The Flow Hive 2 Review
The concept of the Flow Hive beehive has impressed novice beekeepers ever since it first launched. The idea of “honey on tap” was intriguing to those that wanted a more convenient way to get their honey and an accessible route into the hobby. The original Flow Hive Classic system is still as popular as ever since its launch back in 2015. The patented Flow Frames from designers Cedar and Stuart Anderson changed the way we could access our honey and care for our bees.
The Flow Hive 2 is their second-generation model. Here the pair has taken a fresh look at the design of the hive. While many of the best elements remain the same, there are also lots of interesting developments in the features on offer. The idea here is that you can now get a more convenient, user-friendly hive with the same great tools for honey production and bee welfare. Below you can learn about those new upgrades, the classic features that remain the same and some other considerations when choosing the new Flow Hive 2.
What’s new with the Flow Hive 2?
There are some brilliant upgrades and helpful features in this new hive that can help first-time beekeepers. These include:
- An extra observation window.
- The new stand with the adjustable legs.
- A new shelf for the jars of honey.
- Built-in spirit levels.
- Improved protection against pests and bad weather.
This version of the Flow Hive is built to handle life outdoors a little better than the previous model. There are some little details in the design that other companies might not consider, such as the roof locks to prevent against high winds quality of the materials used. There is also a ventilation control system on the bottom to help modify the airflow for the health and well-being of your bees.
Many buyers of this new Flow Hive 2 like the fact that there is an integrated stand here, keeping the hive well away from the ground and protecting the colony from pests and bad weather. While you might think that a stand like this would be a little bit flimsy, there is a solid feel and it is adjustable to suit the surface outside. This makes it so much easier to set the hive up in just the right spot.
Another nice little feature here is the use of not one but two inbuilt spirit levels. This is a great way to ensure that the beehive is level and secure without getting any tools out. You can also see if the hive has shifted in the wind with this easy-to-read meter on the front. It is also easier to move the hive around as needed with the deep handles cut into the front. These handles are laser cut, just like the rest of the wood. This means that there is the same great finish and the same comfortable feel as the rest of the product.
Then there is the new harvesting shelf. This shelf sits on the front of the hive so you can place your jar underneath the trough. This is essential now that you have that adjustable stand raising the hive off of the ground. You can set the shelf at different levels to suit the jars used. That way you can create larger quantities or small gifts as needed. The shelf makes this a hands-free process where you can just sit back and watch the honey pour out.
Finally, new users that are a little concerned about their bees, or that just really love to watch what is going on inside the hive, will love the fact that there are now two observation windows on the side of the product. These wide screens provide a great view of what’s going on inside to help you spot any potential problems without opening up the hive. The windows are secure, so there are no worries about cold air or moisture getting in.
Flow Hive 2 Features
The Flow Hive 2 also retains many of the great features that make the Flow Hive Classic so popular.
While there is a lot here that is different as part of an upgrade to this new Flow Hive 2, we can’t overlook all of the aspects that carried over from the original design. You don’t have to worry about missing out on the features that make the original Flow Hive so popular with beekeepers. These essential features include:
- The use of premium materials throughout the hive.
- The aesthetics with the branding and a-frame roof.
- The patented flow frames.
One of the most obvious continued features is the use of the red cedarwood. This high-quality, sustainable material is laser cut for clean lines and cute shapes. There is also the use of premium brass on the fixtures. This amount of attention to detail is appealing because it shows consideration for the quality of the fixtures and durability of the hive, but also the aesthetic appeal. The hive should weather nicely as it ages.
The A-frame roof was a feature that made the Flow Hive stand out from other models. There is an attractive look here with the roof shingles and other beekeepers will immediately know that you have a Flow Hive. This is a great idea because the branding on the wood is actually pretty subtle still. There is the name on the front and a few logos here and there but nothing extreme. It is nice that the company showed restraint here in this 2nd-gen model.
How does the Flow Hive 2 Harvest Honey?
Of course, the other key selling point of the Flow Hive system is the harvesting system.
Once again, all you need to do is open the frame to get that raw, unprocessed honey straight from the hive to the jar. The harvesting shelf on the Flow Hive 2 is sturdy and deep enough to hold quite a few jars at once. You get 6 screens in the Flow Hive that continue the same design that made the original hive so appealing to beekeepers.
If you are unfamiliar with the process and new to Flow Hives, the basic premise is this. You get a series of flow frames with partially built honeycomb inside. The bees come in and do their job, filling the honeycomb with honey and capping them off with the wax. The see-through design on the front of the hive means that you don’t have to open the hive to see if there is honey to collect. You can walk over to the hive, look at the screen and then harvest if there is enough honey in the screen. All you need to do is insert the handle into the top of the screen to open the channels, let the honey drain to the bottom channel and out into your jar. It remains one of the most non-invasive methods that shouldn’t cause any undue stress to the bees.
Here’s the official Flow Hive video on how honey harvesting works:
The new Flow Hive 2 continues the same purposes and trends as its predecessor – just with those upgrades.
The aim of the Flow Hive beekeeping system has always been to make beekeeping accessible and appealing to those new to the hobby. Many newcomers are put off by the idea of interacting with the bees when they remove the honeycombs. They might not like the idea of all the maintenance and effort that goes into creating the best product. Or, they may simply hate the idea of having to suit up every time they want to check on the progress of their colony. The Flow Hive system eliminates all the stress and hassle. The ease of use of the new Flow Hive 2 is a big step in the right direction. This was apparent in the original model with the basic concepts of the on-tap system. But, this new Flow Hive 2 model takes that even further.
Flow Hive 2 User Reviews
Buyers are impressed with the experience and features on offer.
The majority of reviews for this hive are positive. Buyers love how easy it was to set up the system and create this new home for their colony. They love the craftsmanship in the different parts and are confident that the hive will last. They just now need to wait patiently to test out the harvesting process.
There are also some great testimonials from users that have a hive in their garden for relaxation purposes as much as for creating the honey. They love the simple process of putting in the handle and watching the honey pour out into their jars. There is that instant gratification from an instant product. It is also so much easier now with the shelf for smaller jars. The second window is perfect for those that like to go to watch and interact with the bees as it provides greater access to this world.
Flow Hive 2 Issues
So, is there anything negative about this new Flow Hive 2 model to be concerned about?
So far, everything about this new model appears to be to the benefit of the new user. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t factors to consider before choosing this model over the classic version. Consider the following:
- The larger size of the product
- The more complex construction.
- The fact that the bees are still the boss.
- The price.
This is a larger hive than the Classic Flow Hive and you do need to have the right space for it. The stand means that it is freestanding, so much be on a flat, appropriate piece of land on your property. You also need to be sure the area is safe from any creatures that might want to have a sniff around.
While it might seem as though this new model is more complex, with that additional stand and the extra parts, most find that it is easy to put together. The instructions are understandable and those lazer cut parts fit together nicely. They also appreciate the adjustable feet and the assembly tools in the box.
The team at Flow Hive has done all they can to improve the hive and the experience for the beekeepers. There is a lot here to help you get the best results possible. But, they can’t control the quality and taste of the honey made. That all depends on the work of the bees and the flowers that they visit. If there are poor weather and a bad crop of flowers in your area, then you can’t blame the team behind Flow Hive for a decline in production or quality. That said, those extra features for pest control and protection against the weather should help you ensure that the bees are healthy during tougher times.
Flow Hive 2 Cost
As for the cost, this Flow Hive 2 model is more expensive than the classic. You can expect to pay ~$700-$900, depending on the model, for this new hive, which is quite an investment for anyone that is new to this hobby. But, that extra cost is to be expected with all those extra parts and features. There is so much more detail and functionality in those different elements and all the materials are of a high quality. Therefore, the price rise is fair.
Flow Hive 2 Summary
The Flow Hive 2 is an impressive upgrade on an already beneficial concept.
Flow Hives will continue to impress new consumers that want the most user-friendly, accessible approach to beekeeping possible. The combination of the flow frames, on-tap honey, observation windows, and adjustable parts means that it is easier than ever to set up a hive and enjoy the produce. The additional features, like the spirit levels, harvesting shelf and the locks on the roof show attention to detail for a high-end product. You can be sure that not only is the honey easy to harvest in a fun, safe way, you can also protect your bees as they work hard to create it. Finally, there is the fact that these hives look amazing compared to the more traditional, rustic options. The new Flow Hive 2 is sure to make all others in your beekeeping circle very envious.