Jason Allen-Rouman was excited as he learned hed be the first individuals Canada And America to acquire a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary put in place for many years, and a recent move from downtown San Francisco to some house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy an actuality. As being an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done a great deal of reading, he knew thered be work associated with maintaining healthy bees, and that he figured the latest-fangled hive that was well-publicized on social media marketing channels could be only one more tool he could use as he got started.
On their website, the flow hive ended up being advertised by their inventors to provide honey on tap in ways that was less stressful to the bees than conventional methods. Developed with parts that may be incorporated into a standard stacked Langstroth hive, it includes plastic frames thatwith the insertion of a giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be moved to extract honey through special tubing. For quite a while last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity all over the Internet due to a youtube video, designed to promote the new invention and raise money for the development, that went viral, racking up more than two million opinion of YouTube.
But it really wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive with a beekeeping social websites site which he realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were concerning the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. People were emotionally dedicated to this.
Some beekeepers worried that this Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health issues at the same time when bees are receiving tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions for your Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic towards the bees.
Many wondered when the new plastic frame-splitting design would be unhealthy to the bees, crush worker bees since they filled honeycomb cells, or eliminate the babies, known as brood.
In the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen known as the Flow Hive a remedy searching for a problem and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns that the new hive might encourage a kind of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the idea that a beehive is like a beer keg you are able to tap is troublesome, Knutzen writes inside a post from February 23, 2015. A beehive is really a living thing, not really a machine for the exploitation. Im a natural beekeeper and feel that honey harvests needs to be completed with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the chance of sounding just a little melodramatica sacred vocation. Our company is in relationship with our backyard hive, and feel our role is to support them, and to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey Whatever we get we consider precious, and utilize for medicine a lot more than sweetening.
This style of the Flow Hive includes a built in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at the job inside any moment.
Side view of the see-through plastic frames inside of flow frame set. At the bottom, channels could be uncapped for releasing honey without taking out the frames.
It didnt help how the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records through making $12.2 million dollars within just three months. At beekeeping events around the country, even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings about the new hive design questioned why an organization that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed much cash. Critics complained the money could be better applied to academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings regarding the new hive design questioned why a business that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed very much cash.
At first, writer Rusty Burlew was one of the skeptics. As a beekeeping instructor, columnist for that British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, and the executive director in the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become popular on her behalf sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. When the Flow Hive video went viral, relatives and buddies kept sending her links, asking what she considered it. She wanted to ignore everything, but eventually couldnt resist checking it.
In the early days especially, the Flow was marketed as a way to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or the killing the bees, and even handling bees, Burlew says via email. The concept they conveyed was you only bought it, placed the bees inside, and then turned the crank when you wanted honey. She was not impressed, and wrote posts on the blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees need to have a beekeepers vigilance as well as a certain time commitment to be able to thrive in the current US environment. Leaving them to combat new pathogens and pests alone, its argued, would be akin to receiving a new puppy instead of feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, one of many inventors in the Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear inside a day or more of going public, and immediately changed just how the product was marketed on the webpage. He hadnt meant for his invention to encourage a person to be irresponsible.
That response helps to soften a few of the criticism; Burlew, as an example, says she now thinks about the Flow Hive as simply a high priced device for collecting honey, not unlike a number of other accessories currently available on the market for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything that can be done making it easier to ensure beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives rather than extracting their honey, I do believe thats a very important thing.
I believe a lot of the people that bought the Flow will transform into competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There is likewise individuals who decide bees are way too much trouble and they can abandon the full project. But that takes place anyway. Possibly the percentages of those who stick with it and those that quit wont be quite different from individuals who begin beekeeping in any other way.
Although he hasnt seen it actually in operation yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks the Flow Hive may well be a great thing, if this works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was among the first researchers to determine and document Colony Collapse Disorder ten years ago, and has worked extensively on honeybee health from the years since.
The entire procedure of extraction becomes sort of arduous, specifically for small-scale beekeepers who only desire a few jars of honey using their hives annually, he says. Anything that you can do to really make it easier to ensure that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives rather than extracting their honey, I think thats a very good thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new yet still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Way back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he no longer needs to go underground along with his flow frame set. His first package of bees, positioned in a conventional Langstroth hive last April, does well, and hes hopeful theyll allow it to be from the winter and this hell be able to incorporate the Flow Hive into the set-up next spring. Hes gotten some shouts of support from a Facebook group calling itself the Flow Hive Optimists, and the president from the DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to obtain a close up look at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience for that of any early adopter; he thinks you will have some issues that may emerge since the Flow Hives get dedicated to use, along with the company need to hivve those and keep improving their design, their marketing, as well as their product. But really, he asks, is that distinctive from those working with some other sort of technology?
In case you are assuming that all new beekeepers will be bad beekeepers, I think thats an unsafe assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres basically no good reason that we wont get a great deal of fantastic beekeepers.