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Negative comments about the flow


#1

In the past few weeks, I’ve seen several people on Facebook, and in other places, with vague comments about Flow being a gimmick or that it is dangerous, or that it’s just not good for the bees. The only comment I’ve seen that really gave any specifics, was, in my opinion just a bunch of nonsense. That comment was that this teaches bee keepers to be lazy. And in doing so, will mean that they are no longer doing their hive inspections, and taking proper care of their bees. This is just a bunch of rubbish, as far as I’m concerned. If someone IS lazy, they will BE lazy. But, finding a more efficient way of getting a job done, does not MAKE someone lazy.

I’d like to know what negative comments others have seen/heard, and if you’re using your Flow, what are your thoughts on those negative comments.

I have one Flow, but haven’t set it up, because I haven’t gotten any bees yet. This is going to be my first hive, so if there are concerns that I need to be aware of, I’d like to find out before I get my bees.


#2

Here is one comment/thread that lead to this post
Negative Comment:
Just walk away. Do yourself and the bees a favor and just walk away from this. If you want I can give you the long version but for now, trust me when I say, this is a parlor trick and more detrimental than good.

My response:
lease share the details, because so far, I have seen several that are working beautifully, and the only negative things I’ve seen or heard, is that people think that by using the Flow, the bees will be neglected. If that is the only argument, I find it a faulty argument. If someone is going to be lazy, they are going to be lazy. But just by making the job easier, does not make someone lazy.

Their followup response:
The flowhive is plastic. It relies on bees to build comb on top of plastic. Plastic off gasses and can disrupt hormonal balance in bees. Wax cells are made from over 300 different chemical components which help remove toxins from the honey. The resonant frequency of the bee produced wax comb is matched to the bees’ vibration sensors and acts as an information highway between bees on opposite sides of the comb. Bees manage the temperature of the cell rims to optimize transmissions of these messages. Wax holds history and memory via chemical signals put into it by the bees.
The best honey is fully capped. Bees ripen nectar by removing the moisture and sealing it off with wax. Honey that has been harvested with a moisture content above 20 per cent and isn’t capped is considered unripe and may ferment. Polypropylene does not accomplish this and the moisture levels are not compensated for. Traditional beekeepers slice honey caps off with a knife and use a spinner which removes honey from wax frames. They then reuse the wax in their hives once more. It allows them to review hive health as well by seeing what the bees are doing. The higher moisture content in colder regions may freeze and or cause crystalline composition in the honey making it necessary to heat it ruining the health qualities of the honey and or clogging the flow hive mechanism.
The automation, never need to enter the hive is also counter productive to bee health. You have to go into the hives to monitor hive activity and health. Look for mites, do mite infestation counts (sugar rolls), check for wax moths, wax beetles etc. It allows you to look for queen cells, possible pre swarm activity and to generally keep your eye on the bee population and to look for any problems with diseases etc. When are good times to make splits and that things are continuing to be in good condition.
There is also a more philosophical aspect of the bees. By going into hives, there are communications between bees and humans. My wife regularly goes in to her hives and has no issues with the bees. I go down there with less frequency and usually end up stung more than a few times. The bees don’t know me like they do her. We see it a little differently than many do. Our bees help with our pollination of plants and have results have led to higher yields in fruit, vegetables and flowers in our garden, orchards and fields. The honey and wax are a byproduct of that. The bees are not here simply for our consumption of honey. They have a job here on the farm. We have a good relationship with them and they for the most part (again more my wife than me) with us. After mid summer pull, they get all the honey they produce after that to help them through the later summer when there is a dirth and less flowering and to get them through the winter. (we will also supplement them to help them through).


#3

There are several long threads addressing all of this on this forum. Here are a couple of them:
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/how-do-i-answer-this-criticism-concern-about-the-flow-hive/1206?u=dawn_sd
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/how-i-explain-my-flow-purchase/6502?u=dawn_sd

The long and short of it as I see it is that there will always be resistance to new ideas. The traditionalists feel threatened, so they try to discredit the innovation. The plastic is BPA-free (not polypropylene) and the same formula used for baby milk bottles. I doubt it off-gasses. Plastic has been used in hives for decades (plastic foundation and frames), and while bees may be reluctant to use it the first time, once they have waxed it and put footprint pheromones in it, they use it willingly. Flow honey should always be harvested from capped frames too - that is just not an issue. The Flow frames are just a different way of harvesting, not of beekeeping. You still have to look after the bees the way you would in a traditional hive.

There is a learning curve with using the Flow frames, and some tricks and skills are needed to harvest gently and efficiently, but I think it is a great concept and not trickery or battery farming of bees.

Generally I don’t discuss the Flow hive with most traditional beekeepers any more. I will just be happy to sell my pure, unprocessed honey, and perhaps win the occasional prize for its outstanding quality! :smile:


#4

Thanks for taking the time to help, Dawn_SD


#5

I imagine most of the naysayers have never seen one in action. I would stick to the folks on this forum. They have open minds and physical proof that the frames work exactly as advertised. Too many people are taking a comment that was made in the videos about it being easy. What they obviously have made easier is the extraction process. One still has to take care of his/her bees like any other hive. Many traditional beekeepers using plastic foundation in their frames. I seriously doubt there is much difference between that plastic and the formula used in the flow frames. I am pretty sure the plastic in the flow frames is a food grade so it honestly is probably better. I look at it this way. My father always told me that if you have a tool that allows you to do something better and easier you should use it. Some folks are just set in their ways. Take what they have said, do your own research, and make a decision that works best for you and your bees. If you make a mistake learn from it and don’t do it again. Not much else you can do!


#6

This subject as been done to death here, on the uk beekeeping fora and on Facebook. My advice would be to learn to keep bees effectively and humanely. What extraction system you use is neither here nor there. The beekeeping is the same. You will always get incompetents whatever hobby you care to mention.


#7

I have a great mentor, he is an old-time beekeeper. He has not praised the flow frame, he’s pointed out some issues he thinks there are with it. But he certainly has not diminished my wanting to try it and/or move forward.

So far hiss only negative thoughts on it, to only cost. I’ve pointed out all the cost harvesting, that he has to spend, and to me the biggest one is time and space.

He’s agreed that it’s likely cost effective for small time beekeeper it will take time to see if it is able to withstand several years of use. If that’s the case he believes it would be a very valid option.

**

To the main point of my discussion here

**

I brought it over to his house a few weekends ago where he and several other beekeepers were working. I also, while they were all there purposely snapped it in half, and showed him how easy it was to go back together and how well it held up.

They were thoroughly amazed and literally some of them were asking where they could get one right then. So this goes back to your comment above most of them that are griping/naysayers have never even touched one or seen one. So truly how can they know


#8

Not having a flow hive I can only really see two problems. Cost per hive is large, sure an extractor is expensive but it services many hives, and the other is mainly caused by inexperience. I have seen many threads where someone has started a hive this season and is extracting honey just before winter. This is usually excitement and/or inexperience but the flow system puts the idea of turning a tap and out comes the honey. As for the rest of the “arguments” in the quote above, less said the better.

Now, if you are keeping bees for a hobby the expense is negligible, afterall you could own a yacht and have the cost of purchase, moring and maintenance which would put the cost of a couple of low hives in the minisule bracket. Hobbies can be expensive but they buy us sanity.

That only leaves the over harvesting issue and experience will be the teacher there. We, on this forum can keep suggesting they move carefully but in the end a beek will rob them blind with a standard hive as easily as a flow hive.

I think its because its new and they are jealous they did not think of it and are not getting the money themselves.

Cheers
Rob.


#9

I think some of the issues are valid and a genuine problem is new beekeepers thinking it’s the panacea for all beekeeping problems without understanding it has only really changed the way the supers are harvested, the rest is business as usual.

The cost is high, you can’t deny that. For the price of 7 flow frames in a box I can buy 3-4 full hives including frames. Or I can buy a hive and centrifugal extractor with change to spare. In saying that, I just purchased a flow setup for a project this season… but I have no plans to rush out and replace my existing apiary with flow hives.

I agree that a lot of beeks at clubs are sour about the flow because it has interrupted their income stream from newbees buying hives, but it seems this season in the clubs I am involved in that the attitude has shifted with beeks offering to sell nucs/packages/queens and their services to new flow owners to make up the shortfall.

I’d say beekeepers spend about half the year keeping bees, and the other half arguing/debating with each other about the minutiae of beekeeping methods and approaches… it’s nothing personal.


#10

I might consider myself a beekeeping newbie, but I’ve actually returned after a 25 yr hiatus. I credit my return to the Flow technology; it is as fascinating as the bees themselves. I have endured the sideways looks and snickering from my beekeeping chapter members, but rationalize that their perspectives are based on well-established methodology that work. Everyday we are bombarded with cautionary warnings about scams and charlatans; I trust the technology, the Flow Team, you well-intentioned fellow beekeepers on this forum. Your willingness to share your thoughts and advice have been greatly appreciated by this newbie. Cheers to y’all from Missouri.


#11

The only thing that I can add to this discussion is an issue with something that @John-Yeager said when he said that the flow frames work exactly as advertised. There’s been lots of issues with leaking honey into & out through the brood box & onto the ground. It seems that can be overcome by opening each frame in increments. That method of harvesting the frames isn’t “as advertised”.


#12

It appears that the good thing about the Flow Hive is us no too “sour” new bees. We are enthusiastic want to learn and are good listeners. Not sure what is so disrupting to beekeepers business by some new “competition”? There are many reasons to get into bees. Flow Hive attracted me and I am glad to learn. The classes I go to do not discuss flow hive, nothing has changed but the discussion has now an added thread. I bought my bees from a beekeeper. What do you all pay? My med 7 frame box cost me $300. I am a farmer I have a lot of work on my farm bees are an addition. Additional work not really needed. We try to support ourselves. The bees are first for the environment and my farm, second to supply me with honey to eat, The third is maybe selling with the rest of my farm product at market. I do not think my bee keeper friend that sells his honey and byproducts at my market is afraid of me. Just like I sell eggs and the new egg group dont worry me. Everyone needs eggs and honey. But he did try to SCARE me saying next time he saw me my face would be all swollen from bee bites. LOL I have only worked with my hive once and I wonder what he does to his bees to make them attack :slight_smile: The cost is high, mine is at $1000 and it maybe I am stupid but you see that was all I knew and Stu and Cedar were why I supported Flow Hive. They sold me and Mahalo Nui to them. I love my bees and am ready for a life of learning ahead. Doubt I am getting into the honey/wax extraction business. That is a job in itself.


#13

Although not the ‘wax extraction business’, at some stage in the not too distant future the comb in your brood box will need to be replaced/managed and you will need to start cycling it out… you will start accumulating wax faster than you expect.

The comment about beeks being sour is with regard to old beeks in clubs making money off new members by selling them hives, not commercial beekeepers selling honey.


#14

Thanks for the information and was wondering about wax earlier. Like I said I have a lot to learn. Is that a not a good thing selling hives? I am one of those but it may be a bit different here as we can not import bees so I went to a beekeeper to buy.


#15

Hello there Jeff,

I have watched some ‘review’ videos of the flow hive on youtube- and read some blogs- many reactionary anti-flow hive people out there none of whom have ever even seen a flow hive up close. They have innumerable reactionary theories: plastics bad, flow hive makes u lazy, too much honey extraction/bad for the bees, etc, plastic will warp, honey will candy, propolis will propolise. Funnily enough the one issue I never saw any of them mention was the potential for honey leaks in the hive. And we experienced some leaks when we first harvested- it’s the only issue we have had.

However they were really minor, maybe a few tablespoons- and the bees seemed to clean it up and deal with it very fast. We adjusted our wires for tightness this season- and hope with incremental drainage and periodic frame maintenance- the problem will decrease- be manageable- or disappear. We put the frames back in covered in broken wax from last year. The bees have absolutely gone to work on them: they have repaired all the cells and cleaned everything so the surface looks like new- every cell perfectly formed waiting for the nectar flow. We believe that once a good layer of wax has developed over a season and half: leaks may become even less of an issue or disappear.


#16

Well that certainly works with a traditional super. The longer you keep it the stronger it becomes. Bees won’t put honey in dirty cells so they clean and restore them beautifully