Frequently Asked Questions
How to Reset a Flow Frame
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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.
How do I care for my bee suit?
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As 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.
Hybrid hive / colony maintenance
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The Hybrid gives beekeepers the advantage of being able to manage their colony by rotating frames between the brood box and the super. This can be beneficial for keeping your worker population strong and can also help with winter preparations or encouraging the bees into the super for quicker uptake.
If you notice a strong honey flow, and your bees are busy filling frames, you might want to consider storing traditional frames outside of the hive for winter feeding. To do this you will need extra traditional frames to replace for the ones you have removed.
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If the roof of your Flow Hive is leaking consider the following treatments:
- Paint the roof with a standard exterior-grade paint. A couple of thick coats of paint can be enough to seal small leaks. Ensure you work the paint into the small gaps, and apply paint liberally to the joins between each of the roof panels.
- Apply a sealant externally to the joins between panels and any holes or areas that may be admitting water (e.g. silicone roof and gutter sealant). Discuss your needs with your local hardware shop to determine the most appropriate product available.
A strong colony of bees who have access to the roof cavity may also resolve water leaks as the bees themselves will fill any gaps with their propolis and create their own weather proofing.
Flow Hive brood frames
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The wooden brood frames we supply can be used in 4 different ways:
1. Foundationless frames
Wintering your Flow Hive
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We cannot emphasise enough that it is best to consult local beekeepers on this and other beekeeping questions. If there is a bee club near you, we encourage you to join it. You will get several opinions on what to do – and will be able to pick the most suitable approach for your situation.
Wintering preparations will vary greatly depending on your local climate—in areas that have mild winters with winter forage, considerations will be far fewer than for areas which experience freezing conditions.
How long do the Flow Frames last?
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The Flow Frames have been tested for several seasons and are still functioning well.
They are designed to last many, many years provided they are kept away from sunlight and treated with care.
How do I stop the bees getting to the honey while it’s draining out of the Flow Hive?
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We have found we can usually harvest the honey without the bees noticing us at the back of the hive. Nevertheless it is best to cover the jars with flywire or plastic wrap, or better still, make a sealed system. This can be achieved by simply making a hole in the lid of a jar for a tube to go into.
If you are harvesting several frames at once using a larger container, you can make holes through the lid for each tube.
Are the Flow Frames made from BPA free plastic?
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We have worked hard to ensure that our Flow Frames are manufactured from the very best food grade materials.
The clear viewing ends of the frames, as well as the honey tube and caps, are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufacturers have assured us that it's not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured with bisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds.
Small hive beetle (SHB) and Flow - Can they enter and is there a need for maintenance?
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Small hive beetle is a big problem in our area. We have designed the frames with beetles in mind.
Beetles cannot get into the honey trough or movement mechanism. Unlike other plastic frames we have made sure there are no spaces created to harbour beetles.
Crystallised honey & Flow Frames
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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.
Do I need to clean the Flow Frames?
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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.
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.
Can the honey channels get blocked?
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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.
- What can I do if I get drone brood in the Flow Frames? viewed 25,645 times
Flow Frame sterilisation / irradiation / disease control
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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.
- Can I order spare parts? viewed 18,655 times
What paint or varnish is safe to coat my Flow Hive with?
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Many beekeepers use oils such as Tung oil or Linseed oil, however we have found when finishing with oils in wet climates, that mildew (black mould) can grow on the surface of your hive. While this will not 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.
Ants attracted to Flow Frames
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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.