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Stuart Anderson Skyped our Bee Society


Last night we had a good discussion via Skype with Stuart Anderson about the flow hive. Stuart was great and very patient- the first questioner took him to task about his ‘non-performing flow hive’. Apparently this fellow has a double brood box hive with 'at least 80,000 bees in it- and after 6 Queen changes (!!!) not a drop of honey. He also claimed he had ‘multiple’ friends with similar bad experiences. If you ask me he seemed determined to fail… then there was a question about Flow and the ‘christmas puppy’ syndrome which Stuart also handled thoughtfully. Questions about AFB and irradiation- and other depressing topics followed…

At the end I pitched in just to briefly state that I have 6 flow hives and they all preformed well :wink: I thought little balance was called for.

anyhows- I just want to send out a thanks to Stuart - he was very gracious and patient in front of a tough audience.

Afterwards I had a lot of people come up and ask me about my hives- and I was happy to explain what we do and how well it is working for us. Funnily enough the ‘6 queen’ fellow didn’t approach me.

6 queens??

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "To change queens once is unfortunate: to change queens 6 times seems like carelessness… "


There will always be detractors, and it sounds like he may have been stretching the truth a little there. I don’t know anyone experienced in beekeeping who would change the queens that often to make their bees go up into a super… What about all the other factors?
Glad to hear you had a good night, most people only know Cedar as the front man of Flow, but Stuart is a genuine character, very funny and very humble.
Geez… with 6 Flow hives, you must be keeping your family well fed with honey.


We are indeed- I estimate average honey consumption has increased by 12 times… I eat it everyday now- a kilo used to last me 6 months or more… and even then there’s masses left over for gifts, barter and sale. We’ve produced over 400 kgs maybe more…

You’d have to think: changing queens 6 times alone would set back a hive massively. What bugged me about it all was how strangely pleased he seemed about his persistent failure…


He was pleased to hang his failure onto the flow hive.
The Andersons would have had to deal with that kind of stupid challenge a lot by now.
Glad they are able to handle it with grace - and move onto flow hive 2.
They have earned their success on all levels I reckon.


I wonder if they really were Flow hives and not a copy?


I think he said he had them from the original campaign. But who knows?


Just need to corner Cedar…
I edited the title for you too semaphore. :wink:


Well I guess its his loss. I am going into my third season and have not had a single issue with the flow frames. I ordered one of the Flow Hive 2’s more for the new base, leveler, etc. I have learned in my 25+ years in the Army Logisitics field that you will never please everyone. Someone will always cry about the food, not being able to get this or that. I would have offered to buy his stuff from him for cheap.

We all know there are times when the bees are going to do what they need to do and maybe not use the flow frames. I can’t imagine a hive having that many bees and not using the flow frames at all. Replacing the queen six times in the same hive?? Sounds like user error to me but who knows.

Glad you got to hear Stuart talk to your bee society. We have a workshop this Saturday. I will probably take one or two of the flow frames with me to show people if they are interested.


Hi Jack, that 80,000 sounds like it could be an over estimate to me. Is that bloke open to suggestions? You have learned a lot since joining this forum, maybe you can help him with a few suggestions that might help him succeed.

It would be silly to be part of a bee club/society & not learn from fellow members.


he says his hive is a double brood and completely packed with bees. I will try and see if I can help him- he already brought up his flow hive issues at another earlier meeting and I tried to talk to him about it after. He didn’t seem that interested in discussing it with me- not nearly so much as in telling everyone else how they ‘don’t work’. I showed hm photos of the honey in my flow frames… Even at the meeting on Tuesday everything Stuart suggested he said he had already tried. Stuart was stumped.


That’s strange, considering how much money he paid for it. You’d think that he would gravitate towards you to compare notes, seeing as you own some.

He may have a double brood box, but how many of the frames are being used effectively by the bees? He may effectively have less than one brood box.

If he DOES have 80k bees in the hive, what he could do during a honey flow is to move two flow frames from the center & replace them with two brood frames, then move the remaining flow frames up close to those brood frames. I’m sure that will encourage the bees to start using the flow frames next to the brood frames after those bees emerge.


I am curious to get to the bottom of his issues- and find out what it’s all about. I would quess maybe he has his hive in a bad area for nectar but he says he has other standard hives immediately adjacent and that they are productive. I just can’t understand it- as we have never had a single flow hive not fill with honey. Some have taken longer than others- but in the end the bees always have worked the frames. Most times we haven’t done anything special to encourage them. I think he even said he has tried putting regular frames up there… it didn’t matter what people suggested he always said ‘done it- didn’t work’. I really do wonder if maybe he has fake frames but he says they are genuine…

next meeting I will approach him… but I am surprised he didn’t approach me after the last meeting. As they say: some people just can’t be helped…


Yes I agree Jack. However fake frames are also made of plastic, I guess. I really can’t see that making a difference.

People around my way don’t seem to have any trouble with bees filling the frames, it’s the leaking that seems to cause the most concern.


The fakes I saw had much thicker plastic (3 x ?)- which resulted in a considerably smaller cell size. A person I knew had them in a hive for 8 months and the bees never put a drop of honey in them. He threw them away. I’m not even sure European honeybees could fit into them. Besides that they had other differences/deficiencies- for instance no hole for the bees to empty the bottom channel and slightly too tall for a standard langstroth…


Jack, the cells are drone size. The plastic would need to be VERY thick, in order for the cells to be too small for the bees to fit into. They would have to shrink down to worker size & then shrink down further in order for bees to not fit inside them.

I don’t think that’s the problem.

Is the bloke successful with traditional beekeeping? He may find that traditional beekeeping suits him better. The flow concept doesn’t suit every beekeeper.

It’s like the parable of the blind men & the elephant.