New season, old frames - check wire tension!

Just a quick note for anyone who is entering a nectar flow season with previously used Flow frames. Please, please, please check the wire tension! We just supered one of our hives, and I inspected the Flow frames before supering. The wires were really pretty lax. They were tight last time we harvested, but I guess that turning the key stretches the upper wires a bit. I just thought that it might save some heartache if I suggested that you check and tighten before letting the bees work the frames. It only took me about 20 minutes to do 6 frames, totally worthwhile. :blush:

This only looks like a millimeter or two, but the frame flexed quite a lot with gentle pressure. So please check yours before letting the bees use them!


Good tip - thanks Dawn!

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I encourage people to check them at install, whether new or not.

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Absolutely critical & not hard to do at all, thanks for the reminder dearie :kissing_heart:

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Can you give a visual of how far the wire can be lifted off the top of the frame?

The frames are fixed and in the hive now, so I am afraid that I can’t, but I would say about 5mm (before fixing) from memory :wink:

Here’s the how-to vid and I think Cedar shows how loose they are at one point -


I remember that video but it’s hard to tell how far up he’s able to pull the wire, he does it kind of fast. Or maybe a picture of how easily the frame flexes side-to-side when the tightness is appropriate?

You are making me think that you are an engineer, although your nucleolus awareness gives other clues… :rofl:

I would say that if the flexing gets to a point where I have a premonition that the whole frame might fall apart, that is too much… For example, I think if any gap between the sliding sections opens to one millimeter or more, that is way too much. Just my humble opinion, and the way I take care of my frames. The Flow gurus may have other much more expert opinions. :blush: @Freebee2 - any thoughts?

Opens up when turning the key or when you flex them manually? That seems really tight if you shouldn’t even be able to manually flex them. The wire position is in a mechanically disadvantaged to prevent flexing…


Maybe they need a differently designed wire, maybe we a turnbuckle tightening mechanism on top so the wire does not have to be popped on and off, and the frames don’t need to be held with a string temporarily.

Or maybe an emlock-like mechanism.

Flex them manually. I would guess putting on no more than about 2-3lb of pressure at each end, but I didn’t measure it. Also the trigger pressure on my S&W is 6lb - I didn’t use that much force. Just a little flex of the frame. If I was doing physical therapy for my tennis elbow (enthesopathy), it would not have been more force than required to twist one of those medium resistance foam tube things. Certainly not as much force as you would use to open a sealed can of sauce or jelly, coz that would break it all apart for sure. Does that help? :wink:

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Hi all, I’d say if you can just slide a finger under it your wire tension is about right. As Dawn said, you can sort of get a feel for when it’s not secured well. You ideally do not want it falling apart on you, reassembling is not hard but a bit of a fiddly job! (We have a video on how to do this that makes it a bit easier - see link…) Flow Frame Re-assemble & Repair


That was our take away message a finger or a pen/pencil.

Example of too loose - on a new frame

The extra twist to tighten the loose wire


I was brainstorming an easier way to quickly and easily tension the flow frame cable and a very simple solution came to mind. I considered other options, mini-turnbuckle, cable clamps, etc. but those are bulky or relatively costly.

It adds very little height, but you could use something thinner as long at its fairly rigid. But certainly there is enough clearance from the inner cover to make this popsicle stick trick work for me! Way easier than getting the wire on and off.

Maybe @Faroe could run it past the design team and Flow could integrate this sort of design into future flow frame versions but have it look more elegant.


Nice solution you may want to run the popsicle stick parallel to the frame to spread the pressure point over more sections to reduce the chance of a fulcrum being created. Not sure if it will be a real problem but a thought…

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It’s not the height of the piece of stick that is doing the tensioning - I use the stick as a wind up lever by sliding it to the side and then turning it over and once the tension is adequate, re-centering the stick. There’s a similar piece of stick on the bottom too.

But that is a good argument for using a thinner piece of material.


Neat optical illusion, I didn’t pick it until you pointed it out.


This is an ingenious solution Alok! I think the Flow team should be alerted - hey @Bianca & @Freebee2 check this out!

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Nice trick! By the way, Faroe left Flow some time ago, which is why @Eva tagged Bianca and Freebee. :wink: