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Hello I live in Sydney Australia and been using a Flow Hive for the past few years. It has given me endless grief and didn’t perform as I expected or advertised, so this season I’ve decided to cut my losses and ditch it and start over with standard hives instead.

I will be splitting the brood box into two. They do not have a heaps of honey or nectar in the wooden frames, but the plastic flow frames are about 40% full. I cannot use the flow frames in a langstroth b.box because they do not fit. What is the best way around this? Feed them plenty of sugar syrup until they build some stores, or try to extract the honey from the flow frames and split it between the two. The flow frames are very stuck and not easy to crack open. If I manage to get the honey out, what is the best way to feed it to the bees?

Buying a flow hive was a very big and costly mistake.
 

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Hi there Andy. Yeah, buying flow hives was my biggest beekeeping mistake I did so far. I have two that I’l be by trying to get rid of later this season.

Are your flow frames propoilised? Flow only supply one key, but two are better to crack them open. Buying another key you’ll have to fork out more than what it costs in shipping from Flow. Maybe you can try to warm up the frames and see whether they give. I think if you can feed them back their own honey it is always better than sugar.

I am in a similar conundrum. I have two FHs that I want to transfer into long hives. As you say I can’t use the honey frames because they do not fit in standard equipment so I will be extracting the honey and put it in a rapid feeder. I think it can be diluted a bit too.

In the past week or so I came across another member here saying they are getting rid of FHs, and a wife work colleague is also switching to standard hives. Judging by the attitude of their rep on the Flow forum, they are definitely becoming ****y and getting ahead of themselves.
 

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I have turned several of my customer's Flowhives into standard hives. The brood chamber and frames are standard size. When I started them at their insistence, I chucked the foundationless frames and used worker foundation in the brood chamber. After they came around to realizing the Flow hives did not fit well into the apiary practices, I was able to sell the Flow supers for about $250 US each.
 

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Their supers are ‘standard' too but their frame supports are not. I asked Flow how to cycle old frames out of their b.boxes and told me to place them in the roof cavity until the brood emerged. I had ditched the Flow roof because it wasn’t rain proof. I got it back into service and tried to do as they suggested one frame at a time. The bees decided to build comb around the frame I placed in the roof and filled it with honey. I ended with a bigger mess than the one I tried to solve. I don’t know how many Flow users manage their hives properly but I really find it challenging. They did try to be helpful when I email, but they never acknowledge the problems and limitations of the design. There's no problem that a bit of marketing can't solve.

We know one lady with a Flow hive she bought years ago and she never ever opened the hive to inspect. Not once. Now she stopped harvesting honey because the flow frames are mouldy and disgusting. I know others that do manage to make it work but usually because they have other traditional hives and the Flow H is just the novelty hive on show.

I should have listened to the advice experienced beekeepers gave me.

Regarding feeding the honey back, I looked up rapid feeders and wonder whether a small poultry feeder will work just as well. Was going to place it inside an empty super.

Honeyeater, my frames always been hard to crack open, maybe my bees like to propolize them, but I do feel like they will eventually break sooner rather than later with the amount of force the need to open. When they open, they keep leaking for weeks afterwards. Flow supplied one key and am not buying any more.
 

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Sorry about your bad experience. I passed on the Flow Hive -- figured it would be far more trouble than it was worth.

You can feed the honey back with any in-hive feeder. DO NOT feed it in the open anywhere near the hives (and I won't EVER feed honey in the open, even half a mile away‚ bad mojo....). Open honey near the hive will result in a feeding frenzy with bees from every hive within flight distance fighting over it, and usually results in your hives being attacked too. If you have weak ones, the bees will be killed and all the honey stolen. Not a good deal.

I like the four gallon hive top feeders, but a chicken waterer inside a closed (no upper entrance) box will work. Just make sure bees can't get in without going through the normal entrance or you risk a robbing frenzy.
 
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