It’s the beekeeepers dream…
Turn the tap and watch as pure, fresh, clean honey flows right out of the hive and into your jar. No mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment without disturbing the bees.
We are excited to introduce our new invention that allows you to enjoy fresh honey straight out of your beehive without opening it. It’s far less stress for the bees and much, much easier for the beekeeper.
“This really is a revolution. You can see into the hive, see when the honey is ready and take it away in such a gentle way”.
It will help the bees and it will help beekeepers. They both help our world. Please join us in this beekeeping evolution.
And if that’s not enough hard work, the frames have to go back to the hives again....
NOW YOU DON'T NEED TO DO ANY OF THAT
Turn a tap, sit back, and watch the honey pour out. It’s pure, unprocessed, untouched delicious honey directly from the hive.
Turn a tap and watch honey Flow directly out of the hive! This Makes the honey harvesting so much easier and saves lots of effort and time.
I WANT A FLOW HIVE - WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
This option allows you to easily enjoy the benefits of our Flow frames, especially if you are an existing beekeeper with a hive already.
Depending on the size of your existing hive, this option provides three or four Flow frames to go in-between your traditional frames (three frames for a standard 8 frame Langstroth and four for a 10 frame Langstroth).
A template is provided for the simple modification (only 2 cuts) required to standard boxes. However you can choose the option that includes our custom-made Flow Box if preferred.
Does not include bees or brood box.
Available either with or without a Flow™ Box, this provides for a Full Flow™ super.
If you already have a bee box, you can order a Full Flow™ to fully convert a:
If you order a Flow™ Box, we will match the box size (8 or 10 frames) to the number of Flow™ Frames you have selected.
The Flow™ Boxes come to you flat-packed, and ready for easy assembly.
Does not include bees or brood box.
Complete Full Flow™ Hive
This option contains the complete Flow Hive ready to go (except for the bees!)
Does not include:
Unique End Frame Observation
We have made the end frames clear so you can see into your hive. This means you get to watch your bees turning nectar into honey. You can see when each comb is Full and capped. This also allows you to keep an eye on the strength of the hive, you will naturally develop a close relationship to your bees.
Potentially More Honey can be Harvested
You can just harvest 1 frame and get 7 lbs (3kg) of honey or, if the bees have filled all the frames, harvest more than 45 lbs (20kg) per box. Being able to extract so easily means that when there is a good honey flow you can keep up with the bees and harvest a lot more honey.
No Wax, No Filtering, It's pure fresh unprocessed Honey, Ready For The Table
It’s a totally pure flow from the hive just using gravity. No need for filtering or any kind of processing, no heating at all (not even from a hot knife). The honey comes out pure, clean (no wax and bee bits) and extra tasty!
Taste All The Different Flavours of The Seasons!
Because you can harvest individual combs, you can taste the many different flavours of the season, all from the one hive.
It is well known that unprocessed honey eaten directly from the honey comb has more flavour (the honeys are not mixed or processed and there has been less exposure to oxygen). It was a surprise to us to get frequent feedback that the honey from a Flow™ hive has full and unique flavours that before were only possible from eating honeycomb.
The Bees Happily Build on the Flow framesThe flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells, the bees complete the comb with their wax and fill the cells with honey.
Less Chance of Stings
Because the bees experience little disturbance during harvesting, they are usually non-aggressive and much less likely to try and defend their hive and sting you. Depending on how busy they are with gathering nectar, they may not even notice you at the back of the hive. However, if you are unfamiliar with beekeeping or react badly to stings, you should wear a bee veil and gloves and cover all your skin when approaching a hive.
For all those ‘beeks’ out there…
We have built the Flow frame to accommodate a pneumatic system allowing for the possibility of automated harvest and remote harvest. The options are endless. Put a hive on your roof and pipe the honey right into your kitchen at the press of a button. This will be an available upgrade in the future.
Compatible with Your Existing Hive
Flow™ frames can be combined with standard frames in the same super so you can try a few Flow frames in your existing hive.
Neighbours less likely to be alarmed by upset bees during harvesting.
Bees sometimes get very upset and aggressive when their hive is pulled apart for harvesting. This is not a problem in rural areas, however hives in the backyard or on the balcony can be close to others. Your unsuspecting neighbours may be harassed or stung, not good for neighbourly PR. As the bees go about their usual busy business when Flow frames are harvested, the neighbours are unlikely to even notice that you are extracting honey.
POSSIBLE RISKS & CHALLENGES - THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND
We have worked for many years developing and perfecting this product, however there will always be improvements and innovations that we hope will be informed by your feedback. By pledging to support this innovation you are doing so with the understanding that this is a new product that you are making possible - allowing cutting edge technology to be realised.
MANUFACTURING: We are working closely with a manufacturer who has been able to produce our Flow frames at a high quality so we have already resolved some of the manufacturing challenges. However to produce on a larger scale will require increased tooling and production equipment and this is where some delay could occur.
FULFILMENT: Despite the best planning, there may be factors that we cannot control such as equipment malfunction, transport or supplier delays. While we hope that your support on Indiegogo will enable us to begin production on a commercial scale we have no idea as to whether it will be 'business as usual' for us or an overwhelming demand. If more people than we anticipate want a Flow hive we may have to scale up the factory or set up manufacturing in other countries. We will endeavour to produce the product quickly and make sure that the early backers are given priority to receive their Flow kits.
PRODUCT ADJUSTMENTS: Extensive testing of the latest Flow design has taken place over the past three years and we think we have a product that is ready for market. However adjustments may be made along the way (as we can’t think of everything). This will result in a better product but may delay production or shipment in some cases.BEE ENTHUSIASM: If you are new to beekeeping, welcome to the exciting new world. As a new beekeeper it is important to be fully informed about all aspects of what is involved in caring for bees. Some of these answers can be found on our website and in our FAQs. We also strongly recommend you join your local beekeeping club for additional support.
SHIPPING: We are still finalising 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.
“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 to fit Langstroth size deep boxes and are inserted into standard bee supers (boxes) in much the same way as standard frames. The 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:
1/ 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.
2/ 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 with honey.
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 hive?
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 full.
Can the Flow frames come out of the super, like the standard frames do?
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 getting aggressive. 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 frame.
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 than sugar.
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.
You can also 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 bee.
Will Flow™ frames work with Warre hives?
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.
Are the Flow frames BPA free?
Yes, the Flow™ frames are made from high quality, food-grade, BPA-free plastic. They are designed to be used for a lifetime.
For every Flow Hive™ Classic purchased between 27th Nov-31st Dec 2015 we donated $50 AUD to The Hunger Project.
The Flow™ Hive Classic (formerly Complete Full Flow™ Hive) is ready to go (except for the bees!).
Does not include:
Shipped flat-packed, ready for easy assembly with assembly manual.
Buy Flow™ Hive In Our Shop Here
A set of Flow™ Frames with a Flow™ Super box made from sustainably sourced western red cedar for honey collection.