The Flow Hive is a new form of beehive that uses cutting-edge technology to eliminate the need for a honey extractor. Honey just pours from this beehive through a spout, as the name indicates. With the flow hive, you will have honey on demand. Check out our flow hive reviews to see whether this is the beehive for you.
Flow Hive’s brief history
Stuart and Cedar Anderson, an Australian father and son team, invented the Flow Hive. This concept spawned ten years of design, prototypes, failures, and, eventually, success. They invented the Flow Hive in order to prevent opening beehives during honey collection. They are continuing to improve on the original concept, including the creation of a hybrid flow hive and a new version called Flow Hive 2 with a few new features.
In 2015, the creators started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $70,000 for the development of the Flow Hive technology. Within a short amount of time, the campaign had greatly exceeded its financial target, receiving a staggering $12 million. By the end of the campaign, the inventor pair had received over 20,000 orders from over 130 countries across the world.
Flow Hive components
They consist of the hive and the flow frames. The viewing holes and flow frames are the most visible and useful elements of the contemporary Flow Hive. The flow frame has a transparent material that allows you to see how much honey your bees have accumulated. The transparent viewing panes placed on the sides of the beehive allow you to see within the frames. Furthermore, flow hives are beneficial to bees since they are not squished during the honey-collecting procedure.
How does Flow Hive operate?
The Flow frames are designed to fit into a conventional Langstroth superstructure. Flow features observation windows and a honey-collecting entrance. The Flow frames’ foundations are fashioned into half-formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete building the cells before filling them with honey. By gazing through the observation glass, you can see that the frame is full of honey.
As a result, the honeycomb cells split in two and provide channels for the honey to flow down. There is no need for honey extractors or anything else. The honey just falls out of the frame due to gravity. During harvesting, each flow frame includes a trough at the bottom that will store a honey tube. After that, the Flow key is put into the slot and turned 90° downwards.
When the honey has been gathered, the key is turned back upwards, and the cells realign themselves. During this technique, no bees are injured. All bees on the comb’s surface are unaffected, and any bees in empty cells have enough space to survive.
The benefits of using Flow Hives
- There will be less disruption to the bees throughout the harvest.
Bees remain undisturbed in a flow hive. Bees on the surface of cobs are not harmed in any way during the honey gathering. There is enough room for bees between the comb walls of the flow frames.
- Only make one trip every harvest.
Once the honey has been collected, you must return the supers to their individual hives in the apiary. The flow hive requires you to walk to the hive for harvesting, and once you depart, your harvesting activity is complete. All you have to do now is clean up the tubes you used and preserve them for the next harvest. Each harvest requires one trip. This will undoubtedly save you time.
- There will be no heavy lifting and no sticky messes.
Honey is a heavy substance. For most individuals, the average weight of honey collected from each hive is around 50 pounds. You will have to carry these big boxes for more than a few yards till they reach your processing facility or truck.
With flow hives, all you have to worry about is transporting your honey jar. Even if the hives are in inhospitable terrain, carrying a bucket with a handle is far more convenient than lugging a hefty wooden box. You only risk a spill if you use tiny jars, which tend to fill up rapidly.
- Enjoy the different flavors of honey
Bees are content to collect nectar from any source as long as the nectar fulfills their sugar concentration needs. It is conceivable that the flavor of honey will change from frame to frame. Because the honey may be released one frame at a time, the honey from each frame can be kept separate. Today, your taste buds can savor strawberry-flavored honey, and tomorrow, clover honey.
The drawbacks of Flow Hive
- Utilization of plastic frames
The goal of innovators is to create as little disturbance as possible. However, their use of man-made materials, especially plastic, to frame the flow is not particularly pleasant for bees, as most bees don’t like it. Another problem is that it is different from the natural beeswax used to make beehives. Wax cleanses honey from impurities, preserving and protecting it from absorbing external tastes and odors. Plastic, on the other hand, cannot be claimed to be biodegradable. In fact, there are concerns that the interaction with the plastic frame and the honey could contaminate the honey with the plastic residue.
- Flow frames can harm bees
Flow technology treats bees as if they were a tank of honey, putting them at risk of over-exploitation. Beekeepers must bear in mind that honey is a food source for bees. They keep it for use in difficult times. Taking honey from bees deprives them of some of their nutritional supply.
- It might cause you to lose interest in beekeeping.
Flow frames and their accompanying Flow technologies challenge the widely held belief that beekeeping is a hobby with some monetary reward. Flow technology, on the other hand, portrays beekeeping as a strictly commercial activity. Beekeepers who are in it for the love of bees or for bee conservation may be dissatisfied with the way Flow technology is employed in beekeeping and choose not to utilize it.
- The technology is quite expensive.
Despite lower labor costs and the anticipated premium pricing for honey on the market, this restricts their commercial utility. You may not be able to purchase a Flow Hive unless you have a sizable quantity of money in your pocket. This is particularly discouraging for new beekeepers who are drawn to beekeeping with the expectation of starting with a Flow Hive. Additionally, the large initial setup cost turns away these budding conservationists away from the practice of beekeeping.
Q1: How to introduce and feed bees to a flow hive?
The flow section of the hive should not be exposed to the bees until they have established themselves completely. Once a colony is installed in a brood box, it must be cared for in the same manner as any other colony in any other form of the hive. After they have drawn a comb on all of the frames, you can set up the flow super.
The flow frames have already been drawn out in plastic comb, which the bees may be reluctant to use. Sometimes they’ll set to work lining the plastic with wax before immersing it in the nectar. Sometimes the bees require a little encouragement. Rubbing wax on the flow frames stimulates the bees to begin work on the super.
Q2: When is the best time to harvest honey from a Flow Hive?
When the bees cap the Flow Hive, you can harvest the honey. Through the viewing windows, it is possible to determine which frames contain capped honey. This permits you to gather only adequately cured honey from one frame and return it in a week or two for another. With this fantastic hive, you will not have to worry about mixing nectar with your honey.
Q3: What is the average amount of honey produced per flow hive?
Each flow frame can carry 3 kilos of honey or approximately 6.5 pounds. If you multiply it by 6 or 7 frames, you can get more than 40 pounds of honey per harvest, assuming all other variables remain constant. Each colony will act in a unique way. As a result, productivity will differ from hive to hive and year to year.
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Flow hives not only make honey harvesting easy, but they also generate highly clear honey. Flow Hives make harvesting honey and inspecting your beehive a little safer. Because of observation panels, you do not have to open up the entire hive to look inside. This should not be interpreted as implying that beekeepers do not require protective equipment. It should be highlighted that when using a Flow Hive, experience, expertise, and knowledge of beekeeping are not tossed out the window.