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I know the Flow team is working round-the-clock to keep up with customer inquiries. I just figured I'd do my part here on Beesource since I'm not sure if any of them monitor it! I can tell you from communication with them that resolving any issues you're having is of utmost importance!

Best,
Matt
 

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1. Buy the box with the frames. Even with a shop and tools (and help) it was a full day of modifications and a trip to a big box store and the robotics lab to acquire the parts to finish the box. Make your life easier - just buy the box.

2. The flow arrived in June, just after the nectar flow stopped. I took my time with the box, and paint, and took the entire set to the local beekeepers meeting so they could get a look at it. It finally went on the hive around Labor Day to catch the fall nectar flow. I could see bees up in the box checking it out within minutes. The Flow went on the strongest of 7 hives, one that had been in existance for three years. Honey had already been pulled from hives at this point, with two medium boxes of honey on top of the three brood boxes still in place.

3. I have been in the hive to inspect a couple of times, and each time found 100+/- bees in the Flow, but no nectar. I was asked to take the Flow to the Beekeepers annual dinner last night. I went to inspect the box, and found that the bees had completed the cell seams with propolis. I could not get the frames into the open position. I tried for about 45 minutes to use the key to manipulate the frames. No success; the frames are locked tight with propolis. I finally took the box off the hive to work on it (didn't want to be late for dinner!), and took it to the meeting. I have asked FLOW HIVE for comment on how to get the frames open. The bees put no nectar in the 6 frames. I don't want to force the frames to the point of breaking. I'll let you know what FLOW has to say. To say that I'm frustrated with the product is an understatement. Pics soon.

4. The good news for the season: 245 lbs of honey from three hives, on top of 40-60 lbs left on each hive - with standard equipment.
Flow Propolis.jpg Flow Propolis 2.jpg
 

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^About there, Betty. From oberservation of hives, bees don't put honey where they have propolis. My concerns are less with getting the frames open than with the bees putting nectar in the frames.
 

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You need to post this in the flow hive forums. Flow hive has their own forums set up on their site. The People from flow hive aren't checking this forum. I posted my issue there and they got involved quickly.
 

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You need to post this in the flow hive forums.
Actually not. Barry allowed this thread specifically for these types of first hand accounts.
 

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Agree, sorry bout that.
 

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Fivekai,
I did post directly to Flow Forum. It does not allow pictures, so I put them here. This forum is larger, with a more diverse audience that might not be on Flow.

As an update, I took the Flow out of my trunk this morning, and it was about 40^F. I was able to break the frame apart two sections at a time. The propolis is brittle at this temp. So... the frames can be opened, but will the bees put nectar where the cells have been sealed with propolis?

Strips of propolis on the counter. IMG_0200.jpg
 

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I meant the flow hive forum on the flow hive website.
But what Jim said still needs to be stressed. People from this forum need to post their experience here, not be sent to another forum to post. I don't follow what is going on there. So Native Plants, keep us updated!
 

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My experiance tells me bees use se propolis for more permanent modifications such as closing unwanted openings and gluing frames together and when we remove propolis it is repropolized. I wonder out loud if the frames were beeswax coated if that would change their perception
 

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I posted on The facebook group above, and the other Flow facebook group. Have not heard from a Flow representative, but have found several other Flow owners with this problem of propolis in the cell seams. I wonder if this is a difference of continent or bee type.
 

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So i got my replacement wood and besides the pilot holes missing on one and not drilled all the way through on another shingle the quality of the wood looks much better.

besides the replacement parts for my flow hive i also placed an order with bee thinking for the following......
2 deeps, the quality looks good
1 top round feeder, this arrived broken.

here we go again send pics and wait for replacement.

thats 2 shipments i get with an issue from this company.
 

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Just got off a half-hour Skype with Cedar and Stewart. Seriously. They have a real interest in my experience, and offered suggestions for next spring. It does not make sense for me to keep the empty Flow on the hive for the winter as we will not have more nectar flow until then. There is learning on both ends as I describe the nectar flow in the Mid-Atlantic, and they give me help with the frames. Playing with the frames I am learning about small engineering parts - such as you can't put the top cap in unless the sections are closed. In other words, you can't put the open cells back in the hive, and just draining down. The cap will only fit when closed. I learned this while trying to put the frame back in the box mistakenly open. I'm very happy with the sharing of ideas, help, and willingness to listen.
 

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Flow Hive Experience - So Far

Quick note of my experience so far with the Flow Hive.

I currently have 8 hives including the 1 Flow Hive. I expect with splits and other hives I will add by the end of the year, I will have 25 - 30 hives.

I purchased a Flow Hive Supper when the Kick Starter Campaign was in process. My intent was to use this on an experimental bases to see how it would compare to my other hives on honey production. From a cost point of view, it is too costly for commercial use but potentially could be good for a back yard setup with no more than 1 or 2 hives. I finally received it back in late February.

Back in November 2015 I purhcased 2 Nucs from a local beekeeper and put them in 8 frame deeps. One was a little stronger than the other. I added a medium supper to the stronger back in early March. Since I had just received my Flow Hive a week earlier I was too busy to put it together and setup to use on the stronger Nuc so I had to wait until late March(actually April 1st) when the other hive was strong enough to add a super. 2 days later I added a QE.

Here are my results so far.

End of Week 1 - The Flow Hive makes a pretty good SHB Hotel It was crawling in large numbers of SHB's. Bees were actively playing hide and seek with the SHB's in the Flow Hive cells. I considered pulling it off at this point, but since there were no SHB's in the lower deep, I decided to leave it on. Already had a SHB trap in the main hive along with a beetle barn. So I added another beetle trap to the flow hive and left it in place and went on vacation.

End of Week 2 - Thought for sure I would be removing the flow hive. To my surprise, it looked like the bees had gotten the SHB issue under better control. There are still SHB's, but not in such large numbers. Traps were empty and the bees had started filling the middle of the 2 inner frames. Must have been a large emergence of bees during the week. The hive population was noticeably larger from the prior week in the deep and the number of bees working in the flow hive was also much larger.

I usually only inspect a hive every other week, but in the case of the Flow Hive, I will be doing it weekly until I am confident it will work out. Other than the issue with the SHB's, I wouldn't think that there would be any difference in what to expect with the rest of the hive. However, due diligence is in order at this point.
 

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Re: Flow Hive Experience - So Far

I suspect many frustrated people who find out their Flow frames are actually propolis traps. Seeing the pictures it was my first thought, that the bees will fill the gaps with propolis. And now having seen the frames first hand (someone I know bought one), I cringed a little...
 
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