When / where can I buy Flow™ hive & frames?
You can buy, pledge and support Flow™
on Indiegogo here.
What are Flow™ frames?
"Flow™" is the name of our new invention that allows honey to be
harvested directly from the hive without opening the hive and
with little disturbance to the bees. The Flow frames are the
beehive frames that make this possible.
What is a Flow™ Hive?
A Flow Hive is our term for a standard beehive using a brood box
with one or more Flow Supers for honey storage and extraction. A
honeybee hive is usually made up of two boxes; the brood box
where the queen bee lays eggs, and the 'super' 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?
The Flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb
cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells
with honey and cap the cells as usual.
When you turn the tool, a
bit like a tap, 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, while the
bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface.
When the honey has finished draining, you turn the tap again in
the upper slot which resets the comb into the original position
and allows the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it
with honey again.
How do I stop the bees getting to the honey while it's
draining out of the Flow™ hive?
Quite often we can drain the honey out without the bees even
noticing us at the back of the hive, but sometimes they do and
you will need to cover the jars, 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 using a bucket, you can put many holes through the
lid of the bucket or make up a manifold.
Do I need a Flow box for the brood box too?
No, the brood box stays the same as it always has been. You can
simply replace the honey supers on a standard beehive with one
or more Flow Supers.
Can I fit the Flow frames into my existing beehives?
We want this to be as affordable as possible so we have designed
it so you can use your own boxes. The Flow frames are designed
Langstroth size deep boxes and are inserted into standard
bee supers (boxes) in much the same way as standard frames.
box itself is slightly modified by cutting two access doorways
in one end. When the frames are inserted, the ends of the frames
now form the end of the super. This allows access to the
operating slots and honey pipe outlets.
Does the Flow Super fit an 8 or 10 frame Langstroth hive?
The flow frames will fit either an 8 or 10 frame Langstroth. A
full "8 frame, deep" Super would take six Flow frames, and the
10 frame super would take 7 Flow frames 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.
Can I put a Flow Super on a UK National?
Yes, this can be done in two ways:
Use an adaptor from UK National to
Langstroth size box. This can be made or bought so that
the more common Langstroth size box can be used.
The Flow frames are available in lengths
to suit a UK national. Eight Flow frames fit across a UK
national box. However, UK National boxes and frames have
different depths than Langstroth. The box wall height
can be adjusted by adding a strip of wood to the bottom
of the box.
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. As long as the bees have good access to the Flow frames and
sense that they are a part of their hive, they will fill them
Do the bees willingly fill the Flow comb compared to the
traditional wax comb?
In many years of testing we have found the bees readily wax up
and fill the Flow frames. We have done quite a few experiments
putting Flow frames in the middle of a standard supers with wax
foundation frames either side. The bees have shown no preference
either way and readily start building on, and filling the Flow
frames at the same time as the traditional ones.
How long does it take before I can drain the honey from the Flow
This depends on the amount of nectar available for the bees and
how strong the colony is. We have had Flow Supers that have
filled in a week during peak times of the flowering season,
however a super usually fills well within a month during the
spring and summer.
How long does it take for the honey to drain out?
Anything from twenty minutes to over two hours depending on the
temperature and the viscosity of the honey. It is OK to leave it
draining overnight (if it is secure from nocturnal animals).
When you have finished draining the honey remember to return the
frames to 'cell closed' position so that the bees can seal the
broken cells and recommence filling them with more honey.
How much honey comes out of a Flow super?
About three kilos per frame (more if the bees really build each
frame out). If you have seven frames in your super box then you
can expect to harvest at least 20 kilos when every frame is
Can the Flow frames come out of the super, like the standard
Yes. This is important for inspections and because this is how
most hives in the world work. However, there is no need for this
in the normal operations of extracting honey.
What extra equipment will I need to get the honey?
You will need a container to collect your honey. You will also
need some pipe to connect your jar or bucket to the honey drain
points on the hive. A bee suit and gloves or at least a bee veil
is essential in case your bees get aggressive. You will need to
open the hive to inspect it for health as usual, which you need
a bee suit, smoker and hive tool for.
If you are new to beekeeping, you should link up with an
experienced beekeeper to get to know how to care for your bees.
How do I know when to harvest/drain the hive?
The ends of the Flow frames are visible by taking the cover off
one end of the hive box. 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, they
seal them with a wax capping. You can rob a frame as soon as you
see that it is full, although there is no hurry, the sealed
honey will keep until it is convenient for you to drain it out
of the hive.
Do I need to smoke the hive?
No, not when you are operating the flow comb or just viewing the
bees. Smoke is usually used to calm the bees when the hive is
opened. However, bees do react to the hive being jolted, so it's
a good idea to have a smoker on hand in case the bees do start
A little smoke puffed into the entrance of
the hive and some puffed around the hive itself will tend to
calm them down. You will still need a smoker to do the routine
inspection of the brood nest.
Do I need to wear a bee suit, bee veil or gloves when I drain
the honey out?
We do recommend you wear a bee protective suit, especially if
you are new to beekeeping or have a new, unknown hive. Some
beekeepers just use a veil, as being stung on the face,
particularly up the nose, is painful and inconvenient!
We have found we can work at the back of the hive without the
bees seeming to notice our presence, however we highly recommend
that you wear a bee suit or at least a veil until you get to
know your bees. Sometimes, for many reasons, bees can be quite
aggressive, so you need to be prepared for that.
After a few inspections you will know whether it is safe to
approach your hives without any protection.
Is there a best time of day to rob the hive using Flow?
It is possible to harvest a Flow hive at any time of the day or
night because the hive is not opened. There is not the concern
of chilling or disturbing the bees on cold or windy days.
We have found the bees are calmest in the late afternoon, and at
this time the honey in the hive is likely to be warmest and runs
easily, therefore we tend to rob at this time.
How often do I need to check the brood?
This depends on your location. In our area it is normal to
inspect the brood nest of each hive twice a year for disease. In
some areas beekeepers check more frequently. If the hive is weak
it should also be inspected.
Our invention changes the honey
harvesting component of beekeeping. All the rest of the normal
beekeeping care for the hive still applies. Beetles, mites,
swarm control etc. The flow hive clear end frame observation
does assist with allowing you to look into the hive and gauge
the strength and health of the colony.
How many Flow boxes (supers) do I need per hive?
One Flow super per hive is the simple answer as you can keep
tapping off the honey which gives the bees room to keep working
and making more honey.
However, if you live in areas with a very
high nectar flow, or if your existing beehives are particularly
large, we would recommend you use two Flow supers or more. The
Flow hive is new and we are interested in your feedback as to
how many Flow supers you need in your situation.
Do I need to leave some honey in the hive for the bees?
Yes, this applies to all beekeeping. Your bees need honey to get
them through the times when there is no nectar available. The
number of frames of honey that you leave depends on your
climate. You should consult local beekeepers as to how much they
leave in 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 I personally feel more in touch with the bees and can't help
but look on a daily basis. You can also take just a small amount
of honey if you choose, by draining one frame or part of a
Some Beekeepers do feed sugar syrup to their bees to help them
get through the cold winter months. They rarely use honey for
feeding as this could spread disease and is a lot more expensive
How do the bees know when to uncap the comb?
The bees are quick to notice when the cells are empty and set
about uncapping it straight away. I guess empty cells must feel
quite different underfoot if you are a bee.
Can you harvest beeswax 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 factor can
improve honey production.
There is no reason why you cant have traditional wax combs and
honey Flow™ frames in the same hive, this allows you to have
honey on tap and honeycomb/wax from the one hive.
Does Flow™ work with Australian native bees?
No you can't use Flow™ frames on an
Australian native bee hive.
Australian Native bees have a completely different comb/pod
structure and honey production pattern to the European honey
Will Flow™ frames work with
Yes Flow™ can work with any hive, as you can shorten the frames
to suit any hive, as long as they fit the depth of the hive box.
What are the shipping rates? Do you ship to my country?
We are still finalizing shipping costs, and we will contact you
closer to the shipping date to arrange this, but rest assured we
are working to ensure we can get the best rates wherever you are
in the world.
Due to the overwhelming response to our Flow hive we will most
likely set up an additional manufacturing site in the northern
hemisphere, this will bring down the currently higher shipping
costs to that part of the world.
We found some people were including shipping in their pledge but
many were not, so to save confusion we have removed all shipping
options. If you have any concerns about the shipping you already
paid these will be addressed as soon as possible. We want you
all to have a positive experience with Flow Hive.
Once again thank you for your support and patience.
Are the Flow frames made from BPA free plastic?
Yes, the Flow™ frames are made from high quality, food-grade,
They are designed to be used for a lifetime.