Another great tip from Stuart. If your frame is not fully capped (sometimes the bees will leave the middle of the frames uncapped) OR you only want to take a jar or two, well you can. Simply only insert the key a couple of inches into the frame and then turn the handle. Those couple of inches will drain leaving the rest of the frame intact. No need to wait… and the bees won’t care, they’ll simply go and refill that section.
Nice tip! I am curious if Flow has considered taking this technology and making frames the size of, say, a medium for example or even a shallow. I have thought about this as the frames are so large and the cells so deep that the bees have so much work to complete before a frame is 100% filled and capped. More frequent harvests would be necessary, but the risk of harvesting unripe honey may become a smaller issue.
I think that may not be very efficient. When you look at the flow frames, the top and bottom of each frame loses space to the key slot and the drainage channel. I don’t have one available to measure at this moment, but I would guess that close to 3 inches is taken up with that. If my estimate is correct, on a deep frame, that leaves just over 6 inches for honey storage, which is acceptable. On a medium frame, it would only be about 3 inches left for honey. For a shallow, a little over 2 inches would be left for honey storage.
Unless they reduced the size of the key mechanism or the drainage channel, the current design would not be a practical way to build medium and shallow frames.
Good thoughts, but I respectfully disagree. I think it would be worthwhile for flow to at least consider scaling down to medium sized frames as an option to buyers. One of these deep flow frames can easily hold upwards of 5 pounds of Honey. And given that most of the marketing behind Flow beekeeping is geared toward folks in warmer climates who use a single brood box beneath a QX, expecting such small colonies to prepare the deep cells, fill, and cap them can be a monumental task especially for a mediocre queen or an area with a poor nectar flow. Smaller frames could be more economical for the Beekeeper and more doable for the bees. Could be the difference between harvesting from three or four fully capped frames verses wrestling with whether to harvest and dehydrate unripe honey or cut your losses and let the bees eat it when the dearth starts.
Mine were 6.5 to 7lb each last year, when fully capped. I understand your point, but I think the engineering problem would be very difficult, especially maintaining frame strength with the degree of torque and flexing of the frame when the key is turned if the system was miniaturized in some way.
One solution using the deep frames, is to use just 3 frames and fill the rest of the space with follower boards. That way you are only asking them to store 20lb of honey before the box is “full”.
Just a thought. I completely understand what you are saying, and why. I just think it is unlikely. However, only @Cedar knows what might be in the works for the future.
Hi Dawn @Dawn_SD , if I were to make follower boards, I believe I would need to have a way of stopping the bees escaping from between the frames and out of the end inspection window, and also from between the top Flow key area.
Below is a photo of some .16 mm plastic that I have shaped to fit over the inspection end (but inside the wooden cover) which might work if attached to the wooden follower boards. The bees shouldn’t chew it. I suspect there is a better way though. I could also use a cover or other system if putting standard Langstroth frames up there with the Flow frames for whatever reason. Any clever ideas?
I like your adaptability, @Dan2.
Another option would be to make a 3 frame hybrid box, following the plans that Flow published. You could still put the follower boards in the empty space. Much more expensive than your sheet of plastic, though.
My three frame flow hive is doing very well indeed. I have harvested three times now this season- and the frames are filling again. It would be no issue to put a 3 frame box on top of an 8 or 10 frame brood. You’d just have to have little covers for the exposed sides of the brood boxes. Another advantage of the three frame box is that you don’t really need to remove the frames to check if they are capped- if you have windows on both sides. At the most you would only have to remove the central frame- but as that fills first generally - if the side ones are full it is full too.