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Idea for a new Flow Frame product- Frame Grabber

Flow frames are often heavier that traditional combs- and a little harder to remove from the box. It’s a bit harder to use the hive tool to pry up both ends- especially the extraction end. It’s not big deal certainly- but- I have been using my frame grabbing tool to pull them out- however it is designed for standard langstroth frames and is not ideal for flow frames. It doesn’t grip them as well not being designed to grip so wide- and you have to take care as you don’t want to damage the frame or drop it. What would be great is a dedicated flow frame grabbing tool. One that is designed to perfectly fit a flow frame. If Flow makes one I will be the first to buy it @Faroe @Cedar ??

This is what the regular ones look like:

Ideally it would have a lock on it- so once you have grabbed the frame you can lock it and don’t need to keep pressure on the two handles. Who’s with me? Who wants one?


Splendid idea Jack. I want one.

I don’t want one. Anyway last time I removed flow frames, I was worried I was going to chip the plastic with my hive tool. How easy do they chip or damage? I think it’s because the plastic is clear that it looks & feels brittle to me. Did I have anything to worry about? I didn’t want to damage someone else’s flow frame.

I haven’t noticeably damaged any yet- or worried too much either. Like all things- with practice you get the knack of it. I pry up the non-extraction end using the J on the j tool - levering off an adjacent frame. Get a hold on that end- then remove the little wood strip that covers the extraction slots at the top rear- - and get the sharp edge of the hive tool under that flat rest and then grab it.

Or in my long hive I use the frame grabber- its more awkward with the hive tool

Hi Jeff. I never damaged one, but I always have a little worry. The plastic seems quite resilient. (Probably less so after irradiation.)
It can be a tad awkward if there is cross comb.
It helps to loosen the flow box from the one underneath, in case the bees attached the frame to the QX and to the brood frames underneath.
Else I do it exactly as Jack does.
I would appreciate a good flow purpose built lockable grabber, especially when the frame is heavy.

I also do it like Jack does. The first time I saw those grabbers was when I started watching youtube videos. I’m happy using both hands. It’s just one more gadget we probably don’t need.

If you ever see a Perfect Pocket Hive Tool for sale, grab one. I use mine all the time. It sits snug in my hand while I’m inspecting frames etc. I rarely have to put it down. The flat blade is perfect for squashing beetles & scraping burr comb. The word “perfect” is really appropriate. I saw it first on this forum.

The problem with the grabbers is once you have grabbed a frame it’s a little awkward to then transfer it to two hands so you can flip it easily and inspect it. But for me they work well with the long- as using the tool is awkward.

One for flow frames on the other hand would be more useful I think- as it’s more vital to put back flow frames very evenly and correctly aligned. Also due the the additional weight.

I just met (by telephone only) a Serbian chap in Adelaide- who made fancy hive tools back in Serbia- he’s a third generation beekeeper- I’m hoping to get one of these:

He is just starting out beekeeping here- catching swarms to get started- later he plans to breed queens which is what he did in Serbia.

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I found the perfect pocket hive tool great too… Until it fell out of my pocket… Now I can’t find it… I’m back with the not so perfect tool now and miss the small one… I know as soon as I buy another I’ll find it on the ground so I’m holding out, hopefully the crows/ravens will set it out for me as they do with so many other shiny things they find around the place.
I’ve not used a frame lifter, probably just another thing for me to lose…
Can you turn a frame in one of those lifters?

Hi @skeggley, if they were steel, a magnet might find it. Having said that, I recently discovered to my surprise that some ss nuts & bolts were magnetic… I just came back from checking, it is magnetic. A bit of magnet fishing might be worth a try.

Jeff- I was surprised too when I found out stainless steel is non-magnetic.

Hi Jack, I was always under the impression that ss was non magnetic. Apparently some ss’s are & some ss’s aren’t. Austenitic stainless steel is non magnetic, whereas ferritic stainless steel is magnetic. So it’s apparent that the perfect pocket hive tool is made from ferritic stainless steel.

My research courtesy of the welcome bleak weather outside & Wikipedia.

ah ha. Jeff- if the weather is still poor and you have a moment- what do you think about the wingless queen I found outside my long hive:

You can turn the frame with the grabber- but it is awkward and hard to then tilt it. The one I have doesn’t have a lock so you need to keep pressure on the handles or you will drop the frame. If you turn the frame your hand is all twisted up… The best way to use a grabber is to remove a frame- then hang in on one of those frame rests that you can hang off the side of the hive. then you can put down the grabber, pick up the frame with both hands and examine as usual. I like the frame rest as I can remove one frame and hang it outside the hive- giving me room to manipulate the other frames. I prefer that to resting the frame on the ground or whatever.

I know Jeff has no use or need for all these gizmos…:sunglasses:

I think the grabbers are probably good for beginners, as they make it easy to lift out a frame nice and evenly without rolling the bees- also good for lifting delicate new comb. But nothing beats having two hands on the frame for manipulating it to look for eggs etc.

I saw that thread but I didn’t know how to answer it. I didn’t see this recent update. The bees obviously rejected her. I guess a brood inspection will be in order. Inside a beehive lives a ruthless society.

I saw the virgin queen out of those 3 queen cells running around in my observation hive the other day. She must be the strongest of the 3. I hope she finds a break in the weather to get mated. I have a few others in the same boat.

ha ha- ruthless indeed- not bound by the Ten Commandments… I remember the lesson well from City of the Bees. It’s odd- that hive has now gone through two queens in 18 months. It is so jam packed with bees- and has 14 brood frames- so I am guessing the bees have more than enough resources to make a new queen. they are laying in lots of honey just now- there is a good flow on. I will inspect it in a few days- today I am going to the Adelaide Hills to look at two new apiary sites I am setting up.

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