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I've got the same question - thread was started many years ago, so I was expecting to get to the end and see how wonderful this Flow product is after a couple years of beeks learning to use it.... and there's not much I can find.

Still, acknowledging that change can be hard, and slow... I wanted to jump in here and ask: does that link (to previous posts in this thread) still represent the extent of the success stories with Flow?
The guys who developed it seemed to have overwhelming success.
 

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The guys who developed it seemed to have overwhelming success.
Thanks Daniel, I did notice that. But as we all know, business success is only loosely correlated with a good product, if at all. That only means the marketing dept is doing a good job.

EDIT: did you mean to phrase your comment in the past tense?
 

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Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if this topic still comes up a lot? Otherwise this post remaining stickied implies endorsement by beesource. At least as a new user, I took it that way.
 

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I had success but may not use them anymore.

I threw one Flow on one hive this year just because I was out of equipment. They filled it and it's half capped. So yeah, it works. But so does regular equipment.

There are really only two small problems I see. One is that if you have several hives it's just easier to use a regular extractor, and cheaper too. The other is that, you don't build your supply of empty drawn comb that you can later put into brood boxes to prevent swarming, or into a new split to get the queen off to a fast start. Traditional extraction with a spinner does give you that precious empty drawn comb.

After all the hype and all the agitated detractors, I'd say that's all it amounts to. It works. It's expensive. It's for people with just a couple hives.

I think that's the reason for the silence. It's not that it's flawed and people failed with it, it's just that the whole idea is kind of ... meh. It's an OK solution to a beekeeper's smallest problem. If it prevented swarms or killed varroa there'd be a post in this thread every day.

But fwiw, it does work. It works exactly like they say it will.
 

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I own two Flow Hives and I mostly agree with the above post.

I bought my first one direct from their crowd funding campaign, but I sold that when I almost gave up. Then bought again - a discounted one from their website and the next one was second hand - some one bought one and never opened the box.

Short story: they do work with some caveats and make extraction easier and less messy. But if I had to start again with the knowledge I now have, I would not buy again.

Long story: I am very disappointed with their workmanship and quality control. I have a shed load of parts that had to be replaced or repaired - leaking roofs, brood and super boxes that were poorly machined, queen excluders that fail within a year, bottom boards poorly assembled that I had to try and fix, and pretty much every Flow frame came with incorrect wire tension resulting in honey leaks. I went through a few disastrous honey leaks, flooding the brood chamber. Another Flow frame had to be replaced entirely because it was defective. Quality control is shockingly poor though others weren’t as unlucky as me apparently. To make up for it, their customer service is responsive and generally replace stuff. One super had to be replaced three times, which is mind-blowing. No wonder they cost so much, they have to cover the costs of all the replacements.

Try to find some genuine reviews and you struggle. On their own website, they only publish the 5 star reviews last time I checked. I left a 3-star review myself after the super debacle that had to be replaced three times, and they never published that. I also have very strong suspicions that they enter into agreements with celebrity beekeepers, giving them free hives for the exchange of glowing reviews and endors. Recently I also saw some other celebrities like David Beckham featured assembling a Flow Hive on UK papers - obviously a marketing stunt. This annoys me.

Their save the bees mantra and marketing seem to target naive world-saving-do-gooders with good intentions and zero beekeeping experience, and not enough understanding of what it takes to keep and manage bees long term. To their credit they are now encouraging taking beekeeping courses and are monetising that themselves by selling online courses. But still if you look at their website it still largely looks like a really easy gig - plop a beehive in the backyard and turn a tap for honey. Just had a look at the aussie website - there are photos of young girls with a lot of exposed skin harvesting honey from hives which are obviously misleadingly bee-less (you can see that from the lack of bees on the honey frames seen through the open side windows. It is deceiving marketing and annoys me no end. Their claim that you do not disturb the bees is bull crap and grossly misleading.

Also, check the prices of the individual components and compare with your local bee store. Excluding the plastic flow frames themselves, some standard Langstroth Flow branded parts are between twice and four times the price of regular kit, especially when including the unavoidable postage.


Then on the other side of the story, I recently joined their online forum and although I found it boring and not very active, there are people that are obviously happy with their purchase. Personally I started out liking the hives and the company ethos behind them but over the years I grew more sceptical.

People will keep buying them as long as they keep up their cunning marketing plan.
 

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I bought two Flow hives at the beginning. This year was the first year I convinced the bees to really start working a Flow hive. I harvested 22 pounds. The colony was a newly installed swarm, so they did their best. It was a lot of fun. I found that that the bees were not greatly disturbed. There was an increase in activity inside the hives as the frames were cracked. I only cracked 5 columns or so at a time. No overflow problems. I haven't seen any quality issues, though. They have been used five seasons so far, but only two harvests to speak of.

That being said, they are too expensive in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend them, unless someone just wants a cool toy to play with. If you can find them 50+% off they might be worth it.
 
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