Adding insulation to the top of the hive is also a good overwintering practice. Styrofoam, wool insulation, etc. can be placed between the top cover and the hive roof. In the Flow Hive Classic, to minimise cold draughts it’s a good idea to put the corflute slider in the top position, and for all hives reducing the size of the entrance to being just 30mm (an inch) or so wide is generally recommended.
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 or fondant 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 the queen excluder. Replace the inner cover and roof onto 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//faqs/all/wintering-your-flow-hive/p/206
82. What do I need to check before I harvest from my Flow Hive?
It is important to check that the Flow Frames are fully capped and ready, before harvesting.
If it is your first time, we recommend that you open the hive (with a smoker and protective gear) and lift out the Flow Frames for inspection so that you get to know what that end-view window is telling you. It’s not uncommon for bees to fill the frames in different ways – some frames may appear full, while the centre remains empty and some colonies will fill a frame and avoid the last cells in the window.
With time and observation, you will learn to gauge when a frame is ready to be harvested.
When you are ready to harvest honey from your Flow Hive, have a look at our harvesting checklist, video and infographic.
Watch this Facebook Live with Cedar Anderson: "Inspecting Flow Frames [Before Harvesting]"
Watch this Facebook Live with Cedar Anderson: “How to tell when your Flow Hive is ready to harvest"https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/what-do-i-need-to-check-before-i-harvest-my-flow-hive-frames/p/198
81. Why aren't my bees filling the Flow Frames?
The two main things we have found that increase the rate at which bees fill the Flow 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:
Timing is key – it is important to only add the Flow Super once the brood box is packed with bees, and the last timber frame has been built out. Also make sure it is the right season, and there will be flowering plants for the bees to collect nectar.
If you have other honey supers on the hive, removing some, or all, of them so that the Flow Super fills with bees. This is likely to allow for 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 speed in which the bees fill the Flow Frames varies greatly. We’ve witnessed colonies complete all the frames quickly, sometimes within a week or two, and other make slow progress to get started for the first time.
Bees don’t always do what we would like them to. When comparing two Flow Hives beside each other of similar strength one customer reported that while one hive filled the Flow Frames quickly, the other took 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 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 top and 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;
Once completed 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 (however every colony, and often group of working bees, may do things a little differently!);
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 timber 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.
Read more on how to get bees to take to your Flow Frames in our blog post "How do I get my bees to take to their Flow Frames?".
Read more on whether bees fill the Flow comb at a similar rate to wax comb on our FAQ "Do the bees willingly fill the Flow comb compared to the traditional wax comb?".
Bees waxing the gaps:
Capped side window:
Bees capping a flow frame:
80. What feeders will work with a Flow Hive?
Where we are located in Northern NSW, 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.
There is lots of discussion and debate on feeding bees – the two more popular options seem to be; i) sugar water feeding, and ii) 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. 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.
DO NOT feed supermarket honey to your bees. It may contain American Foulbrood spores.
It is safe to feed honey produced by the colony back to them if stores are low.
Watch how Cedar has created a DIY feeder here
79. 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 have been sold to over 75,000 customers in over 130 countries around the world.
We know that Flow technology has enormous potential, and we're looking for like-minded individuals and companies globally as a local presence in some areas will be able to reach and serve customers more effectively than we can.
Flow’s ethos of equally combining the strongest of environmental and business ethics while applying the relevant range of experience along with honesty and integrity are what we seek from all participants in our International Network. To this end we are seeking applications for the following programs within our International Distribution Network:-
Flow Authorised Distributors
Flow Authorised Resellers
Flow Certified Ambassadors
Flow carefully considers each individual application, as any appointment is an important decision. Ensuring the highest level of Customer Service and Customer Support remains our priority at all times.
If you are interested in applying for becoming a Flow Distributor, Reseller or Ambassador for Flow, please find application forms and guidelines here.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/can-i-become-a-flow-distributor/p/187
78. Identifying your Flow Frame model / version (BZ?)
To purchase replacement parts for your Flow Frame it is important to first identify exactly which part is required to suit your Flow Frame model number.
Embossed in the bottom left corner of your Flow Frame is a model number – it will read BZ*, where * is a digit.
Please quote this number in correspondence with our customer support team.
Need a spare part for your Flow Frame? Purchase Flow Frame Caps, Covers and Tube kits and Flow Keys here.
Want to purchase Flow Frames for your hive?https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/identifying-your-flow-frame-model-version-bz5-or-bz6/p/185
77. Leaking honey from my Flow Hive
It's not uncommon to have a small amount of honey leaking from your frames inside the hive whilst harvesting. The majority of the time this is 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 (1-2 teaspoons), however there have been a few reports of more significant leakage. To ensure that you do not out your brood at risk, 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 can back up in the tube and spill over the edges of the trough inside the hive.
For Flow Hive Classics, place the Corflute Slider (white plastic sheet in the baseboard) in the upper position. This will allow the bees to recycle any honey spillage.
For Flow Hive 2s, make sure to clean out your acrylic inspection tray before harvesting. This will catch any honey spills.
If you do experience leakage with your initial frame we recommend that you check to make sure 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 – we are here to help.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/leaking-honey-from-my-flow-hive/p/183
76. My hive has different coloured woods, is it made entirely of western red cedar?
Western red cedar is a beautiful timber with a remarkably fine and stable grain structure. With unique fine grain characteristics that minimises shrinkage and swelling, along with being a hard-wearing softwood, it’s a popular choice for bee hives around the world due to its durability.
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, to pale-brown, through to a richer dark-brown. It has a fine texture and straight grain, with growth rings often visible.
This colour variation will sometimes make our hive bodies and supers appear to be made from different woods even though they are all made from western red cedar.
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.
Shop our Flow Hives, Supers and Brood Boxes from Cedar:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/is-my-hive-made-all-of-the-same-western-red-cedar-wood/p/182
75. Why is my order being shipped separately / in different packages?
If you purchase a Flow Hive* or Flow Super, the Flow Frames and timber components are shipped as two separate packages, due to the size and weight of the boxes.
*The only exception is our Flow Hive Hybrid 3, which contains the Flow Frames and wooden components in the same package.
Due to weight restrictions advised by our shipping provider, it is not possible to combine packages. This includes beekeeping suit kits and smokers – which, if ordered, will be shipped separately. Occasionally, accessories may be combined into one box when ordered as part of a bundle.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/why-is-my-flow-hive-or-super-being-shipped-separately-in-two-packages/p/181
74. Minor repairs & complete Flow Frame re-assembly
At Flow, we have aimed to design and create products that are enduring and that can be easily maintained.
Beekeeping is such a varied practice, with many beekeepers finding the need to move frames around when cleaning or performing routine maintenance, which can result in Flow Frames needing small adjustments.
We have designed our Flow Frames so you can adjust the tension or reassemble* them if needed.
The following instructional videos can assist with Flow Frames maintenance:
Reassemble and tighten Flow Frame wires
If the cables on your Flow Frames are loose, or the frame is sagging, it’s best to tighten up the cables, watch the video below:
Complete Flow Frame Reassembly
It can be a shock to discover how many pieces a Flow Frame actually contains! In the event that you find yourself with a Flow Frame that does need reassembling, don't despair. It's relatively easy to put your frame back together again following this video (plus you'll learn a lot about your incredible product in the process).
Fixing bent Flow Frames
Correcting small misalignmentshttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/minor-repairs-complete-flow-frame-re-assembly/p/180
73. 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
72. How long do the Flow Frames last?
Flow Frames have been tested in the field for over a decade with great success, and have been found to be durable and long lasting when used in the manner for which they are intended.
Manufactured from the highest quality BPA and BPS free plastic, all of our products come with a 12-month product guarantee and all of our trial frames are still going strong after many years of use.
Flow Frames are UV sensitive, so to ensure they are long lasting, when removing them from the hive, keep them away from sunlight and store them in a light-proof container.
Shop Flow Frames now:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/how-long-do-the-flow-frames-last/p/178
71. 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. It’s now also confirmed that the Flow Frames are suitable for use with the Japanese Honey bee (Apis japonica). Read more on the adaptation of the Flow Hive for Japanese honey bees here.
Although we have researched and trialled their use extensively, we have not yet confirmed that every subspecies will take to the frames successfully. For example, it’s reported that African bees, Apis mellifera scutellata, will not readily take to plastic foundation of any kind.
That’s where you come in – we invite you to be pioneers in using Flow Frames with the various subspecies of Apis mellifera.
We really value all the feedback that we receive from customers in regards to different species of bees, and their success with Flow Frame technology and 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 #flowhive
Shop Flow Hives, Flow Supers and Flow Frames now:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/what-type-of-bees-can-go-in-flow-hive-frames/p/177
70. Flow Hive & Flow Frame weights and dimensions
Since the launch on Indiegogo, the Flow Hive has been in a constant state of evolution, with innovation at the forefront of the design process.
We are constantly looking at ways to improve our product, finding and utilising sustainable timber sources and now, for the first time, we have introduced in-house timber manufacturing, allowing us to continue to find a better way.
The use of various different timber manufacturers on this journey has resulted in some minor sizing differences between our Flow Hive models, however, these should not impact on the ability to use your Flow products in conjunction with existing Langstroth equipment.
Shipping box weights and dimensions
All dimensions & weights included here are for the product flat-packed in its shipping box. Timber components and Flow Frames ship in separate packages.
Timber components Weight Length Width Height Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 US 14.5 kg / 32 lbs 635 mm / 25 in 535 mm /21.1 in 230 mm /9.1 in Flow Hive 2 Cedar 6 17 kg / 37.5 lbs 640 mm / 25.2 in 541 mm / 21.3 in 200 mm / 7.87 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 6 17.5 kg / 38.6 lbs 640 mm / 25.2 in 480 mm / 18.9 in 240 mm / 9.4 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 6 19.96 kg / 44 lbs 640 mm / 25.2 in 541 mm / 21.3 in 200 mm / 7.87 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 7 18.9 kg / 41.7 lbs 620mm / 24.4 in 425 mm / 16.7 in 300 mm / 11.8 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 7 21.7 kg / 47.74 lbs 627 mm / 24.75 in 514 mm / 20.25 in 203 mm / 8 in Flow Hive Hybrid 3 (Inc. Flow Frames) 21.7 kg / 47.74 lbs 620 mm / 24.4 in 520.7 mm / 20.5 in 335 mm / 13.2 in Flow Hive UK National 8 (Inc. Flow Frames) 14.5 kg / 32 lbs 540 mm / 21.3 in 520 mm / 20.5 in 300 mm / 11.8 in Flow Frames Weight Length Width Height Flow Frame Classic 3 3.95 kg /8.7 lbs 551 mm / 21.7 in 259 mm / 10.2 in 201 mm / 7.9 in Flow Frame Classic 4 5.08 kg / 11.2 lbs 551 mm / 21.7 in 259 mm / 10.2 in 259 mm / 10.2 in Flow Frame Classic 6 7.46 kg / 16.45 lbs 544 mm / 21.4 in 375 mm / 14.8 in 267 mm / 10.5 in Flow Frame Classic 7 8.53 kg / 18.8 lbs 550 mm / 21.65 in 430 mm / 16.93 in 260 mm / 10.24 in
Flow Hive Brood Box Measurement Comparison Table
There are minor sizing differences between some of our Flow Hive models - please find brood box measurements below. For more information on stacking boxes made from different timber types or styles, please see our FAQ here.
External Measurements Length Width Height Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 US 505 mm / 19.9 in 355 mm / 13.98 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 AU 502 mm / 19.76 in 351 mm / 13.82 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Cedar 6 500 mm / 19.69 in 350 mm / 13.78 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 6 508 mm / 20 in 356 mm / 14 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 6 502 mm / 19.76 in 351 mm / 13.82 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 7 507 mm / 19.96 in 406 mm / 15.98 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 7 502 mm / 19.76 in 405 mm / 15.94 in 247 mm / 9.72 in Flow Hive UK National 8 459 mm / 18 in 460 mm / 18.2 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Internal Measurements Length Width Height Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 US 467 mm / 18.39 in 316 mm / 12.44 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Cedar 6 AU 463 mm / 18.23 in 314 mm / 12.36 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Cedar 6 465 mm / 18.3 in 315 mm / 12.4 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 6 465 mm / 18.3 in 315 mm / 12.4 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 6 465 mm / 18.3 in 316 mm / 12.44 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive Classic Araucaria 7 465 mm / 18.3 in 365 mm / 14.37 in 245 mm / 9.65 in Flow Hive 2 Araucaria 7 465 mm / 18.3 in 369 mm / 14.53 in 247 mm / 9.72 in Flow Hive UK National 8 418 mm / 16.46 in 417 mm / 16.42 in 245 mm / 9.65 in
69. 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//faqs/all/ants-attracted-to-flow-frames/p/173
68. 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//faqs/all/cap-doesnt-fit-on-the-flow-key-operation-slot/p/172
67. 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//faqs/all/honey-not-flowing-after-opening-the-flow-frame/p/170
66. 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//faqs/all/flow-key-is-really-hard-to-turn-when-opening-the-frame/p/169
65. 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//faqs/all/cannot-remove-caps-from-flow-frame-operating-slot-or-honey-trough/p/168
64. 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//faqs/all/cannot-fit-flow-frame-into-flow-super-between-the-front-and-rear-walls/p/167
63. 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//faqs/all/cannot-fit-flow-frames-into-flow-super-side-by-side/p/166
62. 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
61. 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//faqs/all/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.
60. 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//faqs/all/isnt-cedar-bad-for-bees-and-other-insects-doesnt-it-repel-them/p/153
59. What paint or varnish is safe to coat my Flow Hive with?
Many beekeepers use oils such as tung 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 affect 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.
It's important to note that we have had limited success in treating hives with varnish. If the treatment you are using is not breathable this can result in moisture from inside the hive effecting the external finish and producing mould or discolouration under the surface of your timber treatment.
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 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.
We recommend painting Araucaria and Paulownia hives and all roofs with at least two coats of good quality exterior paint for the longest and most effective protection.Cedar Flow Hive 2 oiled with painted roof – the oil finish will diminish and become grey over time. Flow Hive Classic in the background with painted roof and bottom boardAraucaria Flow Hive Classic 6 frame painted with a beautiful bee design, and a painted Araucaria brood box in the backgroundAn oiled Cedar Flow Hive Classic with a painted roof. Note, the oil will wear off within 6-12 months
58. 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//faqs/all/can-i-order-spare-parts/p/146
57. Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control
Under normal conditions, it is not necessary to clean your Flow Frames (click here for information on routine cleaning and storage of Flow Frames).
In some jurisdictions cleaning may be necessary prior to sterilisation as a means of disease control—please contact your local department of primary industries for region-specific advice.
Cleaning and wax removal for sterilisation
Following are some options for removing wax and propolis from Flow Frames. We have tested these treatments and found them to have no effect on the mechanical function of the product.
Prior to treatment manually remove excess wax, by placing the frames on newspaper and scraping. We have achieved best results at wax removal by disassembling the Flow Frame prior to treatment, however, please note that this will void your warranty.
These are maximum exposure recommendations and should only be used under conditions where sterilisation of the frames is necessary. Do not exceed temperature and time for optimum function of your frames. Destroy all debris by burning.
#Ethanol is highly flammable. Do not heat ethanol on or near a naked flame.
*The use of caustic solutions (Caustic Soda/washing soda) requires great care and caution. You must use suitable protective clothing, protect your eyes and use rubber gloves.
The safety of your bees is very important—after any treatment of your frames please ensure they are rinsed thoroughly in water and dried prior to storage or returning to your hive.
Please note that if you are treating AFB this is a notifiable disease. Legal requirements differ between jurisdictions. Please contact your local authority for advice on appropriate disease control measures.
In some jurisdictions, it is acceptable to use bleach to sterilise AFB contaminated hive components. Research has shown that immersion for twenty minutes in a solution of 0.5% sodium hypochlorite kills AFB spores and other bacteria. The solution must be in direct contact with the spores. It is, therefore, necessary to remove wax and other debris prior to sterilisation (see above cleaning options).
In some countries, Gamma irradiation is used to sterilise equipment infected with American Foulbrood (AFB). A dose of 10 kGy is sufficient to eliminate AFB spores (Hornitzky&Wills, 1983; Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice, 2016, Pg 11). Flow Frames should be exposed to the minimum possible Gamma irradiation dose, in order to prevent degradation of frame components.
What you should do when treating with irradiation:
Check your model number. BZ8 Frames will withstand only one round of irradiation at 10 kGy. All other frame models will withstand 2 rounds of AFB sterilisation at 10 kGy. 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.
We recommend you contact the facility to discuss maximum doses. If you are in Australia (excluding Tasmania) we recommend that you send your frames to Steritech’s Brisbane Facility. This facility is capable of controlling the irradiation dose. If you need to send your Flow Frames for irradiation please mark them clearly for future reference.
If you would like to ask us more about sterilising the Flow Frames feel free to discuss on the forum.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/flow-frame-sterilisation-irradiation-disease-control/p/145
56. 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//faqs/all/modifying-a-langstroth-box-for-flow-frames/p/143
55. 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//faqs/all/how-can-i-view-my-orders-or-change-my-address-and-details/p/140
54. 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//faqs/all/payment-issues-credit-card-or-paypal-on-website/p/138
53. 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//faqs/all/what-is-the-cell-size/p/118
52. 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//faqs/all/what-would-you-do-if-you-got-drone-brood-in-the-flow-frames/p/117
51. 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//faqs/all/do-the-honey-channels-get-blocked/p/112
50. 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//faqs/all/when-is-my-flow-product-going-to-be-delivered/p/111
49. 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//faqs/all/can-i-pick-up-locally-or-from-brisbane/p/109
This is due to boxes and frames being produced at different locations.
48. 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//faqs/all/will-flow-work-with-pollen-draws/p/108
47. 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//faqs/all/will-the-queen-lay-eggs-in-the-flow-frames/p/107
46. 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.
Please note, while we encourage the creative use of our product, disassembly or modification of your Flow Frames from their original format will void your warranty.
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//faqs/all/uk-national-and-flow-frames/p/106
45. 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//faqs/all/how-do-i-change-upgrade-my-order/p/104
44. 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//faqs/all/do-flow-frames-work-with-manuka-jellybush-honey/p/103
43. 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//faqs/all/do-i-need-a-special-hive-tool-to-pull-out-the-flow-frames-to-inspect-them-for-disease/p/89
42. 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//faqs/all/do-the-bees-ever-put-pollen-in-a-flow-frame-is-this-a-problem/p/88
41. Do I need to clean the Flow Frames?
Flow Frame cleaning and storage
We haven't found the Flow Comb needs cleaning if it stays in the hive – the bees do a great job of keeping it clean.
You don't need to clean Flow Frames if left within the hive unless you detect disease in them. If you detect disease, you will need advice from experienced beekeepers on disease prevention and response for your area.
The Honey Trough at the bottom of the frame is designed so that any honey remaining after harvest 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 remove Flow Frames from the hive for storage it is a good idea to remove residual honey. To do this, set the Flow Comb to ‘cell open’ position and rinse in hot water (no hotter than 70 Celsius / 160 Fahrenheit). Allow the frames to dry thoroughly before storage.
Wax moth eggs present in the wax comb can result in an infestation on frames while in storage. This is messy but will not damage the Flow Frames. To help prevent wax moth infestation seal rinsed and dried Flow Frames in plastic to avoid reinfestation, then place in a freezer overnight. This will destroy any eggs or larvae present in the wax.
Store your Flow Frames in the dark, in a cool and dry location. Flow frames are UV sensitive and should not be exposed to light for extended periods.
To discuss cleaning and maintenance of the Flow frames join the discussion on our forum.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/do-i-need-to-clean-the-flow-frames/p/87
40. 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//faqs/all/will-the-queen-lay-eggs-in-the-flow-frames-do-i-need-a-queen-excluder/p/85
39. 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//faqs/all/do-i-need-to-install-a-metal-strip-on-the-back-of-my-hive-like-in-the-pictures/p/84
38. 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//faqs/all/can-i-separate-the-three-flow-frames-ive-ordered-or-are-they-one-unit/p/82
37. 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//faqs/all/how-do-i-get-bees/p/80
36. 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//faqs/all/if-i-havent-kept-bees-before-should-i-get-a-flow-hive/p/79
35. Do I need a license to keep bees?
The need to obtain a license to keep bees will depend on the regulations in your local area.
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 before you set up a new hive.
It's a good idea to check in with your local council because some local authorities have banned beekeeping in built-up areas and other can sting you with a hefty fine if you have not registered your hive when required to do so.
To be sure you are doing your part to maintain the health and wellbeing of your colony and others in your region, it's best to research the local rules and regulations so you are well prepared.
34. 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//faqs/all/do-i-need-to-register-my-hive/p/77
33. 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//faqs/all/if-i-get-a-flow-hive-does-that-mean-i-never-have-to-open-up-the-hive/p/76
32. 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//faqs/all/what-if-i-am-allergic-to-bees-can-i-still-use-a-flow-hive/p/75
31. 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//faqs/all/do-bees-in-a-flow-hive-still-sting-people/p/74
30. 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, however, we do encourage the use of a queen 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.
While we encourage the creative use of our product, disassembly or modification of your Flow Frames from their original format will void your warranty.
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//faqs/all/what-are-the-dimensions-of-the-flow-frames/p/70
29. 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//faqs/all/does-the-honey-crystallise-in-the-flow-frame/p/69
28. Small hive beetle (SHB) and Flow - Can they enter and is there a need for maintenance?
Small hive beetle is a common pest and can become a serious problem for weak or establishing colonies. We have designed the Flow Frames and Flow Hive with beetles in mind.
Beetles cannot get into the honey trough or frame movement mechanism. Unlike other plastic frames we have made sure there are no spaces created to harbour beetles.
The Flow Hive 2 has a pest management tray which can be used to apply small hive beetle traps or treatments and can also help to identify if there is an issue.
The feedback we have received from customers who have lost their colony to small hive beetles in a Flow Hive is, that 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, around 70 degrees.
To read more about small hive beetles check out our pests and diseases fact sheet here.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/small-hive-beetle-shb/p/68
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?
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.
Third-party labs have tested this material and have found it to be 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.
It's important to always buy genuine Flow products to ensure your bees are safe.
Plastics have been used for many years in beehives for both brood and honeycombs 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//faqs/all/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 of our Flow products.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/do-you-ship-to-my-country-what-are-the-shipping-rates/p/56
If you are in Europe, please click here to go to our European site and add products to cart for your shipping quote.
If you are in Australia, please click here to go to our Australian website and add products to cart for your shipping quote.
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//faqs/all/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//faqs/all/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 a Hybrid Flow Hive and 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//faqs/all/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 – your bees need honey stores 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. We recommend you consult with 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 can help 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. It’s not recommended to feed honey to your bees as this can spread disease (if it is taken from other hives, or store bought), and is a lot more expensive than sugar.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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 harvesting the honey whenever it is ready, giving 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 bee colony is particularly large, we would recommend you use two Flow Supers or more. You can also add conventional supers for overwintering purposes. Read more about overwintering your Flow Hive here.
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//faqs/all/how-many-flow-boxes-supers-do-i-need-per-hive/p/50
18. How often do I need to check the brood?
The frequency which you need to check the brood depends on your location. In our area (Northern NSW, Australia) it is normal to inspect the brood nest of each hive a few times a year for disease. In some areas beekeepers check more frequently.
If colony numbers appear to be declining or the hive is weak it should also be inspected.
Our invention changes the honey harvesting component of beekeeping, however, all other beekeeping practices remain the same – it is still important to inspect for pest and diseases, and to perform hive management practices such as swarm control, etc.
The Flow Hive’s observation windows do assist in allowing you to look into the hive, and gauge the strength and health of the colony.
Want to learn more? Our online beekeeping course features advice from the world's experts, covering everything that you need to understand in order to be successful. Find out more here.
Facebook Live Brood Check
17. Is there a best time of day to harvest the Flow Hive?
It is possible to harvest from a Flow Hive at any time of the day or night because there is no need to open the hive. This means the regular concerns of chilling or disturbing the bees on cold or windy days do not apply.
We have found the bees are often calmest in the late afternoon, and at this time the honey in the hive is likely to be warmest and may flow more easily, therefore this can be an opportune time for harvesting.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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 opening your hive and working with your bees, and though this should not be necessary when harvesting, it is important to have a suit on hand in case your bees become agitated.
For more information see this Flow sponsored safety pamphlet.
Shop Flow Beekeeper Suit Kitshttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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?
Although you should not need to smoke the hive when you harvest from your Flow Frames, we do recommend that you use a smoker whilst undertaking beekeeping activities, such as routine inspections of the brood nest.
Smoking the hive masks the alarm pheromone and helps to keep your colony calm.
You can learn more about handling your smoker safely by reading this Flow sponsored safety pamphlet.
Shop Flow Smokerhttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/do-i-need-to-smoke-the-hive/p/46
14. How do I know when to harvest/drain the hive?
Bees typically fill frames from the centre moving outwards. As the ends of the Flow Frames are visible through the rear window of the Flow Super, it is possible to see when the Flow Frames are ready to harvest.
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.
If it is your first time harvesting from your hive, we do recommend that you open the hive (with smoker and protective gear) and lift out the Flow Frames for inspection, so that you get to know what that end-view window is telling you. With this experience, after a while, the end view will tell you what is happening within the hive, and when the Flow Frames are ready to harvest.
Watch: Inspecting Flow Frames Before Harvesting
Watch: How to tell when your Flow Hive is ready to harvesthttps://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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?
For harvesting your honey, you will need a container (or several jars) to collect your honey. It’s a good idea to have some extras on hand – you may be surprised by how much honey comes out!
A bee suit and gloves, or at least a bee veil, are important to have on hand in case your bees get aggressive – it’s always best to bee prepared.
Aside from harvesting, you’ll need to open your hive to inspect it for health and general maintenance as usual, for which you will need a bee suit, smoker and hive tool. These can be purchased from our shop.
If you are new to beekeeping, it’s a great idea to link up with an experienced beekeeper to learn how to care for your bees.
Want to learn more? Our online beekeeping course features advice from the world's experts, covering everything that you need to understand in order to be successful. Find out more.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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 – Flow Frames can be removed in the same way as traditional timber frames.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/can-the-flow-frames-come-out-of-the-super-like-the-standard-frames-do/p/43
This is important for inspections and because this is how most hives in the world work.
However, there is no need for removing the Flow Frames when extracting the honey.
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).
One of the great benefits of Flow Frames is that you can harvest as much or as little honey as you want – you can take just one small jar for a gift or the breakfast table, or harvest an entire (or several) Flow Frame(s).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.
Want your own honey on tap?
Existing Langstroth hives, and want the benefit of harvesting with Flow?https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/how-much-honey-comes-out-of-a-flow-super/p/42
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 (insert the Flow Key into the top slot, and turn 90 degrees downwards), so that the bees can seal the split cells and recommence filling them with nectar, which they turn into honey.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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 (at peak flowering times and production of nectar).
Facebook Live – Different conditions that affect forage
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 coat the Flow Frames with wax and fill them with nectar (which they turn into honey).
We have done many experiments using the Flow Frames in the middle of a standard super with wax foundation frames either side, along with trialling the Flow Super above and below a traditional super.
We have found that all colonies behave differently – some bees will show no preference while others will choose to fill the traditional timber frames before the the Flow Frames.
However, once the Flow Frames have been used by the colony for the first time, they no longer show a preference either way.
If your bees are taking a while to start filling your Flow Frames, please read this FAQ.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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//faqs/all/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 beehive.
Six Flow Frames fit into a 8-frame deep-super.
Seven Flow Frames fit into a 10-frame deep-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.
3 Flow Frames, plus 4 timber frames fit into a full 8-frame, deep-super.
4 Flow Frames, plus 4 timber frames fit into a 10-frame deep-super,
Shop Flow Supers now:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/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 Frames to be as adaptable and as affordable as possible, so we have designed them in such a way that 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 will need to be modified by cutting two access doorways in one end.
When the Flow 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 beehives to fit the Flow Frames, please check out our Community Forum.
Please be aware that if you are modifying the Flow Frame, it voids the warranty of the frame. Please contact our Customer Support team before modifying your Flow Frame for acceptable modifications.https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/can-i-fit-the-flow-frames-into-my-existing-beehives/p/34
4. 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 closed system. This can be achieved by simply making a hole in the lid of a jar for a tube to go into. Just make sure that there is a little bit of space for air to get in, otherwise it can cause the honey to back-up in the honey trough.
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//faqs/all/how-do-i-stop-the-bees-getting-to-the-honey-while-its-draining-out-of-the-flow-hive/p/32
3. 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 beehive 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.
Shop Flow Hives now:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/what-is-a-flow-hive/p/30
2. What are Flow Frames?
Flow Frames are the biggest innovation in beekeeping for over 150 years! This world first technology has made it possible to harvest honey without opening the hive and with very little disturbance to the bees.
Invented by Cedar and Stuart Anderson, these removable frames contain a matrix that the bees build their wax honeycomb on. Once the honey is capped and ready for harvesting, the beekeeper can simply “tap” the frame and the honey will flow out, completely unprocessed into their jar, saving hours of sweaty hard work.
This incredible technology has made the fascinating world of beekeeping much more accessible as it negates the need for expensive extraction equipment.
Shop Flow Frames now:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/what-are-flow-frames/p/29
1. Where can I buy Flow Hives and Flow Frames?
If you’re considering exploring the fascinating world of bees with a Flow Hive, it’s important to ensure that you purchase a genuine Flow product from an authorised seller to avoid disappointment.
Flow products are:
Made from the highest quality food grade plastic and are BPA & BPS free, which means they’re safe for bees
The only proven product on the market with over 14 years of testing and research
Proudly Australian Made and B Corp certified
Come with a product warranty and excellent customer support
Don’t risk your bees or your wallet with cheap counterfeit versions. To read more about the risks, visit our page here.
Flow products are available online here:
We also have a number of Authorised Flow Resellers who you can find listed here.
We believe Flow to be the gentlest beekeeping system ever developed, and are so pleased that so many others feel the same way.
Please let us know if you have any questions, or need help choosing which Flow Hive is right for you.
Shop Flow Hives and Frames NOW:https://www.honeyflow.com//faqs/all/when-where-can-i-buy-flow-hive-frames/p/28