Frequently Asked Questions
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Where can I buy Flow Hives and Flow Frames?
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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:
What are Flow Frames?
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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.
What is a Flow Hive?
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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.
How do the Flow Frames work?
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The Flow Frame consists of partly pre-formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with nectar, which they turn into honey, and cap the cells as usual.
The Flow Key is inserted into the top operation slot of the frame and turned 90°, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels, allowing the honey to flow down to a sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive (a bit like a tap). During this operation the bees are undisturbed on the comb surface.
Can the Flow Frames come out of the super, like the standard frames do?
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Yes – Flow Frames can be removed in the same way as traditional timber frames.
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.
What extra equipment will I need to operate a Flow Hive and harvest honey?
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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.
Are the Flow Frames made from BPA free plastic?
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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.
What are the dimensions of the Flow Frames?
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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.
Can I separate the three Flow Frames I’ve ordered, or are they one unit?
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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.
Do I need a queen excluder?
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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.
Do I need a special hive tool to pull out the Flow Frames to inspect them for disease?
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The Flow Frames are designed so that they can be removed in the same way as regular frames using a standard hive tool.
What is the cell size of a Flow Frame?
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Flow Frames use a 5.8mm cell width.
We experimented with a range of cell sizes and measured a lot of natural comb.