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Feedback for our Manual


#1

Hi everyone :slight_smile: :bee:
As you know we are a new company and we have had to learn a lot as we’ve grown. We have got a lot of useful feedback from all our early supporters in the past, and we are looking for more feedback to help us improve even more :slight_smile:

We are in the process of making our manual even better - so if you have any feedback on what you want to see improved, or if there is anything missing, please let me know.
Here is a link to our current manual - http://www.honeyflow.com/media/docs/Flow_Full_Manual_061615.pdf

Please include any page numbers so that I can refer to the info easily.

You can send me a private message or post on this thread and I will note all your feedback down.

:bee: :bee: :bee:


I am not seeing ANY honey in my Flow Hive
#2

I would say that you should including building instructions for the extra brood box and frames when someone orders an additional brood box. I had built my original one so long ago, I didn’t remember how to put the frames together.

Also, can you sell frames only? A few local beekeepers gave me new boxes, but I like your frames with that piece of wood to get them started. Or at least sell that piece of wood separately, I can find foundationless frames here with the groove in it, but need those pieces of wood so the bees can start building comb on them.


#3

Minor, this just was a quick look. Will read again and try to remember if I had any issues, don’t recall any. Mine went together quick well


#4

Hi @Faroe aroe, I think your manual is looking very professional. I have a few suggestions.
One of the biggest issues I see on the forum relates to:

  • “When to put the flow super on the hive?” Many new beekeepers are still grasping how the colony mind works and are very concerned when the bees won’t put honey in the flow super. Is it worth mentioning that the Flow super should only go on the hive when the bees have filled the brood box/s and there is a nectar flow. There is a lot more that could be said here however a local beekeeping club or group should be able to offer advice and mentoring.

  • 10 - Extracting Honey - is the honey ready for harvest? It may be necessary to inspect the Flow frames to ensure they are fully capped before extracting, this may be necessary by removing the roof and top cover to view the sides of the frames from above or individually removing the frames to perform a physical inspection as the viewing windows limit the view of the frames to the end frames and sides where the extraction is to take place.

  • 12 - Monitoring Hive Health - might be worth mentioning that an ideal time to inspect your brood boxes is prior to putting on the Flow super and following the extraction as this is when the Flow super is the lightest. This is not to take away from the need to regular inspect but due to the weight of a full Flow box it may be necessary to have a second beekeeper on hand to help lift the super off for inspections.

  • 14 - Troubleshooting - If your bees are building comb in the roof of the hive above the Flow super then it is recommended that you remove the comb and plug up the hole in the inner cover, this can be done by the use of a tile or piece of wood. If you are not using the inner cover then use a hive mat made from vinyl, wood or a food grade material to prevent bees using the extra space.

  • 14 - Troubleshooting - Honey is dripping down into the hive - This can be caused by a couple of issues
    1 Whilst the bees do a great job of sealing the cells walls in the Flow frames, sometimes areas are missed, it may take a couple of extractions before the bees manage to seal up all the gaps properly.
    2 Honey is dripping down the external walls of the Flow frame, if the wax cappings are soft and the weather is warm, honey can leak from the fractures in the wax cappings during extraction. Usually after a couple of extraction cycles the wax cappings becoming thicker and this occurrence will be less frequent.
    3 There is a problem with the Flow frame - check that all the Flow frame segments are aligned and fitting snuggly together, you may need to remove the frame entirely for a thorough physical inspection. Contact Flow support should the problem continue.

And finally, I would like to see a way for users to order parts, I see that all the parts have official names which is excellent for helping users to identify them. I am sure people would be happy to buy adhoc parts and accessories from time to time. All and all you have done a great job. Keep it up.


#5

Silly point but the Flow key needs to look like the one we get - I will read the brochure in more detail but that stuck me straight off.


#6

Just like to second Rodderick re ordering of parts, hive & Flow frame (eg. screened bottom board)


#7

In the instructions for modifying a normal box for the flow frames, you should mention that the wood needs to be taken off where the metal strip comes in. My father just put a strip underneath, resulting in a gap between brood box and super.
(Sorry if I just missed that part, but I don’t remember reading it)


#8

Having watched many people on youtube struggling to crank the entire frame at once, I would encourage the users to expect to do it in stages. Insert the crank a little ways and turn. Insert a little more and turn. etc. Don’t even try to do it all at once…


#9

Page 11 - Cleaning and Frame Maintenance

  1. How to clean propolis off frames for winter storage.
    After miscalculating when to put the flow frames on and then growing concern when only seeing propolis going in, decided to remove and clean for storage and try again next spring. Couldn’t find information on how to remove propolis. Didn’t know if it would cause problems later if left on frames in storage. Ended up soaking and scrubbing with a toothbrush in less than 70ºC/158ºF hot water. (found temp on website under FAQ sterilization). The warmer the water, the easier it came off. Never heated the water with frames in pot. Later joined this forum and freezing was mentioned and wondering if propolis would then brush off. I spent days cleaning my frames and not looking forward to repeating the labor intensive task. If there is an easier way to remove propolis, I would greatly appreciate it being mentioned.

  2. Adding directions where to find the “Flow™ Frame Complete Re-Assembly” video (website > RESOURCES, FORUM & COMMUNITY > Assembly & Modifications) would be very helpful.

  3. How tight does the wire need to be twisted? My frames originally had 6 twists, but I could only get 4 or 5 twists when reassembling. Do the twists need to be equal on both ends?



#10

Hiya @Faroe, I recently purchased flow lights in cedar and the instructions seemed to be out dated. Some of the modifications for when modifying an existing box were included in the instructions which could be confusing. No big deal for me however you have asked for feedback. Ask and Ye shall receive. :wink:
I was more disappointed that the box(es) were 6mm shorter than the founding F/H and my other standard boxes.
Great to see you guys are still trying to improve. Your’re doing us Aussies proud, keep up the good work.


#11

Don’t. Leave it alone. It is the instincts of the bees to reinforce the corners and to polish the insides of cells with propolis. You can’t stop them and removing it just makes more work for them.

“Propolis rarely creates problems for a beekeeper. Certainly any effort to keep a hive free of it by systematic and frequent scraping, is time wasted.” --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor

“Some beekeepers dismantle every hive and scrape every frame, which is pointless as the bees soon glue everything back the way it was.” --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor


#12

I agree, I’d like to be able to order that angled bottom of the hive separately so that I can convert my non-flow hives to flow hives.

And your frames, your brood boxes, and bottom boards as separate items that we can buy individually. Including those pieces of wood that go into the groove of the frames that the bees start building comb on.

And, also please re-include instructions for building the frames in the new brood box. When I received my additional brood box, I completely forgot where all the nails go to make the frames.


#13

This is a very good point


#14

It has been demonstrated that rolling beeswax and/or spraying sugar water on the Flow frames would assist in attracting the bees to use it. We have observed the same problem with bees not filling up the flow hive.

Therefore, it would be useful to have this suggestion (waxing or sugaring) included in the assembly instructions, so this could be done at the outset.

Too late for my hive.


#15
  • Carefully check all flow frames before installation. Ensure the wires at the top are tight, and look over the rows of cells to ensure they are all in the closed position. If some wires are loose see our faq about adjusting your flow frame wires.You may encounter some rows of cells that are not fully closed. Use the key on all sides of the slot to close the frames- working the key several times if necessary.

  • when harvesting honey: you can crack open the frames in increments to make turning the key easier. Also if you wait 5 minutes between increments you can reduce the likelihood of any honey leaking out of the bottom of the frames into your brood box. This reduces the volume and pressure of the honey coming out of the frames stopping it from ‘backing up’ and decreasing the possibility of a leak. This is especially important if any part of the frame is not fully capped, or if the honey is particularly thin.


Post Flow-Hive harvest
#16

Given the result seen here, I would suggest a recommendation to drain no more than 2 or 3 frames per day:
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/post-flow-hive-harvest/8061?u=dawn_sd

I also strongly agree with the idea from @Michael_Bush and @Semaphore that each frame should be opened in ~20% increments, so that the back pressure of honey doesn’t flood the hive.

I would also like to see more emphasis on considering a double or triple brood box, if that is usual in your area. A lot of new beekeepers seem to think that the Flow hive can magically manage with just one box, and I am very fearful that in the northern US, Canada and Europe, that will result in massive colony losses this coming winter. People don’t read enough, but at least if it is in the manual that bees need sufficient winter stores, you have tried to educate them that the hive is a new method for harvesting, but not a new method for beekeeping.

Thanks for your efforts, and thank you for listening to user feedback.


#17

Denatured alchohol worked for me. Propolis is alchohol soluble. it has the extra advantage of leaving the frames smelling of propolis after it dries, so the bees are less likely to reject it.


#19

In my personal opinion, if you are going to apply a treatment to the external surfaces of the hive (which everyone should) then make sure it is applied into the dovetail joints prior to assembly. This ensures that moisture cannot penetrate the end grain through capillary effect.


#20

I also would agree with the 20% at a time, for back pressure reasons. Additionally, could suggest packaging the 20% differently as well if someone so desired for reasons I mentioned in my video and post, moisture content being possibly different if it’s not fully capped. Also as Cedar has indicated with each frame difference I’m sure the 20% will also hold true with a different taste of seasons or flowers.


#21

My main reason for cracking it a little at a time is simple logistics of the action. It takes too much force to do them all at once. But you may be right about back-pressure as well.