Research & Development

Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Flow. Through research and development, we aim to continue to innovate, to improve our customer's experience and support healthy, thriving bee colonies the world over. 

 

Check out just a few of the programs we have been working on:

Flow Hive Honey - Taste The Difference


Possibly the most common feedback that we receive after successful Flow Hive harvests is how much better honey tastes, freshly harvested from a Flow Hive. Now we have the scientific proof!

A team of researchers at the University of Queensland performed sensory analysis on monofloral honeys extracted using conventional methods versus Flow Frames.

They found that the Flow extracted honeys were fresher and more floral.

Want to know more? Read or download the full research article in PDF format here.

Exploring New Contexts and Frontiers in Beekeeping

Although Flow Frames were designed for the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, some beekeeping pioneers are conducting experiments with other varieties of bees and gaining exciting results. If you are trialling Flow Frames in a new and innovative way, we welcome your feedback or you can share your Flow harvest success stories on our forum.

Adaptation of the Flow Hive for Japanese honey bee

We are working with researchers from the University of Tokyo, to investigate whether harvesting with Flow Frames reduces absconding behaviour in managed native Japanese Honey Bee (Apis cerana japonica) colonies.

Traditionally, Japanese bees are kept in log hives; their honey is valued for its flavour and medicinal qualities. Although they produce less honey than the western honey bee, Japanese bees are better adapted to the cold climate of Japan and may be more efficient pollinators.

But they are also prone to absconding when disturbed and traditional harvesting necessitates the destruction of the log hive and loss of brood.

Click here to find a Flow Authorised Reseller near you

Flow Comb Under The Microscope

We continue to investigate how Flow Frames are used by the bees across a range of conditions.

We are often asked, "How do the bees store honey in the incomplete honeycomb cells of a Flow Frame?" and indeed “What happens to the plastic in the hive?”

It is fascinating to see how the bees join the gaps, draw out the cells and coat the entire Flow Frame surface with wax in preparation for storing nectar, which will then be processed into honey and capped in the same way as natural comb.

Here you can see the changes made to Flow Frames once they are placed in a hive.

The blades of a Flow Frame form partial honeycomb cells (photo a). Bees “complete” these cells by joining the gaps and drawing the comb out (photos b & c), then coating the entire cell wall with beeswax (photos d, e & f). 


Light microscope images of Flow Frame honeycomb cells (x7 magnification) (a) unused; (b-f) bees complete cells with wax.

Citizen Science

It's amazing how many people our invention has inspired to find out more about local pollinators and ways to support them and their environment. We enjoy engaging with customers to collect real-world data on bees, pollinators or Flow Hives around the world.

At this community garden in Melbourne, citizen-scientists are using hive scales to compare the performance of a Flow Hive and a standard Langstroth Hive – with interesting results. If you know of any interesting citizen science projects we’d love to hear from you—please contact our research team and share your project.

Commercial Trials

The Flow Hive has opened up the world of backyard beekeeping to thousands of people around the globe. Now the great potential for boutique and commercial beekeepers is also emerging.

We are currently working with boutique and commercial honey producers around the world to optimise Flow Hive honey harvesting for their apiaries – with exciting results.

If you're interested in Flow Hive technology for a commercial set-up, please contact our commercial sales team for further information.


Flow Hive Research Support Program

Are you looking for support for a bee-related research project?

Flow is seeking expressions of interest for research projects utilising our patented Flow Frames and Hives. Download the application guidelines for more information.

Complete the online application form by 30th November 2018 and specify the following:

  • Your qualifications and experience

  • Name and contact details of the supervisor nominated for the proposed project

  • Proposed project – including aims, objective, reason for research, method, benefit /expected outcomes and project timeline

If you have any enquiries regarding the Flow Research Support Program please contact our research team.