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Author Topic: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat  (Read 5127 times)

Offline Boarbuster

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Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« on: September 05, 2018, 11:09:59 am »
Hi Flow Hive Users-
I would be interested to learn how many of you actually use the original and how many use the Chinese copycat?
Who may have experiences with both?
There is not too much info out there comparing both. I could only find the video below.
Those of you using the Chinese version: what are your experiences with its functionality?
Thx.
J.




Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 05:51:17 pm »
I've only had the original.  It works as expected.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 08:23:36 pm »
I have the original. I was given it because the original owner could not get the bees to fill it. Every time I got the bees to start filling the flow hive, they would swarm. I re waxed the frames and they partially filled most of the frames. When I harvested the honey, it was at 16%, very thick.
Jim

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2018, 08:39:51 am »
I have read unbiased reviews that the copy does not measure up to the original.
Brian Cardinal
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Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 07:32:31 pm »
Ace how do you know unbiased?  I imagine you are talking about folks you know, is that correct?  I have zero experience with flow hives.

Any of you folks impressed with these flow hives, original or Chinese?

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2018, 12:23:57 am »
I would not buy one. For one thing, the queens lay drone brood in the flow cells. Definitely not what I was expecting. I read that it was designed so that the queen would not lay in it.
Jim

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2018, 08:18:09 am »
Ace how do you know unbiased?

It was a youtube vid not presented as a sales pitch.  I have 30 years experience with mechanical mechanisms and could concur with the issues that were reported.  I do not have either but would be willing to try a flow hive if someone is unhappy with it.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2018, 10:55:47 am »
>Any of you folks impressed with these flow hives, original or Chinese?

I've had good luck with them, but I didn't buy them.  For a hobbiest with some money to spend and only a couple of hives it might be the best choice.  I already own an extractor.  I still use the flow hive supers first when going for honey.  I can harvest without any cleanup involved.  Very nice.

http://bushfarms.com/images/flowhivesixway.jpg
http://bushfarms.com/images/threeflowhives.jpg
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 09:14:02 pm »
Ace{I have 30 years experience with mechanical mechanisms and could concur with the issues that were reported.} I believe you, buddy as you occasionally mention complicated stuff that is above my level.

Bush, thank you for your assessment of the flow hive.  I have heard the good and the bad.
Blessings

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 09:31:40 pm »
Ace{I have 30 years experience with mechanical mechanisms and could concur with the issues that were reported.} I believe you, buddy as you occasionally mention complicated stuff that is above my level.

Bush, thank you for your assessment of the flow hive.  I have heard the good and the bad.
Blessings

Mr Van, Its good that you had your hives strapped or else you might have several "flow hives". J/k 😁   I'm just glad things were no worse than they were. 

Offline psyched123

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2019, 11:23:08 pm »
I did a head-to-head comparison of several of the original Flow supers with several Chinese copies.  I found no difference in bee acceptance or ease of use.  Both worked equally well and I ended up with over 250lbs of honey from them.  I found the Chinese frames to be just as well made and work just as well and are about 1/5 the price.  I made a Youtube video of this experience: 

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2019, 06:50:04 am »
Welcome to Beemaster Psych.
Thanks for sharing that video.
Jim Altmiller

Offline incognito

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2019, 12:08:45 pm »
Psych,
My son has the flow hive and you addressed the reality of the extraction process - open honey, robbing, dripping, time.
Is the tubing food grade?

Do you have two flow supers on the hive during peak nectar flow or is one enough? One flow super was enough to collect from for the first year. We used a regular second super for the bees to store honey to winter over with.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 05:53:08 pm by incognito »
Tom

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2019, 05:46:03 pm »
Thanks for the video psyched.  Have you had an issue if the bees do not completely fill the frames?
Oh are you using a queen excluder?
Brian Cardinal
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Offline incognito

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2019, 06:31:33 pm »
Ace,
I do not have as much experience as others. This is our first season.

My son put a second regular medium super under his flow super when the flow frames were at say 3/4 filled. He extracted one middle flow frame in August then extracted whatever was there for the last time in mid to late September when he removed the flow frames for the winter and began fall feeding with a frame feeder in that hive. He extracted the honey inside the house when he removed the flow frames for the winter. Not all of the flow frames were fully filled.

The flow frames were replaced with whatever regular deep honey/syrup frames he had from a hive he split from the flow hive earlier in the season. Those outside replacement frames were not fully drawn or filled.

Against my protests, he left the flow frames on a table a few feet from his hives (and mine) for all the neighborhood bees to enjoy and clean up after extraction. The bees did an excellent job cleaning up the frames. I wanted him to put the flow frames out a few miles away from my hive for the clean up but he wanted his bees to get some of the benefit of the honey.

He used a queen excluder below the flow frames. The excluder was removed from the hive when he started fall feeding.
Tom

Offline rgennaro

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2019, 07:19:19 pm »
I know the original post was about comparing the original vs the Chinese copy flow hive, but while we are at it... any issue with extraction in cold Weather areas such as the northeast? I heard that people have a hard time getting the flow hive to actually flow because the honey is thick in cold weather areas ... but that seems a strange reasoning to me ... the honey should be at hive temperature first of all and moreover most of the extraction is done before cold weather sets in ...

Offline incognito

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2019, 07:22:40 pm »
Or take the frames inside if you are not a commercial beek with a large scale operation.
Tom

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2019, 08:59:55 am »
Honey flows at all temperatures it just takes longer.  Hive temperatures vary greatly from the cluster to the honey supers in cold weather.  If you were to extract the honey in the cold you would eliminate the issue of bee getting into open jars but then what?  Restructuring the hive in cold weather is not advised.  Only done when you are forced to.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2019, 09:10:01 am »
Tom, why not put a shim on top of your cover and place the box of frames over the feeder hole?  That way you are feeding the bees that made that honey and no worries of spreading disease.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline incognito

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2019, 11:04:54 am »
Tom, why not put a shim on top of your cover and place the box of frames over the feeder hole?  That way you are feeding the bees that made that honey and no worries of spreading disease.
Help me understand.
Are you saying that the bees would not view the frames above the inner cover as part of the hive and would take from the frames but not store anything new there? Why do I need the shim?
Tom

Offline Acebird

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2019, 06:06:40 pm »
Yes.  Especially when they know they cannot access it through winter.  You also mentioned you have empty frames below the cover for them to put the honey.
You have a raised lip on your feeder hole so you have to shim to that height to prevent the frames from hitting it.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2019, 02:50:06 pm »
If the copycat flow frames are reasonably workable,
                         - has anyone had them for several years?  Does the plastic begin to degrade/crumble, or, not cells line up after the lever moves back the cells?
                          - what brand was purchased? There are many sold through amazon and ebay, but the real manufacturer is unclear.
                         

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2019, 08:09:52 pm »
Ok, so they may work the same but....
Firstly, Fake Flow frames are an infringement on copyright. Typically Chinese and if it was a patented American invention you?d be up in arms...
Secondly if you think the cheap fakes have been made with expensive food safe plastics you?re kidding yourselves.
Yeah originals are expensive but then again so are extractors.

Offline William Bagwell

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2019, 08:30:17 pm »
If the copycat flow frames are reasonably workable,
                         - has anyone had them for several years?  Does the plastic begin to degrade/crumble, or, not cells line up after the lever moves back the cells?
                          - what brand was purchased? There are many sold through amazon and ebay, but the real manufacturer is unclear.

How much re-grind was used? A slight yellow tint when new indicates excessive recycled material being used and / or oil contamination. Neither of which helps longevity of polycarbonate.

Might even be more than one manufacturer with widely varying quality levels. Plus molds wear out, even expensive high quality molds. Cheep molds wear much faster. First few thousand parts made might be very good then gradually turn to crap if they keep running it without proper maintenance.

Very interesting thread! Like many here I do not need a Flow Hive. Merely want one :shocked: Hard to justify a $400 toy when a $100 version is available.

Offline Beeduu

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2020, 09:19:59 am »
I have the original Flow Hives (both the version 1 and 2). I have serious of issues with them and I assume the Chinese version will have them too.

1. The woodwork is rubbish. Mine are cedar, the oldest and bought direct from the crowdfunding page 5 years ago. The roof leaks like a sieve, finger joints are poor fit. The bottom board have risers nailed on an angle. For a thousand bucks, the quality is appalling. I had similar issues with version 2, laser cut version.

2.The flow frames leak honey. Mine came with loose wires and it was a mess to tighten them after they've been in use. I tightened them and still sagged and leaked. They bow with the weight of honey. I had at least one major flood and drowned hundreds of bees in honey. Flow say this is a rare event but I bet it is not.

Lifting the plastic flow frames from the super can be tricky. Cleaning the flow frames from wax is next to impossible, can't put them in a wax melter.

Customer service can be helpful, but they can also wash their hands and come up with excuses. They downplay all the problems you mention to them.

They are expensive because they have a lot of manufacturing issues, and they often have to re-send parts that are bad.

If I had to buy again, I buy a Chinese copy with no hesitation. Bees line up the cells with wax so honey is not in direct contact with the plastic, if you doubt they are not food grade. In fact that is an issue in itself when wax builds up and makes them harder to open. I have a couple of frames now getting really hard to operate.

As the infringement of copyright, I couldn't care less. I actually did point out to them one guy selling copies, but they strangely didn't reply. So why should I care?

On the plus side, harvesting is easy, mostly, until you get a laying worker in the flow frames, or a slim queen.

Chances are though that my next hive will be a traditional hive, and neither Flow nor a chinese copy.

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2020, 06:05:19 pm »
Beeduu,
Welcome to Beemaster.
Sorry you are having problems with your Flowhive. Sounds like you were able to actually harvest honey from yours. It took 3 years trying for me. And most of the honey was not capped even though it was very thick honey, around 16% water. Mine was given to me because the previous owner could not get the bees to put honey in it. My bees would rather swarm than use it.
Jim Altmiller

Offline KellyBeeFriendly

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Re: Flow Hive: Original vs. (Chinese) copycat
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2020, 10:45:50 am »
Can?t comment about the Chinese version as I am also in your dilemma.

I?ve actually had great experience with the flow hive, much easier than borrowing the local club extractor, and besides I bought into the hype and it was an Aussie invention.

I use plastic foundations and don?t have issues that those who poo poo from natural perspective, but I find it difficult to lift honey supers - hence moved to flow and then finally this year to Az bee hut. (More on that on my welcome)

Anyway the mess and robbing issue solved with Fred Dunn (bees and fowl)idea to use food safe tube (from beer brewing store) from flow tube straight into large mason jar with recap lid Brilliant. Haven?t looked back. https://m.

But I now have more hives and I want each of them to have flow frames, and I?m toying with expense. For now I run a hybrid and have 3 frames in each hive with the rest standard plastic foundation (for the bees). I?ve had reasonable support from flow peeps sending missing piece. The hive bodies although cool and light (arakura?) seemed to absorb moisture like a sponge and became rather mouldy. Switched to nuplas after that and just used the flow supers.

If I had to do it again I?d just buy the frames and customise my own hardware. If I needed more frames it is tempting to go cheep Chinese and compare. But I?m an Aussie so I?d probably end up forking over for the real deal because in my mind it?s just the right thing to do. If the dude was American I know that from my time in Texas how patriotic ya?ll are - you?d have fake newsed the Chinese version so much that they?d have no business credibility.

But in the meantime, I?m putting up with what I have until I win the lottery - as with covid there is bugger all chance of a bonus. So I will be happy with my flow setup and learn economy 🤔
Keep Calm and Keep Bees