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Flow Hive 2 and rain!

Related to this topic that appeared to focus on the original Flow Hive, I have a Flow Hive 2 and we’ve had an incredibly unusually kinda terrifyingly wet summer. This has included everything from torrential downpours for hours to long drizzly gloomy days.

The problem is that with the Flow Hive 2 leveled as designed, rain will just pour in through the entrance. This became a serious problem as it would build up with debris in the catch tray and grow mold like crazy.

It finally warmed up enough for me to feel comfortable removing the tray so now rain that gets in the hive entrance will drain out, but I’d rather it not get into the hive in the first place. I feel like the Flow Hive 2’s design, being designed to be canted back 3 degrees all year long, makes it especially susceptible to this problem. I’ve tried building an eave to hang over the entrance and this has alleviated the problem a little bit. But I put the tray back in yesterday morning for 24 hours just to check mite drop and still had quite a bit of water in the tray when I removed it this morning.

What solutions have others tried to keep rain out of their FH2?

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I am not an expert on this question- but from what I understand about screened bottom hives- is that you can safely remove the cover/tray even in very cold weather. In Australia commercial beekeepers keep hives with screened bottoms in the Snow Country right through winter with good results. Using this set up- it can help a lot if you have no upper ventilation and insulate the lid/roof. You can read a bit about the concept here:

also- if you don’t want to- there is no problem having your hive tilt forward- and then just tilting it backwards when it comes time to harvest the flow frames. It is quite OK to tilt a hive forwrds or backwards- just not sideways.

I don’t have a Flow hive 2, but we did lose a hive last winter to an El Nino storm. Winds of 70mph blew rain straight into the hive and turned the bees into a soggy chilled mess. :disappointed_relieved:

We have designed a polycarbonate entrance shield (not fabricated yet) which will fit over the hive entrance. The sides will be open and from our experience with robbing screens, the bees will have no problem navigating it.

The concept is a kind of stretched Z shape with a vertical attached to the brood box, a diagonal running at a 45 degree angle from the vertical to the edge of the landing board, then another vertical forming a lip over the edge so that rain drips off away from the hive. Here is an amateur sketch:

I bought some sheet polycarbonate from Amazon, and I have found a metal fabricator who has a sheet metal shaping tool which can be used to make the bends in the plastic without heat. Should be pretty simple. Fabricators are easy to find around airports, boating areas, car repair shops etc if you want to try this.

Out of curiosity has the leaking Flow roof issue been rectified in the Flow 2 design?

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as I understand it the roof parts are now one solid piece instead of three interlocking ones- so that should have resolved many of the issues. Still a lot to be said for insulating and extra weather sealing.

I like that @Dawn_SD I may do that this winter! Good idea!

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I have not seen any evidence of leaking from the roof. It comes as 6 pieces: two pre-assembled shingles, 2 gables, 2 “facia” side rails, and a ridge cap. The pre-assembled shingles came separated on the FH1 and I think that’s where people had leakage problems.

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I tried to build an awning eave thing out of spare parts I had laying around the garage. I think it helps, but water still gets in.

Since it’s less than wonderfully effective, I’m open to suggestions. Is your poly shield meant to be removed or flip up, or is it a permanent fixture?

I officially do not like that this forum doesn’t support “multiquote” features. Responding in 3 different posts is super annoying.

That’s an interesting page you link to. I’m in Colorado, USA, where winters are somewhat more severe than Australia. -20c is common and it sometimes gets even colder. A few of the beeks in our local facebook group leave their bottom boards open all winter long and say it works, but I have yet to see anybody do science on it. Meanwhile we had ~40% die-off last winter nationwide and somewhat higher than that locally, so I’m skeptical of anecdotal evidence.

I think a modification that keeps the rain from getting into the hive in the first place is better than a modification that lets the water out.

another thing you could do is reduce the size of your entrace which should stop a bit more water going in. It only needs to be about 2-3 inches across- less even in winter.

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We are going to drill out a kind of keyhole shape. Two screws will remain in the brood box, then the screen can be lowered and slotted into the keyholes. :wink:

We will just leave it on for the rainy season. For us, that is approximately December to March. :blush:

Oh yes it does!

Thanks for that.

Apparently not.

See, multi quotes. :sunglasses:

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There would be a big advantage if you lowered the awning to only a couple of inches and made the hive level or even tilting towards the entrance. The backward tilt is only needed when you are extracting the honey. To further cut down on rain blowing in you could reduce the entrance size to 3 or 4 inches and even in Summer you would still get enough air flow for cooling.
Cheers

what I meant was each ‘shingle’ is one piece now instead of three. That’s where the main leaks came from in my experience -not the ridge capping :slight_smile:

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I like that simple solution that can be used on any bee hive to stop rain blowing into the hive. Bending polycarbonate is is not hard if you have a vice and a couple of pieces of timber to sit in the vice jaws to protect the plastic from scratching and a heat gun to heat the polycarbonate enough that it can be bent without fracturing. Some metals can be bent cold if it is thin enough but polycarbonate can’t.
Cheers

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When I made my long hive I was concerned with having it permanently tilted backwards to allow harvesting. I made my entrance slope to the front more than the hive is tilted back. The entrance is also sheltered from the predominate wind/rain direction. If the rain does blow to the entrance my hives are near vertical structures (fence, chook pen) that provide shelter.

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Hi. I run my hives in uk with a mesh base. I also have a clear plastic ‘verandah’ over the entrance. Yes I know! It’s part of the adapta stand options sold by Thornes bee supplies a uk company. It has the advantage of helping defend the hive. And reducing effect of weather. I might get you a photo but you can see it on line at thornes website.

I have lost a hive because ‘rain in wrong direction’. But you learn by your expensive and embarrassing faults.

Adding this a little later. This short YouTube video shows a couple of items that may be interesting. The ideas it presents can be a DIY fix. The link is https://youtu.be/zO-e3YYtGiM

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WHAAAAA? Shenanigans I say!

OK figured it out. That is SOOO not intuitive. Whatever happened to bbboard or vbulletin?

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According to Youtube, it can. In fact there is a good video of a guy doing it.

You can’t bend some clear plastics cold, but polycarbonate is one of the few that you can, and it is actually better not to heat it, otherwise you risk getting bubbles and weakening the plastic.

According to Google research and businesses that sell polycarbonate over here that offer a heat shaping service it will fracture if cold bent, and I can confirm that happens when just trying to put a curve into it to make a boat windscreen. Yes, you can heat it enough to get bubbles in it is heated enough to become molten.
I can also confirm that there is not a lot of extra heat needed to get beyond getting bubbles to it catching fire :grinning: