The plastic used for the frames

Hi there,

I’m awaiting my Flow Hive like most others here, and doing a bit of research while I wait. I was wondering if anyone has some good insight into the plastic used in the Flow frames?

The FAQ section says the Flow frames are made from “high quality, food-grade, BPA-free plastic”, but what does this actually mean? Are there any potential problems?

I’ve heard criticisms that “the Flow Hive forces bees to deal with hormone-disrupting plastics that off-gas” - any truth to this at all?

I’m interested in finding out more about the plastic, as of course it’s an important part of the set-up, and better knowledge can lead to better strategies and solutions.


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I understand your concern about plastics, there is a bit of an excess of it on our planet.
We have done our best to choose the best plastic we can find for the job. No other materials would quite work so well for creating honey comb than plastic.

As for the leaching, I suppose it is a possibility and there is always new information coming out. When you think about all the other plastics; we transport our water in plastic pipes, package our food, buy drinks, live in houses, wear clothes all made out of plastics. There has been plastic foundation used in beehives for the past 30 years or so as well. It is hard to avoid.

I’ve done a little bit of research into the different kinds of plastics, there are some plastics that are generally considered safe and have been used for food storage for many years, it is one of these plastics we will use.

I will try to find out the exact type of plastic we are using.

I think some people will always be anti plastic, I am of the opinion that we use it in certain places where it is necessary or where we can make some really cool things out of it. A lot of peoples weekly grocery shop would contain almost as much plastic as is in a flow frame, which seems an insane waste of a very useful resource.

I look forward to hearing other opinions too.


Thanks, Jake. Looking forward to hearing from you on the exact type of plastic being used in the frames. Hopefully this will alleviate any concerns some might have.

Joe from Texas here. I know in some parts of our state where the nectar flow comes in quickly and heavy that the bees will readily pull comb on plastic foundation. In other parts where the flow is slower and more even throughout the summer, such as where I am, the bees seem very resistant to use plastic foundation. Is there any comparison with this in Australia or info on this phenomenon?


Just to clarify - and as Jake has already understood - I was mainly concerned with whether the plastic of the frames is going to affect the quality of the honey in any way, as the honey is stored in them for quite a time.

If the plastic is of a type that doesn’t affect the ‘health’ of the honey in any way, then it’s probably a safe bet to say that it’s not going to affect the health of the bees either, which is good.

There are all sorts of plastics out there, so some clarification on just how ‘food safe’ the Flow frame plastic is, would be good.

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How many different types of plastics are used in the Flow Hive? And what are they?

The Forum Search feature is useful to find other related discussions. For instance this thread: Honey taste and Flavors seems to answer the questions here.


We have worked hard to find the very best food grade materials.

The clear viewing ends of the frames are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufactures have assured us that it’s not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured with bisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds. The manufactures also say that third-party labs have tested this material and the results have demonstrated that it is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity.

The Center frame parts are made from a Virgin Food grade Polypropylene which is also free from any Bisphenol compounds and is widely accepted as one of the safest plastics for food contact. It has also been used for many years in beehives for both Brood and Honey combs.

We will keep you informed if we have to use any different materials.

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Thanks, Jake.

Great to hear that the viewing ends are confirmed as free of estrogenic and androgenic activity, as that’s the important thing I think (a quick search of the internet reveals that being BPA-free doesn’t necessarily mean free of estrogenic and androgenic activity).

Have the centre frame parts also been tested for estrogenic and androgenic activity? It would be good to know that as well.

I feel it’s worth noting at this point that the following seems obvious: producing honey in Flow Frames will without a doubt be vastly superior to commercial honey production, which uses a wide range of plastics at various points in the process, often including at the consumption end as well. And of course, as Jake points out in his first reply in this thread, we all buy all sorts of food in all sorts of plastic containers every week, where most of those plastics are produced very cheaply. So I certainly don’t want to nit-pick this plastics point. However, at this early stage in a product (the Flow Hive) that’s about to head out across the world, and as there are plastics (and plastic substitutes) around that are confirmed as free of estrogenic and androgenic activity, it’d be well worth making sure the right types are being used.

I will have to get back to you on the Polypropylene. I know it has been used for a long time in food storage containers and that this has been an issue that Cedar and Stu have looked at closely to make sure we are using the best food safe plastics possible.

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Cedar and Stu had already asked about the polypropylene and the factory confirmed it was free from Bisphenol compounds. I edited my original post.

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Hi, it looks like a great idea, but I would like to know if the honey coming from the hives has been tested for contamination, since whomever makes the plastic can say that they check it,…but in “experimental conditions” and not under sun exposure and high temperatures. Is the honey coming from the hive been tested for chemicals that should not be in the honey? Thanks for your time.

There are some useful guidance on the plastic used in the hives here =>

Also, you may find a lot of honey bought today has been either created in plastic hives or on plastic frames, its use is pretty widespread and has been for sometime.


Hi @sharoncs, Sorry but we haven’t tested the honey. We are working off the assumption that the plastics we are using have been used with beehives and for many other food containers for many years and are deemed safe. Inside a bee hive the bees keep the hive at a fairly constant temperature and the frames aren’t exposed to the sun, so the plastic is in a fairly stable environment.

Is there any information on where the plastic base stock used in the moulding process is produced? Is it made in Australia or is it coming in from overseas?

Hi @KCpaul, to be honest I’m not sure as I haven’t had much to do with all the details of the manufacturing. I know they are using virgin food grade plastics and that for @Cedar and @Stu_Anderson using sustainable, ethical and safe products is one of their primary concerns. Hopefully I or one of our team can get back to you more details.

Just a concerned thought. I am
seriously considering buying your Flow-hive super to offset the price of extractor equipment for at least one hive. I am building 10 frame for standard Langstroth brood boxes presently. I am
returnung to the beekeeping venture now I am nearing retirement. I was a young aparist 55 years ago in Jr n Sr High school n loved the sweet hobby/project.

World wide it is being recommended to help prevent disease n possible pesticides n pollutants buildup we replace our wood n wax frames n plastic type frames n foundations. They are recommending cycling frame out of use in about every 3 to 5 years. What is suppose to be the life of each Flow-Frames. Whats your thoughts on this rational n will we need to do likewise with Flow-Frames as well when I invest.

I can’t speak for flow frames but you don’t need to replace honey frames anywhere near as frequently as brood frames which should be every two or three years. I artificially swarm my colonies then usually re-unite before the summer flow but definitely before the winter. The AS gives me a whole box of new comb.

I replace my honey frame wax every 3 years or so. Anything porous absorbs that which the bees carry back on their feet (the good and the bad) and the comb turns dark/nasty looking.
A lot of those frames that I remove don’t get destroyed. I spray them with BT so the wax moths do not destroy them, label them as such, and place them in swarm traps throughout my area. Swarms love old comb.

Thanks Honeyflow n everyone,

This exchange n notes are a good thing. This is how n why we can get best n safest products ever.

It’s been years (55 of them) since I last pulled a frame but do remember the dark ones even then. A lot of water has run under the bridge since those days … We lived with high forest around our little farm n orchard. Things have changed n so must we. I am looking forward to rejoining the small army of beekeeper moving on n research new n safer means to raise bees n continue to provide tasty safe honey.