The Flow Hive is able to harvest honey without opening the hive and disturbing the bees. It was launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and raised a record-breaking $12,204,614 making it the most successful campaign ever!
How it started
Flow Hive is the culmination of a decade-long endeavour by Cedar Anderson and his father Stuart Anderson. The family has been keeping bees for generations and Cedar started his first hive when he was just six years old. Anderson explains:
“Many years ago….I went down to one of my beehives, which I knew was a pretty wild hive. It was getting on towards evening and a bit of a grey day, not the best time for beekeeping!
So I put on the bee vale my grandma made me and pressed the gaffa tape back on the mesh that covered the holes. Then I put on my glove, (I couldn’t find the second one). I fired up the smoker and blew plenty of smoke into the hive.
When I opened the lid my suspicions were confirmed. The bees weren’t happy about being disturbed. I pulled the sleeve over my gloveless hand, blew some more smoke into the hive and pulled some nice frames of honey out.”
“The hive was packed with bees and it was near impossible to get the honey out without squashing lots of them. I really don’t like squashing bees! The bees became grumpier and started to sting me through my bee suit. They weren’t happy. I put the hive back together, squashing more bees as the lid went on and ended up running away across the field thinking… there has to be a better way! So my Dad and I set to work on a decade long task of inventing the beekeepers dream.”
How it works
TLC still a must
While the process of extracting honey becomes simpler and less intrusive, hobbyists and enthusiasts should know that you still have to use your smoker and bee suit and do all the normal and necessary things to keep your bees healthy, e.g., inspecting the brood nest for disease, swarm prevention, mites, beetles, etc. You still need to pull your hive apart to do this and you will still get stung by your bees :)
The traditional approach
– Protect yourself from stings
– Fire up a smoker to sedate the bees
– Crack the hive open
– Lift heavy boxes
– Pull out the frames, try not to squash bees
– Brush the bees off the combs or use a leaf blower
– Transport the frames to a processing shed
– Cut the wax capping off each frame with a heated knife or automatic uncapping machine
– Put them in an extractor to spin out the honey
– Filter out all the wax and dead bees
– Clean up
– Place frames back in the hive