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Flow Frame Cells Not Aligned

Hi Everyone

I just unboxed my flow frames and using the video and manual, I reset the cells. However, the cells do not seem to flush- to allow the bees cap the cells when ready. I’ll attempt to upload a couple of photos. If anyone can share their opinion, it would be appreciated.

Brian

!

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Hi, welcome to the Flow forum!

That is a deliberate design feature, don’t worry. :blush:

The bees will fill in the gaps between the two halves of each cell, then draw the cell walls out until they are all level and flat before capping. The wavy surface helps the sheet of cappings to shear properly and stay intact when you drain the frame, so that honey flows down behind the cappings and doesn’t leak through the frame face into the hive. Very clever! :wink:

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Thanks @Dawn_SD for your quick response. Very clever, indeed. Phew! I thought all my flow frames were faulty.

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Tour pic shows the frame in the closed position and the bees will fill in the gap between each cell half which then breaks open again when you do an extraction. All is good. :smiley:

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those flow frames look very white- I wonder if they have changed the color of the plastic?

and yes- the offset sides to the cells are a very neat design solution Flow came up with that prevents the cappings from breaking when the mechanism is operated.

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They might have done. Have just looked through some other photos of flow frames, and some do have the familiar yellow and some, like mine, lighter in colour. Hopefully, it won’t make a difference to the :honeybee::honeybee::honeybee:

Thanks for your reply @Peter48. My mind is certainly more at ease knowing it is a deliberate design of the frames.

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When I unpacked my first box of Flow Frames I was concerned too, but with four Flow Hives over more than a year I have had my share of issues, mainly self inflicted and trying to rush the removal of the honey. Now I have my routine of starting the Flow Hives off and doing other work on my Langstroth Hives and just opening up more cells as it goes. My first draining was a mess but it was all my fault in hindsight. My honey removal now is rather boring, even mundane, but no disasters. :smiley:
Cheers

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same: first time we used a flow hive we stared with a Nuc- we put it in the flow brood with 3 more frames which the bees filled out in 3 weeks. We added the flow super: we didn’t wax the frames or do anything like that. The bees immediately began to fill them and 5 weeks later had filled the entire super. We put in the tubes and cracked all six frames completely in one maneuver. The bucket started to fill! Hooray! Flow is awesome.

A minute or three later: honey started to flow out of the front entrance! Soon bees were clustered all over the front of the hive flecked with honey. We harvested 20+ kg’s- the bees bearded all afternoon, and soon licked up the pool in front of the hive.

So: we had some big leaks- if I had to guess maybe 500 grams or so. The hive was disturbed but we saw no deaths- and they didn’t skip a beat- refilling the flow frame 6 weeks later.

After that- we have always done it in increments, only 2 or 3 frames at a time and always used a bucket with tubes- and never once have we see any evidence of leaks like that first time. 90% of the time you see no evidence of leaks at all. I suspect some leaks always happen: but I really feel they are no different than removing standard combs, breaking cross comb, cutting out burr comb- etc- I do not believe that there is any such thing as 100% leak free beekeeping… . And the bees can deal with it. When you break frames in increments if there is a leak- the bees can lick it up almost as fast as it leaks out. There is very little danger of hurting the queen or causing anything beyond a localized minor disturbance.

but you do have to think about what you are doing- and take a few steps. So the flow frames were not quite as easy to use as the original campaign suggested- but they do largely work as advertised- and by God- I so much prefer the prospect of a Flow box harvest than taking off and spinning a box. I do both and there is no comparison: the first is so easy- it is a joke. A beautiful joke…

But: that’s not the whole story: I now have more standard hives than flow hives. In many ways there are still many advantages to the tried and true langstroth system- as it has been done for decades. If you have a lot of hives- it makes a lot of sense. Spinning a single box is a pain- spinning 10 boxes is efficient. Economy of scale is a big thing when it comes to traditional uncapping and spinning. It is not that much harder to do 10 boxes than 1. But if you only have one or two hives- I would always recommend the Flow… (at least for areas similar to where I keep bees).

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Perfectly thought out words Jack and agree with your thinking. My first harvest was worse than yours and it was all self inflicted. The excitement of doing a first harvest numbed common sense. I opened fully three frames at once and even with the 5 degree lay back of the hive I still had honey and bees flooding out of the entrance. So I obviously had some learning to do, and fast. Then I read about opening a frame in segments and found this site full of folks who had already ‘been there and done that’ and now I look forward to a Flow harvest instead of fearing it.
Over the past year I have fine tuned my gear and the way I harvest, even leaving a sealed bee proof pail hooked up to the hive overnight so that the bottom chambers have totally drained. I think back now and shudder at my mistakes, the biggest one was in thinking that when I opened a frame I expected honey to be flowing down the tube straight away as if it was water, and of course that simply doesn’t happen. When I did my first Flow extraction I felt like the ‘grim reaper’ and all but gave-up on the Flow Hive system but I knew that I needed to do more research.
Cheers

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I’m glad this forum exists. Reading all your experiences has sure helped me preempt certain pitfalls and plan for them. Reading about the Flow Frames flooding caused me concern but reading about cracking them open bit by bit makes a lot of sense. So, thank you for you wisdom.

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