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After more than 2 years, what are the results?


#1

The campain was a great success, and allow you to create this great concept, how many flow hives did you sell ? And now ? Do you have new customers do you feel it is still spreading or already declining ?
I think most of your clients are new beekeepers curious to start beekeeping with this new system. How will you manage to develop the concept for Professional or semi Professional beekeepers for example ?
Another challenge !


#2

I agree with you when you say that most of the clients are new beekeepers curious to start beekeeping with this new system. It will be interesting to see the answers to your questions.


#3

an interesting part of the Flow business is how they managed the transition after the campaign into being an everyday business. few companies start out having to fulfill 27,000 orders over 12 months- from nothing. They mostly achieved their goals on delivery times- quite a feat. Once that was done I imagine there was a sharp fall off in order numbers. To fulfill all the original orders they needed to immediately create a large production capacity- how they managed to then transition that into a more normal day to day operation must have been a tricky business.

I agree that the flow product is most appealing to new hobbyist beekeepers, but believe there must be a large second wave of potential customers- those who sat on the sidelines to watch and wait and see how things panned out- and those that already keep bees in small numbers but are interested in doing it in an easier manner. there is also the flow on affect as people see flow hives in operation around the world and become interested.

If I had been keeping a single hive for some time- and doing ‘crush and strain’ I think I would be tempted to invest in a flow super.


#4

There could be a second large wave of potential new customers. It would have to be people who are not interested in doing their own research or folks who are happy to get a flow hive despite the issues of honey flooding over the brood as we’ve seen quite frequently.


#5

hmm, I don’t know- I really think that issue may have been somewhat over-rated. It does require some awareness and monitoring- but with 6 flow hives in operation across my family- I can say happily flooding has never caused any major problems for us at all. In most cases we have not even seen it. I know we don’t have beetles like you do- and I know I am a beginner who may not know what he is talking about- but- touch wood- so far so good.


#6

I have come to the conclusion that the flooding issue is dependent of the type of honey & strength of the wax produced from various honeys. The people with a flow hive I inspected the other day recently harvested their first two frames exactly how it was shown in the promotion video with zero leakage. However they live very close to @Heron. I’m guessing that at a different time of the year they may have the same problems as Heron had & will probably find it necessary to do something similar to what Heron had to do.

The other issue they may or may not have to consider is Leptospermum honey. Most of the year I don’t see it myself, however sometimes it appears in Jan.-Feb. Two years ago it would have been a real problem for me had I had any flow hives.


#7

hmm, my mum has just bought a bunch of leptspermum from a special research nursery where they are breeding plants with high levels of that active ingredient whatever it is. She has planted them around her hive. I warned her that that honey doesn’t taste very good and can have issues setting in the comb being known as ‘jelly bush’. However I doubt it will cause her an issue as it will only form a small part pf the bees diet most likely?


#8

Yes, I agree Jack. It will be good to have them growing just the same.


#9

One positive to come from it is this Flow forum(s) where information is gained and shared around the globe. The Flow Facebook page is another place where Flow is putting out information about keeping bees.


#10

that’s for sure- and one of the best contributors on here is without a doubt Jeff- always ready to help- always friendly and enthusiastic and a great resource of very good information.


#11

Thank you Jack, if you keep that up, I wont be able to get my head through the door :slight_smile:


#12

I agree with @JeffH
Lots of beekeepers introduced to an ancient craft turned modern.
As for developing the concept for commercial beekeeping i think that will be impossible. The method is too time consuming.
In view of the sheer inexperience of the new Flow hivers and the opprobrium of the general chatting beekeeping community the company seems to have been forced into the self defense of education. Hence all the teaching videos. I think that’s a good thing.
In the UK we have too many beekeepers in the towns. We have all fallen prey to the “Save the Bee” mantra. Forage is scarce and bees are fed fed fed at every opportunity and swarm into peoples houses with enough frequency to have caused an explosion in the pest control industry.
I’d love to know how many have been sold here. Not too many I think.


#13

@Semaphore The flow supers definitely benefit the smaller operation. This year I had both traditional supers and flow supers. I will say it was much more efficient harvesting from the flow supers. I used a friends extractor, bought my own bucket with honey gate, and a honey strainer/sieve. I enjoyed harvesting the medium super as well but the amount of time spent in comparison was much less with the flow supers.


#14

You will get quicker at harvesting the traditional way. One should not judge the time taken to harvest the traditional way after his/her first attempt.


#15

After 30 or so attempts, with at least 8 frames per time, I still remember honey everywhere… :blush:

That is after lifting supers with around 25lb of honey in them. For the second time, because we put bee escapes underneath the first time.

Honey on the floor. Honey on the kitchen worktops. Honey in the carpet. Honey, wax and propolis on the door knobs. Propolis on my clothes. Honey in the bedroom (no not him, the sticky kind! :smile: ). Wax on the driveway, wax and honey in the door mat.

Then washing out the spinner. Several times. Washing the strainer mesh. Squeezing honey out of the ladies tights (unused) to get the last few drops of honey. Washing out the main honey tank.

OK, maybe we just weren’t very good at it.

Well, it is all a lot easier now. :slight_smile:


#16

Hi Dawn, That must have been a nightmare, and must have left a huge scar. We extract in our dining room, and have done for the past 30 years. and it is a breeze. Never a mark on the walls. i do understand what you are saying though, as we have had the odd person who wanted to come and watch and then help, and it is always more difficult, because they start traipsing it everywhere. I am never impressed, because it is my job to clean up. After hearing this I think Jeff must be a magician, because mess is always minimal and if the chance happens that there is a spill we put a towel over it so that it does not get walked on. maybe he should give classes on how not to make a mess lol. happy extracting Wilma


#17

I think the point is- if you harvest the traditional way its not that much harder to do 50 frames than just four. Once you are set up and on a roll it becomes efficient- and you have the same (or similar) amount of preparation and cleaning to do before and after. The more you do the more efficient it all becomes. I have only done it three times now but you need to remove the supers and get the bees off the frames, you need to uncap the frames, spin them, filter the honey, deal with the cappings, clean the spinner- and return the frames to the hive. For just 4 frames- all this set up and cleaning takes a few hours.

By comparison with a flow hive I do a very basic frame inspection to ensure the capping state- put my hoses in, put my bucket in position- and turn the key. I set a timer on my phone and every 25 minutes I go out and turn the key another increment. There is no cleaning up at all, no wax capping- you don’t need a capping knife or a spinner. Having done both: there really is no comparison. The flow harvest is SOOO easy.

However I agree with your observation that with a flow hive essentially every extra hive you buy- you are buying another set of harvesting equipment. So if you had 10 hives you have purchased 10 ‘harvesters’. With spinning you just need the one spinner and capping knife for any number of hives. Economically traditional methods win easily- and you benefit from scale when harvesting multiple frames/hives at once. And as you say with practice it all becomes easier and easier.


#18

You are talking about work that doesn’t need to be done. There is no need to remove any honey supers. I remove the frames one by one, leaning them against the hive as I go without shaking any bees. After I put the lid on, then I shake the bees off the frames in front of the hive. You can put them in a spare super or plastic bin. There is no need to carry any more than 3 or 4 frames, if that’s your limit. I have my strainer incorporated into my bucket sieve. It’s a piece of ss Termimesh, just perfect to strain honey. The honey goes straight from my spinner into the sieve, & that’s it for a small amount. Extracting one super from my back yard takes me 90 minutes from start to finish without even raising a sweat.

PS, I’m not sure about you but people are finding that it’s beneficial to inspect the frames before harvest. The time to do that also has to be taken into consideration.

With the flow hive I inspected the other day, I took a couple of flow frames out to make it easier to lift the honey super, which was full. Upon removing & replacing the frames, I was a bit scared of damaging the plastic, plus it was more challenging replacing the flow frame & getting everything at the back lined up. I guess that gets easier with practice.

Also I prefer the bee space around the traditional frames compared to the bee space around the flow frames.


#19

I never remove the supers either- I just said the frames. I agree it’s all quite easy- just saying flow frames are easier again. Yes always check mine before harvest- and I agree lifting out flow frames is harder than traditional ones. There is a bit of a trick to get them lined up- they can snag halfway back in otherwise. The trick is to push the adjacent frames away- and make sure that rear pane is up flush against the box. Bees can get squished under the bottom of that pane too- which wouldn’t happen with traditional frames


#20

I watched a friend harvest her Flow frames and it did look really easy. It was a faff having to take the frames out to inspect the brood box weekly though.
I hate to say it but like making tea I like the theatre of traditional frames and like Jeff I have it down to a fine art. Uncap on an uncapping tray on kitchen tables, frames into spinner which goes straight through a sieve into honey bucket. I spin with the valve open. Never any mess.
Supers stacked and stored wet, cappings in the honey warmer over a sieve over night then back to the bees.
A brilliant invention nevertheless