My inbox has been inundated with friends giving me awareness to, and asking questions about Flow Hive TM and whether this setup is for real, whether it will work, do I want to purchase one, etc. Well, here is what I think:
I don’t know – it seems too good to be true, I wouldn’t recommend anyone purchase one (especially a non-beekeeper) with grand ideas that all their honey eating dreams have come true. I do applaud innovative thinking and the initiative to bring ideas to fruition – That’s great, but I’ll watch and see what comes. I tend not to be an early adopter, in general, but in this case I have serious beef with the basic principles the invention is based upon. E.g. There’s a disregard to what bees need- Removing honey without first inspecting for what the bees need to be healthy and to survive – is a bad idea. And, Flow Hive optimizes on the desire to remove the connection between the beekeeper and the bees. Doing either of these is not beekeeping and potentially puts the health of the bees at risk.
Because of these two things alone, I (and many other experienced beeks) have expressed concerns and highlighted potential problems with Flow Hive TM – but some respected beeks have already been singing its praises as early testers. So, who knows. What I’m impressed with is the marketing efforts of the originators, raising funds for their idea via Indiegogo ($4M+) !!! wow!
Despite apparently many other’s enthusiasm for this idea, I won’t be purchasing one in the foreseeable future. Further, I don’t think Flow Hive TM will revolutionize commercial beekeeping as mentioned in their youtube video, nor do I think it will work in all settings (honey is not plentiful enough to harvest in some cases, nor free flowing year round in all geographies). This invention does nothing to improve the health of bees, which is something I think everyone’s $ and development efforts need to focus upon. What if we put that $4M to work on that problem? Bees need forage, research is needed to understand all the factors impacting pollinator health – let’s get some innovation going there!
My soapbox: Beekeeping is hard work and requires hive inspections and the know-how of evaluating whether a hive is healthy and what to do about it if not. If you are lucky and wise, how much honey is available for harvest is a decision you’ll get to make and harvesting can then commence. The Flow Hive TM seems to ignore all this messiness of inspecting and decision making involved in hive management. I’m still trying to determine how a real beekeeper would inspect a hive with Flow Hive TM installed- it would weigh probably close to 90lbs if full of honey which would prevent most people from lifting it off to inspect their hive. What if you drained it to enable an inspection, then learned the bees didn’t have enough honey left for winter?
Ugh, Ok, I’m going to stop now as I’m feeling a bit of a Debbie Downer on this idea. Basically, I don’t advise anyone wanting a fresh source of honey to buy one of these. If you have that much $ to spend on the idea of getting fresh honey – Call me, or find your local beekeeper at the farmer’s market, someone who knows what they are doing with bees and harvests honey sustainably – keeping their hives healthy by inspecting them regularly.