Success with Flow frames that wouldn't open

A client asked me to check his 4 Flow hives that weren’t producing any honey. This bloke is not hands on, so he wasn’t going to physically inspect any frames. He forgot to mention that one of his hives had fallen backwards & was on it’s back on the ground. I found 3 of the 4 hives, including the one on it’s back had almost full Flow supers. Obviously they weren’t draining. He decided for me to take the Flow frames home to harvest on my table.

After cracking the frames a dozen times each with 2 keys, very little honey came out. We, with the client eventually agreed to take them all to my main bee yard for my bees to clean the honey out.

After a frustrating 4-5 hours, which included cleaning rancid honey out of every channel that contained honey, I decided to put my thinking cap on properly. This resulted in me cracking a Flow frame with the 2 keys, except this time I managed to lock the 2 keys together holding the frame in the open position permanently. That applied constant pressure on the moving parts, which actually moved them, resulting in honey flowing, fantastic!!!

I found that after 5-6 minutes I was able to remove the keys without the moving parts springing back. I’m ecstatic at the results.


I WAS ecstatic to see honey flowing after the 4-5 frustrating hours we spent trying to get the honey to flow, while cleaning rancid honey out of some of the troughs.

It took many hours to drain the 20 frames, on account that some of the moving parts wanted to close again. Also the frames wouldn’t stop draining honey. I let them drain into upside down lids propped up on one end. They drained for 24 hours, which would be a result of local winter honey. Luckily with low humidity, the honey didn’t seem to draw water from the air over that time. We spent a LOT of time retrieving the honey that we didn’t charge for. Mainly because I fiddle a bit to get every last drop, to avoid waste.

We got 41.5 kgs of honey from the 20 frames. I was pleased with that on account that some sections wouldn’t open, other sections wouldn’t close previously, resulting in no honey at all, & some outside frames were empty on the out side. Plus a lot of crystallized honey wouldn’t flow out. I put all the honey through my fine bucket strainer to remove all the wax moth debris, ants & other stuff that flowed out.

Sadly the owner wasn’t happy, on account that my fee resulted in the honey costing him $10.00 a kilo to harvest. The whole thing turned sour, resulting in us telling him to never call us again.

He even talked about the option of letting his bees go native. We told him that he probably meant feral, & that was one of the early criticisms of the Flow hive in the beginning.

PS. Wilma just said “did you tell em about the ants nests in the key ways because the caps were left off”. “Did you tell em about all the rancid honey I cleaned out of the troughs because they’d been neglected, & didn’t get paid for.” “He came up & had a look, & didn’t offer or bother to help”. “He walked away & left us to it, & then got upset, even though we only charged him for half the labor”. “What a creep, what a horrible man”. “he’s a nightmare, he didn’t show any gratitude, at all” …“ahhhhhh”… “He’s worse than a bee sting” “hehehehe”.

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Way nicer to get stung by bees than by a person who is just a taker! Anyway it was an admirable salvage job, Jeff.


I agree Eva, & thank you. This was our brush with infamy. I had the impression that he was a taker before I met him. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, however he showed his true colors.