Flow Hives

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
59
Reaction score
17
Location
Surrey
Hive Type
None
Hi,

Does anybody have any experience of flow hives? We have been asked to help set one up for a new beekeeper, I haven't seen it yet, but looking at the information that I can see online I still have a not of questions.

1. It appears that the brood box is langstroth size, so national frames will not fit. Is there a way to get round this.
2. How do they suggest you deal with crowding or colony expansion, leading to swarming, does the Flow hive come with additional brood boxes. Is this a real issue or do the bigger langstroth frames provide adequate brood area?
3. To inspect you'll have to lift the flow super off of the brood boxes, how heavy is this when empty and when full?

Thanks
 
Hi there, I do have some experience, given that a mentee, to whom I sold a national nuc, quickly transitioned (against my advice) to a Flow hive. Quick answers:

1. No. If transitioning between formats, you will need to bleed the bees from the source format (e.g. national) into the destination format (Langstroth) using a conversion board, or by shook swarming. Not pretty. Alternatively, you may buy bees in on the Langstroth format, or (and I'm not sure if they still do these) get a national format Flow hive. We did it using a home crafted conversion board, and moved the odd national frame (with brood) down into the Langstroth to help with this, by cable tying a Langstroth top bar to the national top bar.

2. Langstroth is sufficiently sized to run in a single brood box configuration.

3. Bloody heavy/too heavy. I reckon about 30kg give or take. Even empty, the weight of the woodwork and the bulky plastic frames is not insignificant.

I know many will knock this format with no real justification. The principle (and practice) of tapping honey off the frames is quite cool. Whilst I suggest that they will be problematic with honey prone to crystallisation, I have to say that my own major objection is point 3, above.

Basically, the sheer weight of the super (combined with the gabled roof) presents a massive disincentive to regular inspection. This makes 'beekeeping' a chore, and promotes 'beehaving'.
 
Hi,

Does anybody have any experience of flow hives? We have been asked to help set one up for a new beekeeper, I haven't seen it yet, but looking at the information that I can see online I still have a not of questions.

1. It appears that the brood box is langstroth size, so national frames will not fit. Is there a way to get round this.
bodge the national frames into the Langstroth frames. messy and hard work.
shook swarm the nuc into brood box. waste of brood and resources, unnecessary stress for bees
or get a langstroth nuc / package of bees
2. How do they suggest you deal with crowding or colony expansion, leading to swarming, does the Flow hive come with additional brood boxes. Is this a real issue or do the bigger langstroth frames provide adequate brood area?
get another langstroth brood and /or supper. they come in 3 sizes, deep, medium, shallow. All 'could' be used for brood or supers in theory - see below.
3. To inspect you'll have to lift the flow super off of the brood boxes, how heavy is this when empty and when full?

Thanks
I don't know what size the flow super is. a quick check online suggest relative full weights are up to 40, 27 and 18 kg for 3 sizes respectively.
 
bodge the national frames into the Langstroth frames. messy and hard work.
shook swarm the nuc into brood box. waste of brood and resources, unnecessary stress for bees
or get a langstroth nuc / package of bees
You can Bailey up via a home made board too
 
Or make a conversion board which you can keep on and just run national deeps for brood with a flow shallow if they're that desperate for a Flow Hive.
 
Hi there, I do have some experience, given that a mentee, to whom I sold a national nuc, quickly transitioned (against my advice) to a Flow hive. Quick answers:

1. No. If transitioning between formats, you will need to bleed the bees from the source format (e.g. national) into the destination format (Langstroth) using a conversion board, or by shook swarming. Not pretty. Alternatively, you may buy bees in on the Langstroth format, or (and I'm not sure if they still do these) get a national format Flow hive. We did it using a home crafted conversion board, and moved the odd national frame (with brood) down into the Langstroth to help with this, by cable tying a Langstroth top bar to the national top bar.

You can make a hybrid frame and place the National deep frame in Langstroth frame

1718911257194.png

2. Langstroth is sufficiently sized to run in a single brood box configuration.

My new queens sometimes are very prolific and does need 16 frame Langstroth of brood space. However you can manage them on a single brood which will require a proactive swarm control.

3. Bloody heavy/too heavy. I reckon about 30kg give or take. Even empty, the weight of the woodwork and the bulky plastic frames is not insignificant.

Yes the supers are heavy, people who don't have upper body strength I would suggest them to remove some of the frames and then will be able to lift the super off. 8yrs and I have not had any issues with the weight. But I am a young lad as most of you would say.

I know many will knock this format with no real justification. The principle (and practice) of tapping honey off the frames is quite cool. Whilst I suggest that they will be problematic with honey prone to crystallisation, I have to say that my own major objection is point 3, above.
Some of my mentee live next door to a OSR farm and they have been able to harvest easily the last two year the honey that most people said would have been problematic to harvest from the Flowhive. If you are near such areas I would suggest to have the hive in place where it would get full sun, that way the honey in the super would be liquid and easy to harvest. Keeping strong colonies is the trick here as the bees would generate the heat to keep the honey runny. This is the experience of my mentees.

I have harvested honey from my FlowHive with a water content of 14% a very lovely think pasted honey.

Basically, the sheer weight of the super (combined with the gabled roof) presents a massive disincentive to regular inspection. This makes 'beekeeping' a chore, and promotes 'beehaving'.

Based on the area where you have your apiary and how close the bees are to high nectar sources would determine the yield of the honey. Not to forget that a good healthy strong colony with good swarm control management would help with that yield.

Hope that helps you with the Mentee
 
Hi,

Does anybody have any experience of flow hives? We have been asked to help set one up for a new beekeeper, I haven't seen it yet, but looking at the information that I can see online I still have a not of questions.

1. It appears that the brood box is langstroth size, so national frames will not fit. Is there a way to get round this.
You can make a hybrid frame and place the National deep frame in Langstroth frame

1718911257194.png


2. How do they suggest you deal with crowding or colony expansion, leading to swarming, does the Flow hive come with additional brood boxes. Is this a real issue or do the bigger langstroth frames provide adequate brood area?

If they have an 8 frame brood box I would suggest a double brood box configuration, however this is only the same with younger prolific queens based on my experience.

3. To inspect you'll have to lift the flow super off of the brood boxes, how heavy is this when empty and when full?

Yes the supers are heavy, people who don't have upper body strength I would suggest them to remove some of the frames and then will be able to lift the super off. 8yrs and I have not had any issues with the weight. But I am a young lad as most of you would say.

 

Latest posts

Back
Top