Well, my flow hive arrived a couple weeks ago and I’ve been moving into a new place, so this afternoon finally got around to assembling it. As with most people, I watched the Youtube assembly videos multiple times in anticipation of the product and read the directions before beginning assembly.
So far (I’ve just completed the brood box) it is clear that I received a product that has the same poor craftsmanship and quality control issues that many others have been experiencing. My finger joints are quite badly misaligned on three out of the four corners, and even after doing some shaving the best I could, the pieces were horribly matched. One of the sides cracked completely through before any screws had been put in due to the poor fit. After assembling the best I could, I am left with a misshapen, uneven brood box which has has holes in two corners that you can easily see through.
I have no problem with wood that has knots. However, it does become a problem when finger joints are made with knotted wood, which then contributes to the misalignment and splitting of the box. I do not have an entire woodworking kit–and nor should I need one–to assemble something that purports to be ready-to-go out of the box with only a screwdriver (and as I said, that’s just the brood box. I haven’t yet even gotten to the rest of it). I will let the pictures I took speak further for themselves.
I’m trying to stay optimistic about my purchase, but it’s a hard pill to swallow after paying $780 with shipping and waiting six months. And, unfortunately, with my nuc arriving in less than two weeks, I don’t have many options but to make this work. Anyway, I am emailing Flow Hive support about this issue, and I guess I’ll see what happens. I’ll update here when I hear from them. As of now, I’m pretty disappointed.
that’s no good at all! I am sure Flow will help you get new parts as fast as they can. Is that a cedar hive and are you in the US? I would call BeeThinking if it is and you are…
The Flow team should help you out. Please do provide them the batch # on the exterior of the package. This helps our team out tremendously to know when it was produced and packed, to ensure we have no similar issues going forward. It also helps us to understand whether the issues have already been addressed, or if it’s a new issue.
Finished putting together the hive, more problems.
The finger joints did not have as severe problems in the super; however, the roof is another story. The top roof piece had an extra lip just sort of dangling off it right out of the box. That was easy enough to remove, but then I got to assembly. The pilot holes were drilled a full half inch off center on one side, leading to extra holes in the roof. Also, this led to the pilot hole being started in the side of a vertical support (shown in the picture where the green wood is also noted.) More frustrating, the roof, once assembled, is not even close to being square. I placed the top board inside the roof to demonstrate how it’s off and then took an overall picture, along with a picture of each corner, to demonstrate this. It’s not possible to do so with the roof on the frame.
Everything fitting so poorly is frustrating–not just for the cosmetic aspect and principle of the thing–but more importantly because the wind and weather here gets rather unbearable and such a poor seal, on both the roof and brood box, will not bode well for my bees when it’s snowing sideways and -30* f.
It is, and I am. I’ll see what Flow Support has me do… thanks for the heads up!
If you sent them all of those photos, and a photo of the packing label, they should fix it pretty fast, based on what they have done for others. I believe the distribution centers have a stock of kits available for replacements, so you won’t have the same wait that you had for this delivery.
Sorry to see your hive has arrived in such a poor condition
I can see that your email has already been responded to and your replacement brood box and roof have been ordered for you.
Hopefully it won’t take too long for the replacement parts to be sent to you.
Faroe, you are correct. To update everyone, Flow responded to my email very promptly last night and said this:
I’m really sorry to hear that you have had so many issues with the wooden components of your Flow™ Hive.
I have passed the images on to our quality control team so that they can try to work on this is future, we have been having a few issues but we are getting less and less of them thanks to feedback from customers like yourself.
We are happy to replace both your brood box and roof, i have arranged this and the replacements will be shipped to you as soon as possible, so that you can get started using the Flow™ Hive and hopefully become a happy customer.
Thank you much for your patience and understanding.
I’m excited for new parts to be coming in, and crossing my fingers that they’re quality this time. I’ll keep this updated with how things progress, especially regarding how quickly the parts arrive and how they compare with what I have now.
I can speak from experience if you send the support team an email with pictures and the batch number of off the box you received it in they will respond quickly and ship the replacement parts. I got my replacement parts about four days after they got all of the info from me.
Well, just to keep everyone updated, I have received no further word from Flow nor have I received any replacement parts. Certainly not what I would call any sort of prompt response… I will continue waiting for my parts.
I have put in a request for an update on your parts.
Your parts order is queued, but not yet shipped. But it has not been forgotten, it will be coming!
Hi Sara, thanks for the update. My shipping address has changed, and my last email to Flow support indicated such but I haven’t heard anything back. I don’t want the product shipped to the wrong place, so how can I ensure that they get the correct destination?
Message me (privately) the correct address and I’ll check.
I feel your pain mate. Similar stuff happened with my order. So far I’ve had half a replacement box, which also didn’t align with the box joints and was warped timber. This was then replaced with a complete box that fit together perfectly. The original flow frames were damaged, then replaced with more damaged frames… and now waiting for the next replacements. It has been frustrating, but the faults@flow people have been really good with communication. It just takes a lot of patience! Keep emailing them and don’t give up.
This is still a really good invention and I am looking forward to spring! Starting up a giant company, like Flow, overnight can’t be easy.
The really GOOD NEWS is that Cedar Anderson called me the other day to apologise and make sure I am going to get customer satisfaction. Nice touch!
I sent Flow Support pictures of 5 defective hive pieces. They only replaced two and one that they replaced arrived cracked as well. Eventually they did replace the second cracked piece but not in time for my bee package arrival. I had to purchase another hive. I am so disappointed with my Flow Hive. I trusted them with my money for over a year. Never again. I’ll tell anyone who asks about Flow Hives that they DO NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT!!! Lynn
IF that were a High School basic shop project, I’d have to give it a C- to D+ range… I am hoping that instances like this are becoming more and more rare as time passes. The good news is that your honey bees will do their best to use propolis to close out those air/light leaks. They are remarkably good at that.
Please keep us posted regarding how your problem is being or has been taken care of?
I received my second flow super (7 frame) today and was pleased that all parts fit perfectly this time around.
Would love to see a video tour of the Lancaster shop, sharing with all of us, who is working there and what their basic quality checks are or are not? The largest room in the world… is the “room” for improvement…
I hope they will get there soon.
Wow… I really like your reasonable thought process… as you say, patience and persistence should pay off.
I’m with you, I like the design/concept and will continue to explore its benefits and how the bees take to it.
So glad you finally received usable components.
Great news! The six replacement frames arrived today and I wasn’t asked to pay tax again. So far the two that I have inspected look excellent. Thanks Flow.
Well, it has been a while and with plenty of other things going on, updating this was put on the back-burner. But, I thought I would at least wrap it up so that anyone following would know what eventually happened.
My final thoughts after working with Flow Support throughout this process would be ultimately to not recommend the Flow Hive to others, especially newer beekeepers or those not comfortable with woodworking.
Flow did eventually send me the replacement hive bodies and roof, and I had similar issues with the joints on those, though not as extreme. What was as extreme was the roof, which was not only not square (parallel) to the hive body, it was horizontally not level in such a fashion that I can actually rock the roof back and forth on two opposite corners. Additionally, the roof from my first hive has begun to come apart and required several additional screws to prevent unwanted top entrances (big holes between the slats) for my bees. These problems are significant in my region (Rocky Mountains, 7200ft elevation) because if they continue to come apart in harsher seasons, my colonies will have no hope of surviving the winter.
I did email Flow with these additional problems, including pictures to document and better explain what I was talking about, and I eventually just didn’t hear back. The last email I sent to Faults was June 30th, and I assume it was lost or forgotten because I never received any response at all.
On the whole, the customer support for Flow was okay, but at a certain level there’s only so much a customer can expect them to do per order. At some point, they are just going to have to put more energy into fixing problems on the front end instead of trying to put fires out afterward. I ended up not using my flow frames at all this season, partially because of the local flows, but mostly because I did not want to deal with any more inevitable problems that would pop up along the way.
If I had to go back, I simply would not purchase the product again. For a product as expensive as this one, it is just unacceptable to have a litany of problems such as these.