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Pros and Cons Of Flow Hive From A Commercial Operation


#1

First off I will list the pro side as it’s only one compared to the cons. The pro is that it works, I had no problem with converting a 10 frame box to fit the 7 frames I bought. Everything fit nicely by the time we finished the conversion box. Only problem with it was making the top cover fit to cover the upper ports for removing. We found we had to remove top and sit it just above in order to insert key. This was disturbing to the bees and eventually they had covered the entire lid. No problem for me, I wore my suit and had my smoker handy.

The cons are numerous considering what one pays and that is probably my biggest beef is the extremely high cost. For those whom seem to think this outfit is a time saver in the extraction process, have never really extract honey for living. In the 2 hours it took me to empty 4 out of the 7 frames I had, we extracted 200 frames in the warehouse. We actually timed it. Next I will be comparing the three remaining frames when they get full enough against a hand crank. My guess is that I’ll be able to hand crank at least 20 frames maybe more and that includes de-capping as well.

Secondly I’d like to address the taste factor so heavily bragged about. Honey from the Flow Frame doesn’t taste any different than honey that has been extracted via an extractor and then filtered. Same great taste all around.

Frankly, I have to say at $460.00 for the 7 frames I got, I think it’s a waste of money, but I am an informed consumer with experience and this is my 2 cents worth overall.

I think my biggest problem I have is the greed factor Flow Team has regarding the second funding project. To me that is just plain old greed, $12 mil plus wasn’t enough I guess so they had to do it again. First time was understandable and nobody ever thought a thing about them getting so much. Congratulation! but two times that’s just greediness and nothing more. I actually was repulsed to see it advertised. I might be the only one to say it but I’m sure there are others that think the same way i do.


#3

Thanks for your insight Tony, I do agree that from a commercial perspective its a hard sell. But also realise that the commercial beekeeper is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on capital equipment and there is a need to work fast and keep their overheads low.
For a hobbyist beekeeper, its brilliant and the savings on extraction & processing equipment, real estate for the processing and storage are totally worth it.
As for greed, I disagree. This system was 10 years in development, thousands of dollars of prototyping over that time, they now have 30 odd staff to manage to keep the business afloat. These people need a wage to feed their families and its small business in our first world countries that now sustain all the little towns around the country.


#4

Rod,

I’m with you on this Flow-Hive ! Yip ! It ain’t cheep but I’ve never seen any new product cheap. As for commercial application … It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize commercial app is way too expensive n often slow draining if temps are low ! That’s really a No Brainer !

For now I’d say Flow-Hives are for the small bee yards n hobbyist ! I think the Flow-hive n frames has revitalized a healthy hobbyist interest (good or Bad)… It helped pulled this 70 year old back into the hobby so I’d say from my point view it’s not BAD !

First I wanted bees back in my life as my fruit trees, berries n veggie were suffering from lack of pollinators. I have one Full Flow-hive n three conventuals 10 frame Langstroth hives n couple 5 frame Nuc’s. My plan is to one by one convert the other 10 frame standard hives over to 7 frame Flows. Yes, it’s a wash almost but I can’t afford or have a place for a extractor room or building. Plus new stainless extractors, strainers n more aren’t exactly cheap n require more storage space which I lack.

For me ! A hobbyist … Flow-hives are not over the edge price wise … Of course if prices dropped it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I’m only human.

Cheerio !
Gerald


#5

Hi Gerald, I have watched your little apiary grow over the past year and I do enjoy your selfies along the way. I find it intriguing the way this little invention has created a worldwide community of beekeepers and along the way a number of friendships too. You can’t put a money value on the positive mental health this brings to peoples lives…


#6

Rod,

I agree it has infused n excited a whole new group of bee enthusiasts. There will always bee fall-outs…

Flow has for the moment (not without issues or problems) has provided a avenue n forum for many of us to build beekeeping friendships ( that’s great ) !!

I enjoy seeing the many vids, articles, pix’s, n more from so many contributors around the globe… This is awesome n priceless !

Today I’ve been analyzing my hives. I did mite treatments on our Monday n glad I did. My experience is limited with mites as we didn’t have this issue back in the 1950’s n 60’s when I was teen beekeeper. It’s been a fast learning curve around here for this ole man :sunglasses:


Take care bro !


#7

Mites! … = Yikes! … we have a pretty hard time dealing with beetles over here and on a more serious note AFB. Hives all around my area are being hit hard withe the disease and since we are not permitted to treat the only course of action is to exterminate the whole hive. I can’t imagine how that would make you feel when so much emotional investment goes into this passion. I have half a dozen hives in my backyard and several more scattered around the suburb so if I was to lose one I have a few more from which to build a new colony from…


#8

Local beekeeping clubs have been hiring out extraction equipment to backyard beekeepers for a nominal fee (many free to members) for decades, this solves both the cost and storage issues you raise.

I agree with OP, for commercial outfits with the economy of scale and the benefits of tools such as chain uncappers and large scale extractors etc. I can’t see how the flow would have a chance with regard to speed or efficiency in extraction. I also don’t think you’d find too many commercial guys keen on leaving flow frames out in the open either due to the likelihood of theft.


#9

Hey Rod,

Yah ! At this point mites, few pesty tiny sugar ants n occasionally wax moths ( but they seem to be only below the SBB screen if n when I find them)… My dad lost my teen apiary I think to AFB while I was in Vietnam.

When I returned the hives had been burnt up. So thus the long delay at getting back into beekeeping.

Even with the challenge of many issues n problems I’m still excited to be back into beekeeping… Nitie nite from up North !

Gerald


#10

Great Photo Gerry, I have never seen anyone that happy to go to war :grin:, glad you made it home safely.


#11

Rod,

This was a pix to my fiancé back home. My job was fueling small fixed winged aircraft n choppers. Our large base @ Qui Nhon was only hit directly a few times during my year in Nam. Not the bush wacking combat in the streamy jungles of many close friends.

The only combat I saw was flying in the back seat of a few Obs Bird-dog tail dragger planes. We got hit a few times in our missions but patched the holes with duct tape @ smaller highland dirt airfield…

My experience wasn’t totally bad like my younger brother or other friends. If n when I got time off I volenteer to work at the local Catholic orphanage or Christian church in the city.

So that’s why most of my Nam pix’s don’t have lone far-off looks. We had our good times n bummer time. We made the most we could when things were not so good. I remember fueling several Assie n New Zealand aircraft that needed fuel as they passed thru on some mission up in the Highland jungles or up the coast line at times.

Enough about old times for now. I have an adopted Vietnamese daughter n grandaughter. I speak broken Vietnamese n teach ESL classes in a Vietnamese language one night a week six months out of the year in Seattle. I do keep busy.

Getting time for bed up here State-side,
Gerald


#12

I think the type of “Commercial Operation” matters when evaluating whether the flow hive frames are a benefit or not. Is it a pollination service, fixed land beekeeping, honey or breeding or packaged bees.

To get the full benefit of the Flow Hive and its unique extracting method, a commercial fixed land honey operation would have to do more than just use the same management processes. More than shlepping honey supers around and spinning frames. How many employees are used for that process and their wage costs, for example. What about setting it up to use a pipe/manifold and extract from mulitple hives at once?

The bees are definitely going to be less stressed with a Flow Hive extraction method, and perhaps better able to resist pests and disease?

And I disagree about the ‘greed’ factor description. Actually, I think it is a very clever way to reach the North American marketplace. Just how else would Flow do it? Open up distributors in the US? Sell it through Costco or Walmart? Direct marketing thru Indigogo is perfect. I am just bummed I could not get a great deal on cedar in Australia…


#13

Not sure how strong gravity is where you are, but it’s not just a matter of plumbing in some pipes to the hives and having a bottling tank at the end. If the honey has to travel any distance it will need to be pumped, if it needs to be pumped you need to take this into account viscosity which is often why commercial operations heat honey. If you are pressurising the system you need to ensure this pressure doesn’t work it’s way back into the frame, and there is also an amount of mechanical effort required to open a flow frame that hasn’t been effectively automated.

If you used fixed plumbing to your supers how do you plan to inspect the brood without disassembling it first?

The flow frame has no real place in the process of queen breeding, creating bees for packaging or pollination, not sure why you’ve mentioned that.


#14

I don’t see them as commercial equipment due to cost and time. However, as I have posted in other threads, if bees are your hobby you are not just producing honey but maintaining sanity.

Cheers
Rob.


#15

Yes, they are expensive.

Were you doing one frame at a time on the flow hive? If I were attempting it commercially I’d have enough buckets and tubes to stay busy at it and I’m sure I could keep up with the speed of extraction.

I thought it was noticeably better. But then I notice the difference between cappings and extraction, “crush and strain” and extraction, and definitely comb honey and extracted. That wonderful smell you have in the honey house when extracting is lost flavor and aroma.

I don’t know anything about this. Where?


#16

here you go @Gerald_Nickel


#17

The Ballad of the Green Beret … Should have been on this list. And couple more. Some of these are okay but guessing this list wasn’t done by a actual Vn vet ! :wink::+1:. Bobby … I’m listening to them now … Cám ơn nhiều ! Thankz Bobby ! Qui Nhon n Central Highland Vietnam 1966-67

. my lovely grandaughter n hubby on their wedding day.

Cheers,
Jerry


#18

I’m the proud grandpa ( ong ngoai )…

. The last pix is me ( grandparent in mom’s side in red n only grandparent (grandma) on dad’s side ( ba noi )…


#19

@Gerald_Nickel Lovely family!
My dad, a Viet Nam vet, posted that page to his Facebook wall. Something about the list rang true with him to be certain :slight_smile:

The realest thing I remember was his reel-to-reel.


#20

Yah Bobby, most of us brought back cameras, reel to reels, Seko watches, short-timer sticks n memories (good n bad)… Lots of my buddies n Vn friends are going back to visit n put things to rest. I’ve got most of my adopted Vn family here so I’m happy either way.


#21

I feel like I’m in the middle of a private chat, is this the intended audience? :confused: