How I explain my Flow purchase

“I’m a bee keeper who will extract honey using the ‘Flow Frame’ invention that is a very exciting way to extract honey.”

I don’t insert the word “new” beekeeper.

I don’t mention Indiegogo.

I don’t mention “I bought a Flow Hive.”

Until I anchor someone’s brain into the (potential) ease of honey Flow Frame EXTRACTION and I don’t bother to explain or mention the above.

For the most part, I have met bee keepers who are excited to learn more about what I’m doing.


Yes. Most people are curious but then I am an experienced beekeeper and I can explain that the frames are an extractor that’s different from a spinner. The issue early on with some beekeepers was that novices were getting excited about the flow frames thinking they didn’t have to work with the bees. I think one of the early videos from flow had it that you had to look into your bees only twice a year. That didn’t help. It’s not an add bees and turn the tap machine.

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My experience pretty closely mirrors yours, Cowgirl. The occasional older, established beekeeper will be suspicious or worse, show off their machismo by scoffing at my fancy, newfangled contraption & imply that I’m a rube for spending “so much” money. Never mind the labor & cost of traditional extraction methods & equipment, or the joy of participating in such an inspirational project, in my life & around the world.

Thankfully I’ve also met a few - including an older, established beekeeper - who are positive about the Flow & eager to see what happens with my experience.

In my class run by PA State Ag Extension, I picked up the cue right away (not a word uttered about Flow, by the other students or the teacher) that my choice to enter the world of beekeeping via this upstart start-up might not be met with enthusiasm. It soon became apparent that using foundationless frames & no treatments was also considered pointless at best. I’ve stayed focused on the general learning experience, since I wouldn’t want to hijack the discussions & truly don’t have any beekeeping cred to speak of anyway. Even so, it’s been interesting to take in & mentally adapt some of the info to my setup, and what can I say but a huge thanks for this forum for practical help & a supportive community! :kissing_heart::+1:


True, Dee! I think the Flow video series “Beekeeping with Louise” has been invaluable in correcting that impression.

There’s also a stupid cartoon online with a skunk standing under a Flow hive with its mouth open & honey pouring in. As if!

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Yes let’s! I’ll message you so as not to bore everyone with our Pennsy-ness :sunglasses:

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Here I only experience rejection from the older folks. It’s new, it’s different from what they did for the last 50 years, so it has to be bad. I’ve even been told to throw “the stupid plastic things away before they ruined my first season” :expressionless: Someone else was startled because there were no experience reports available. Oh, that’s a wonder for a brand new product that is just at the edge of starting it’s first season! :yum: Others just smile at me patronizingly and tell me that I’ll see myself that this fancy toy can’t work… I just started NOT to tell people that I have them unless I have the strong feeling that they are not that narrowminded. Sometime I have to explain why I chose langstroth for a magazine size, since this is not common here in Germany. I’m an exotic with this and so people keep asking and so I sometimes have to explain. But mostly I just say that I have my reasons… or I just tell them this was the internationally common size and so I am able to buy international accessories, without giving details on mentioned accessory.
Sometimes it makes me sad how reluctant people are when it comes to new inventions…


We have had a very mixed reception. My bee club leaders were initially skeptical, but when they realized that we are already pretty experienced beekeepers (about 35 years’ beekeeping between my husband and I), they stopped worrying and got more curious. Now about 15 people in our club have ordered Flow hives or supers.

The worst I experienced was when Cedar skyped in to one of our meetings. An elderly Italian guy at the back of the meeting kept yelling at him to “Go to H***”. It was very embarrassing, although I am not sure that Cedar could actually hear him - I hope not! For the rest of the meeting, whenever anyone was discussing something about the Flow frames, he yelled out the same thing, over and over. I don’t think that kind of attitude will ever go away completely, but then people probably said the same thing to the guy who invented the hive smoker. Some people hate change. :disappointed:


The emotional reaction I’ve seen, which, of course, is entirely by people who have never set eyes on one, is what I find most intriguing. How can you feel so strongly about something you have no experience with?


Over time we have evolved and invented tools that have helped us become more efficient. Just think if we hadn’t figured out how to make paper we would still be wiping out butts with leaves.


I’m probably sharing stuff that most people on here know about, but I’ve attached a link to an Australian program that explains the full story of the flow hive and inventors. It’s a fascinating show and I really recommend it.

I’ve included this link on a couple of discussions I have been involved in online and it has actually changed the attitude and perceptions of some people.


Deutchland Uber Alles !

I guess seeing that it was not invented by a German, then the older German folk would just put it down.

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I’m not sure this is the main reason. Even if I don’t tell where it’s from they don’t want it. It’s just this stupid “I’ve done it this way since 50 years” thing. “We always did it like this” is the sentence I hate the most. Sure, some things are tried and proven, but what’s bad about trying something new? In Germany we have an enormous range of hive sizes, they often differ only by a few mm. And within one size, there are several different “systems” which are of course incompatible with each other. The only reason is that every wannabe bee-god invented his own size and consideres that the holy grail of bee keeping… And there are FIGHTS among beekeepers which size is the best. And everyone considers the users of other sizes as beeing stupid or neglecting their bees or something. As if the bees cared about the length and width of their comb… Luckily this is mostly limited to the older folks. Younger people start to become more open minded, at least concerning hive sizes and even bee races! Buckfast was considered “the enemy”, I even heard about bee keepers who destroyed buckfast hives, but slowly “the other bee” gets established and accepted.

Same thing with this item
German store, german explanation… In short, this thing made of QE and one-way flaps will prevent your queen from leaving the hive when they swarm, she’ll be trapped inside the cage and you can lure the swarm into a box using her, or do whatever you like to do to prevent or handle swarming. And it catches unwanted drones before they can leave the hive, i.e. from an aggressive hive or whatsoever.
I’m pretty sure this is a german invention, at least I first saw and bought it from a local store (after I already pondered something like that last year, but didn’t have the tools and equipment to build one. I thought about a kind of tunnel out of the trap to guide Madame into a swarm box). I just asked for help and ideas how to mount it on my magazine, since the bottom board is not flush with the back side, so it can’t be fit snug to the box. And there was no description of how to attach it, there are no knobs or anything. But instead of figuring out a way to handle the thing, people started debating on whether this might work or not, one even said the queen would be cut into pieces with it… and again I was told to throw it away.
And I still have no idea how to get the trap onto the hive…


But why?
Just perform accepted methods of preventive or reactive swarm control. They work and are not stressful on the bees.

Also I think you are being a bit judgemental yourself. “Older” beekeepers may not understand some “new fangled contraptions” Not every old keeper hates the Flow hive, you know.


Yes, it’s not only the old people. And I’m talking only about my own experience. There are a few guys who are interested in the flow frames or different thoughts in general and don’t just refuse them. Just a few. I’m just getting a little frustrated by all that rejection and blunt orders to trash everything that leaves the old paths even for one step… That doesn’t come with “I don’t understand it”, it comes with “You are a foolish little girl, shame on you, how stupid can one person be?!?” That hurts sometimes, you know. I didn’t mean to offend anyone!

The queen trap might be useful for someone less experienced beekeeper (like me) who has a job with irregular working times (like me). And it is described as beeing useful for catching swarms that sit way up high trees. You can screw the trap with the queen inside onto a long stick and lift it up to the swarm, which would then gather around the trap. Then you can safely bring the swarm down to earth and into your hive. Catching a high swarm can be dangerous.
Plus, I do like the idea of swarming as the natural way to reproduce for the bees. Of course, I’m only just a beginner and maybe I’ve read TOO much since the last ten (10) years, when I wanted to start beekeeping, but couldn’t. A swarm will start a brand new, disease-free colony. Other than a “new” colony made out of brood comb and randomly thrown together bees.
Just my newbee-thoughts…

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I think it was invented by Henry Alley…

Hopkins put a picture of it in the Australasian Bee Manual and calls it "Alley’s Drone Excluder, drone and queen trap

I bought a bunch of them decades ago thinking I could eliminate swarming. I didn’t realize then they would just get clogged up with drones…

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Ok, once again I learned something ^^. Thanks, Michael!
Yes, the drone problem is mentioned. The manual sais you have to check on the trap very often to make sure caught drones don’t end up in a horrible death.

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No need to explain. Just go about your beekeeping life and enjoy!

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I think I just learned something new. I always believed that the swarm always went where the queen went, therefore landing wherever the queen landed. The fact that a swarm will go high up in a tree, leaving the queen behind in a cage is news to me.

Swarming might be more natural, however not ideal, especially in a suburban environment. It’s always best, in my opinion to exercise swarm control. That way you get to make more colonies & get to keep all the bees.

You may not be around when a hive decides to swarm, possibly losing the swarm.

The last thing you want is a knock on the door from a neighbor offering your bees back if you can extract them out of their wall.

Sounds similar to current queen trap systems. I have excluders that I can use to setup a queen trap in my hives and plan to use them (experiment) next season (I would have used them this season but didn’t get the excluders until late).

Trapped drones are definitely a problem, but the approach I plan to use is to open the hive regularly at night to ensure there isn’t a build up of dead drones over the swarming period.

I drew up the configuration in CAD. As you can see, the excluder has an entrance above the mesh so when the front doors are locked down the queen is trapped but workers can still move freely in and out. If required the excluder can be moved all the way to the top between the top box and the lid (eg. if more space is required)

The whole idea of Alley’s drone trap is to make the drones you don’t want, die…

Trust me. Any system that requires daily effort on your part is not a good system…