Jason Allen-Rouman was excited as he learned hed be one of the first folks North America to get a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary setup for a long time, as well as a recent move from downtown San Francisco to some house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy a real possibility. As being an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done plenty of reading, he knew thered be work associated with maintaining healthy bees, and then he figured the latest-fangled hive which had been well-publicized on social media channels could be merely one more tool he can use because he got started.
On their site, the flow beehive ended up being advertised by their inventors to supply honey on tap in a manner that was less stressful to the bees than traditional methods. Made with parts that may be integrated into a conventional stacked Langstroth hive, it offers plastic frames thatwith the insertion of any giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be moved to extract honey through special tubing. For a time last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity across the Internet because of a video, created to promote the newest invention and lift money for its development, that went viral, racking up a lot more than two million views on YouTube.
But it really wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive on the beekeeping social media marketing site that he or she realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were in regards to the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. Individuals were emotionally purchased this.
Some beekeepers worried the Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health problems at the same time when bees are receiving tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions for that Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic for the bees.
Many wondered if the new plastic frame-splitting design can be unhealthy to the bees, crush worker bees since they filled honeycomb cells, or kill the babies, called brood.
On the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen referred to as the Flow Hive a remedy in search of a problem and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns how the new hive might encourage a kind of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the notion that a beehive is like a beer keg you may tap is troublesome, Knutzen writes inside a post from February 23, 2015. A beehive is actually a living thing, not just a machine for your exploitation. Im a natural beekeeper and think that honey harvests should be finished with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the potential risk of sounding a little bit melodramatica sacred vocation. We have been in relationship with our backyard hive, and feel our role is usually to support them, and to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey Whatever we get we consider precious, and employ for medicine more than sweetening.
This type of the Flow Hive incorporates a built-in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at work inside any moment.
Side view of the see-through plastic frames within flow frame set. At the end, channels could be uncapped for releasing honey without taking out the frames.
It didnt help that this Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records simply by making $12.2 million dollars within just 90 days. At beekeeping events across the country, even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings concerning the new hive design questioned why a business that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed that much cash. Critics complained that this money could possibly be better utilized on academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings about the new hive design questioned why a company that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed much cash.
At first, writer Rusty Burlew was one of the skeptics. Being a beekeeping instructor, columnist to the British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, along with the executive director of the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become popular on her sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. And once the Flow Hive video went viral, friends and family kept sending her links, asking what she considered it. She wished to ignore the whole thing, but after a while couldnt resist checking it.
In the early days especially, the Flow was marketed in an effort to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or the killing the bees, and even working with bees, Burlew says via email. The theory they conveyed was you simply bought it, put the bees inside, then turned the crank whenever you wanted honey. She was not impressed, and wrote posts on her blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees call for a beekeepers vigilance along with a certain time commitment so that you can thrive in the current US environment. Leaving those to fight off new pathogens and pests alone, its argued, will be akin to receiving a new puppy instead of feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, one of the inventors of your Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear inside a day roughly of going public, and immediately changed exactly how the product was marketed online. He hadnt created for his invention to encourage someone to be irresponsible.
That response helps to soften some of the criticism; Burlew, for example, says she now thinks of the Flow Hive as simply a pricey device for collecting honey, not unlike a few other accessories currently out there for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything you can do to make it easier so that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives instead of extracting their honey, I do believe thats the best thing.
I think lots of the people that bought the Flow will turn into competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There can also be people who decide bees are far too much trouble and they can abandon the whole project. But that occurs anyway. Possibly the percentages of people who remain with it and people who quit will not be not the same as individuals who begin beekeeping in virtually any other way.
Although he hasnt seen it actually in operation yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks that the Flow Hive could be a good thing, if this works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was the first researchers to determine and document Colony Collapse Disorder decade ago, and has worked extensively on honeybee health from the years since.
The whole procedure of extraction becomes kind of arduous, especially for small-scale beekeepers who only need a few jars of honey from the hives each year, he says. Anything you can do to make it easier in order that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as opposed to extracting their honey, I believe thats a very good thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new and still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he will no longer must go underground regarding his flow frame kit. His first package of bees, set up in a standard Langstroth hive last April, has been doing well, and hes hopeful theyll ensure it is with the winter and therefore hell be able to incorporate the Flow Hive into the set-up next spring. Hes gotten some shouts of support coming from a Facebook group calling itself the Flow Hive Optimists, along with the president of your DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to have a close up glance at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience to that for any early adopter; he thinks you will have some issues that may emerge as the Flow Hives get put in use, as well as the company will need to hivve those and maintain improving their design, their marketing, and their product. But really, he asks, is distinctive from those working together with any other type of technology?
Should you be assuming that every new beekeepers will be bad beekeepers, I think thats a dangerous assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres absolutely no reasons why we wont get a good deal of fantastic beekeepers.