Against The Flow

Frankly, I am tired of people raving about how wonderful the Flow Hive invention is and posting it on my Facebook wall every other day. The viral-ity of this fundraising campaign has been astounding. During my travels in Central America, I even had a Belgium restaurant owner in Nicaragua ask me whether I’d heard about it.

“I love honey. This is amazing,” you read over and over again in the comments from people worldwide who have no clue what goes into beekeeping. The gadget allows you to harvest honey without opening the hive, and Australian inventors, Stuart and son Ceder Anderson, promise that there is “no mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment, and [that] the bees are hardly even disturbed.”

But just because no disturbance can be viewed by the naked eye doesn’t mean the bees aren’t being disturbed.  How arrogant humans can be.

The Flow Hive has already raised over $12 million and counting. Perhaps folks genuinely want to help the bees and think this gadget is the answer. Meanwhile, this is a testament that urban beekeeping is thriving.

Supporters argue that by simplifying (or automating) the most time-consuming part of beekeeping—the harvest— more people may want to take up beekeeping. More beekeeping may lead to greater support to save bees and therefore Flow Hive is a positive thing.

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At first glance, I too thought Flow Hive was a genius invention that honors the bees, but after looking under the proverbial lid, I’ve concluded that the device reduces nature’s miracle into a beer keg. It’s animal husbandry with a negative twist.

“One wants to see this be successful, easy to use, and contribute to the world of improved beekeeping,”  adds Kim Flottum, beekeeper and editor of Bee Culture magazine. “But there’s the concern, far in the back of my mind, that it may appear to make things too easy, fostering not improved  beekeeping, but reduced attention to maintaining healthy bees.”

Here are 3 of the multiple reasons why many folks refrain from using Flow Hive and consider it to be just another level of separation between bees and beings.

 1. Plastic Comb

This newfangled honey collection system is comprised of plastic. It’s basically the Langstroth hive on steroids. The bees build their own wax on top of plastic frames and fill the cells with nectar and cap per usual. When you turn on the tap, presto— honey squeezes through the center of a plastic double-walled comb construction. Once draining is completed, you can reset the tap, and the comb goes back to its original position. Automation is in full effect.

Bees don’t particularly like plastic, Ask any organic beekeeper. They don’t need it. They fashion wax –a living substance – out of their own abdomens. Wax is where they store their food (nectar and pollen) and house their young. Wax vibrates and changes temperature.

“…Comb is far more than a Tupperware container for somebody else’s lunch; it is the tissue and frame of the hive and as such it forms multiple functions,” writes Beekeeper Jonathan Powell , who has a a long family connection with bees, and is also a partner with a UK Charity called  the Natural Bee-keeping Trust. 

In his blog he writes:

“Cells have wall thicknesses of just 0.07 mm, and are made from over 300 different chemical components. Wax removes toxins from the honey. The resonant frequency (230-270 Hz) of the comb is matched to the bees’ vibration sensors and acts as an information highway between bees on opposite sides of the comb. Bees manage the temperature of the cell rims to optimize transmissions of these messages. Wax holds history and memory via chemical signals put into it by the bees.”

But instead of working with the wax comb they’ve created, the Flow Hive forces bees to deal with hormone-disrupting plastics that off-gas.

“Honey bees are able to recognize the smallest differences in wax composition but not polypropylene,” adds Powell.

Additionally, the best honey is fully capped. It’s like putting a lid on a jar; honeybees ripen nectar by removing the moisture and sealing it off with wax. Honey that has been harvested with a moisture content above 20 per cent and isn’t capped is considered unripe and may ferment. Traditional beekeepers slice honey caps off with a knife and use a spinner which removes honey from wax frames. They then reuse the wax in their hives once more.

Meanwhile, in colder climates honey often crystallizes, which means the Flow Hive may clog and require heating, killing the healing properties.

Incidentally, a Langstroth hive can be managed without any comb (so you let the bees make their own). It’s how the backward beekeepers like Kirk Anderson and Dee Lusby run their hives.

2. Non-Existent Communion Between Bees & Beings

The Flow Hive is touted as a “beekeeper’s dream.” But in my opinion, it’s a wannabe’s fantasy. The point of beekeeping is to commune with the bees, not to further remove oneself from them. There’s nothing like slowing down, with reverence and care, to peek into a hive and observe the virgin sisters of toil. Bees work themselves to death, so why should have such easy access to their food?

Beekeeping involves putting on a bee suit (or not) and tuning into the bees to ensure that no harm is done when you go into their sacred space. And if you happen to get stung once or twice, you can choose to see it positively. It’s medicinal.

As the Italian photographer and fellow beekeeper Renée Ricciardi writes, “Beekeeping involves respect, patience, and attention to the natural world. After years of beekeeping you become attentive to humidity every time you step outside, you start noticing which flowers bloom first,  you stop hating pesky dandelions, and when it rains you think of the bees.”

Just like there is an indescribable satisfaction in eating food that you’ve grown, there’s something magical about beekeeping. And it doesn’t involve turning on a tap. Actually many hobby beekeepers will tell you that honey is not the main attraction. Stewardship is. And that entails checking on the health of the colony, observing brood patterns, examining the queen, making sure there aren’t any parasites or pathogens, and observing the honey flow so you know what to leave behind.

With an automatic honey appliance, you get none of that. Even though there’s a window and you can see the bees, you are clueless as to what is actually going on with the hive. As a friend recently stated, Flow Hive promotes the emotional detachment of factory farming.

Commercial beekeeping meanwhile is a whole other ball of wax. It is arduous work, involving long hours and a lot of casualties. You may likely have to 1) Get Suited Up 2) Smoke the Bees 3) Open the hive 4) Remove the honey-filled frames 5) Brush the bees from those frames 6) Use a knife to remove the capping from the wax cells 7) Use a centrifuge to get honey out of the frame.

Flow Hive promises to remove all that “messy hard work.”  Which commercial beekeeper wouldn’t be intrigued? Yet without some sort of communion, doesn’t the process kind of look like honey-robbing? Hands-off beekeeping? Free honey? Come on, it’s fast food honey that cuts corners.

Incidentally, honey has its own flow depending on the season and is usually harvested only once a year. Will wannabe beekeepers be mindful of nature’s rhythms or simply gorge on honey all year round? Most beekeepers, including myself, will tell you that honey is just a bonus. I keep bees because I love having them around. It’s a bee-centric, rather than honey-centric, endeavor. That’s why they called their movie More Than Honey.

Consider this: In the six-week lifespan of one single bee, she will only produce a quarter of a teaspoon of honey. Honey is sacred.

“I always tell beginners in my workshops, there is only one real reason to keep bees, and that is because they are fascinating. If you just want honey, make friends with a beekeeper,” says a beekeeper in Australia who goes by Adrian the Bee Man.

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3. “Expensive Gimmick”

“The Flow Hive is now the largest international campaign ever on Indiegogo,” announced Slava Rubin, CEO of Indiegogo.

They surpassed their goal of 70,000 in less than 10 minutes and raised $2.1 million in one day, setting a record for the most funds raised in 24 hours.

For $600, you get a full automatic bee farm. But many beekeepers I’ve spoken to believe that it’s overpriced and unsustainable.  Flow Hive actually costs more than a standard Langstroth hive.

Flow Hive has been described as a possible “key” in keeping the world’s bee population from further decline.” Really? How so? This just makes honey collection simpler and easier. How does it help bees survive the issues they are currently grappling with? Like systemic pesticides and loss of habitat???

To quote Ricciardi once more, Flow Hive invites “lazy, hungry honey-eaters who are also terrified of being stung. It will create a generation of oblivious people who don’t know the delicate mechanics of the beautiful hive.”

Don’t get wooed by the hype and the mesmerizing images of honey . Get involved with Center For Food Safety or show Vanishing of the Bees to your children. Or take up real beekeeping. Participate in direct bee activism.

Please note that no one is saying that these people are bad. But as they say, the road to hell was paved with good intentions. and “good inventions” too. 

Not everything that has to do with bees is good for the bees.

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Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.

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  • Excellent review, Maryam! I am also sick of people posting this on my Facebook wall as well. I couldn’t agree with you more about the disconnect between the honeybees and beekeeper. It is another gimmick which lends itself to the factory farming of bees. I cannot imagine who they are trying to fool that this will in any way help the bees. If anything, it will help increase the funds in their bank accounts.

    As a hobbyist beekeeper I find this to be completely against the purpose of inviting honeybees to share my land. I am not interested in turning their home into a keg party where honey flows, or is supposed to flow from a tap. The bees are indeed having a hard enough time surviving without yet another man-made invention that seeks to challenge their very existence. Furthermore, I found it quite interesting that their video shows honey flowing so clearly and smoothly. How is that even possible? Honeybees are known to seek out even a smidgen of honey from an empty jar that was tossed in the trash.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. I will share this on social media as well as with my listeners on The Organic View. Well-done, my friend!

    • Tim

      was this written based on facts and use of the flow hive? or are you bashing a product you have never seen or used? If so, your opinion is as good as anyone elses. sorry I wasted my time. Anyone know of an objective article written based on facts and truth?

  • Nice analysis, Maryam. I must admit that it appears to be a very cold-hearted industrial machine that simply robs the Bees of the fruits of their hard work. Is there an option to leave a portion of the honey in the hive for overwintering in northern climates? If it can only drain out all of the honey and leave no food for the bees…then I am definitely opposed to it.

    Are you kidding me…do you really believe that the majority of people want to “help bees”? Why do you think we are in the mess that we find ourselves in currently?! I myself have been building a Top-Bar Hive for about a year now out of scavenged pallet wood. Mostly, I have met opposition, fear of bees, roadblocks and lip service in my endeavour to do what I believe is beneficial for both us and the bees. I’m sorry to inform you that your fellow man is not a benevolent creature when it comes down to it. The greed for maximum honey extraction combined with little or no concern for the bees food source simply illustrates why this campaign was so wildly successful. The “bee activists” need to support each other…because we are a rare breed indeed.

    Keep up the awesome work, Maryam!

    generalmeadeco.weebly.com

    • John Moser

      Each frame taps individually, as they said. I don’t like the two-box hive they sell, because it’s not enough honey; I built a 28 bar top bar hive, 10 brood bars (1 1/4 inch), honey bars are 1 3/8 with 1/4 inch spacers (1 5/8). This runs straight into a horizontal Langstroth 10-frame deep super. That’s 10 frames of brood, 18 frames of honey, and 7 flow frames.

      This design allows me to remove fewer combs, move things around less, injure fewer bees, and generally let them do what they do more often. Bee-O-Pac cuts out some of my labor when harvesting comb honey, but this cuts out some of the bee trauma when harvesting extracted honey. Traumatized bees means pissed-off bees, which means stings.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Please read the FlowHive website. The honey can be drained one frame at a time or what ever you choose and any percentage of honey in a single frame may be left for the bees. Something previous harvesting by removal and cutting off caps could never do.

  • Finally. Someone who has the gumption to knock the Flow Hive. And with very good reasons. But I have a prediction. I think this gadget will promote hive collapse. It interrupts a function the bees have been doing for millions of years. A bee has a task, it finishes that task and it moves on. Draining the honey like this will promote draining the honey too early and too often. The bees will never get the satisfaction of moving on. This simply interrupts bee function.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Strange comments.
      Every Beekeeper using any built hive is creating an artificial environment for the bees.
      NO beekeeper wants the bees in their hive to move on. The correct word is swarm and bees only swarm naturally if the hive becomes too large.
      The competent beekeeper builds a new timber hive and divides the original hive in two.
      More hives.
      Drain the honey too early and the honey has too high a water content and ferments.
      Draining too much honey mean the bees that the beekeeper has cared for will need artifical feeding.
      Hello this invention is only about correct and gentle harvesting excess honey that is more than the bees will use over winter.
      Bees will produce honey as long as there are flowers for that season. Much more than they can consume.
      PS bees only live for 40 days maximum, much longer than a hive stays in one place for.
      The bee never get the satisfaction of moving on simply because a hive even in nature lasts hundreds of generations.

  • Michael the Looplander

    I’m offended by your article! Exactly what is wrong with beer kegs? 🙂

  • As a total new-bee to caring for bees – this year will be my first year – I would like to share my thoughts. I think (hope) I know enough now to know I don’t know very much at all about beekeeping. I hope to some day become a subconscious competent about bees but I know this will take a long time of watching, listening, reading and viewing youtube videos from the experts. I am also learning about Permaculture. I am doing my best to start my first food forrest and raising chickens too. A lot going on – and I’m a Realtor in the suburbs. I’m not your typical beekeeper for sure. I’m on a 3 acre property in a subdivision and I’m sure my actions/lack of knowledge will result in the deaths of many bees over time… just as I’m sure my knowledge will increase and my ability to help the bees will increase with time. My focus is this – learn as much as possible, help the bees in the suburbs which I understand are very productive and more likely to survive than those in the farmlands, share my honey with my family and kids who also learn more about nature and create a better example over time for others… a better example by being a better steward to the bees. If 2 out of 10 people who have the honey flow as new-bees keep up caring for bees in 10 years imagine how that can have a positive effect on our future. I see it as a way to entice people to get away from their digital screens and connect more with nature and be in awe of it – just a little bit more. That alone can lead to major positive changes in the future. Either way – I wish all beekeepers the very best now and into the future and look forward learning much from you all.

  • apidae

    I had initially reviewed the Flow Hive on my website with great enthusiasm. How could it not be good to get more people involved with bees? But thank you for this well-written and well-researched article. You’ve explained the flip side of the coin and I will share this article with my readers. You really summed it up at the end: “Not everything that has to do with bees is good for the bees.”

  • PCT_Hiker_Horrible

    I would have enjoyed if you had gone much more in depth with this article specifically at where the current methods are superior to this new technology. I understand that new technology is often far from perfect but this article simply attacks it rather than suggesting modifications of how the invention could get honey besides what has been done traditionally. I would have prefered this piece sounding off on a more constructive note rather than the strong negativity towards a new invention. It’s one sided and aimed at generating page views and trending social media rather than exploring ways this invention could be improved to better coexist with bees which need all the help in the world.

  • The article was in formative but very one sided and I don’t think there is enough evidence to say it is more harmful or not I could see that the old way of doing things may be more stressful on the bees also. First you smoke the bees, then you pull out the rack and knock all the bees off so you can harvest the honey. sounds pretty disturbing to me. Back to using smoke on the bees I have heard it sends them into preservation mode and they start consuming the honey. Sounds like something a person would do after a catastrophic event gather up food and hope for the best.
    All in All I am concerned about the bee’s future and I never would have wanted to help out and add another bee farm to a growing list of bee farms until I saw this. I think it would get a lot more people involved in habitat preservation.
    I would want a scientific study done before I got to hasty about shaming this invention. Until then the only thing I don’t care for is the price.

  • Maryam Henein

    Hi Eric, It was written as an op-ed piece. And i did reach out to them and have a response. Because i agree, I wanted to give them a chance to respond. I just haven’t had a chance to publish it or even read it. I still think we should work a little bit for honey.

    • Kathy Taylor

      I realise you wrote this 9 months ago, but I think it pretty shabby that you went ahead with the article without publishing Flow Hive’s response. You didn’t even make time to read it.
      So very one sided.

  • Having to protect nature for the bees to have their flora to work with shall be work enough for us don’t you think? The plastic can be bioplastic and I agree that it should be.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Yeah some one who understands plastics don’t need to come from petrochmical industry any more.
      I use bioplastics in my 3D printers.
      AND I own a FlowHive through the crowd funding campain to complete the reseach on flowhive to the point of the first production runs.
      Too many LUDDITES in the world.
      PS if you don’t know the word look up LUDDITES on the internet.
      Thank God Mr Langstroth was a brave inventor in the mid 1800’s

  • krys

    Frankly I’m a bit disappointed in your review. I think your opinions and research are valid and important, as. You are speaking from experience that most of us do not have. However, I think that instead of focusing so much negativity at a design that was clearly invented in hopes of expanding the reach of interest in bees, you could offer solutions to the issues. Most of us are not “lazy”, we are extremely busy living our lives. Our availability is not inclusive of the time and energy it would take to have a hive. Not to mention that most of the population of the US is in urban or suburb areas, with minimal amounts of land available at our disposal. I think that instead of just having the mindset that it’s the old way or no way, we should all focus our creative efforts to try and find other solutions to the epidemic of bee hive collapse. Kudos to the inventors for at least trying to be part of a solution. What I would love to see how is you and your fellow experienced and cultured bee keepers reach out to the inventors to try and solve the issues presented with the new flow hive invention. Maybe that there be different materials used, that there be more informative videos on what bees actually need, that there be clear instructions and guidelines – as well as explanations on why those are in place – regarding use of this flow hive. Brainstorm for the positive instead of just saying all the reasons it won’t work. We need to work together on these issues, and there is ALWAYS a better way to do things. Sometimes it just takes an open mind to achieve a better way. Also, I think that making bee keeping easier to access, as well as possibly a lil more hands off, could attract people like myself, who are afraid of bees, into having a positive experience with them. If those of us who are afraid are exposed in a way that lessens our fears, we could then grow into better bee keepers and bee advocates. If that trend flows world wide, can you imagine how much better off bees will be in the long run? Let’s focus our efforts in making bees a positive experience, and pull people in for positive exposure. Change is a transition over time, not a thing easily achieved by advocates throwing stats, or hearing what could happen if we don’t….its pulling people into an issue and giving them a chance to experience it so they can understand and connect with the issue. That’s just my opinion…..

  • HappyFarmer

    I completely agree, Maryam; thank you for putting it so clearly. You hit all the points I try to make when another person posts the thing on my FB page.

    I think the intentions of the creators were good, as are those of most of the purchasers. It seems like beekeeping became too cool too quickly and so many of the newbeeks didn’t benefit from experienced and thoughtful mentors (I had the great fortune of working full time with Gunther for more than a year). With hipness and honey being the big draws for many, it’s no wonder that this thing got so huge.

    Folks need to s l o w d o w n and humbly observe the marvelous world of a colony. What a privilege it is to look inside such a society. It ain’t about the honey.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      I joined a Bee Club 6 months before I got my FlowHive. H O W S L O W S H O U L D I H A V E G O N E.
      PS my bees seem pretty quick to me.

  • michelle3424

    This was a very one sided and assuming article. The creators of the flow hive have said in multiple videos that the same hive maintenance practices that are required for traditional beekeeping also apply to the flow hive. The only difference is in the honey harvest. Is it possible that some people will purchase a flow hive expecting a honey keg with no other commitment? I guess so, but I would like to have a little more faith in people. This invention will allow many responsible people who care about nature and sustainability to embark upon the journey of beekeeping who might otherwise not be able, or have the courage to do so. I’m sure that the problems brought up in the article will apply in some cases, but I believe that overall the flow hive will increase the number of good beekeepers around the world, providing more hives and homes for the bees that keep our planet thriving.

  • Your reasons are not a reason not to purchase this product. You did not say it hurts the bees. You didn’t say it doesn’t work. You didn’t say it was more intrusive then standard methods of collecting honey. When you add the cost of a high speed honey extractor which can cost up to over $6000, your argument is mute. Bees don’t need us messing about in their hives. That is why the bar and Warré Bee Hives are popular. Bee hives can be made of anything, including plastic, as long as the bees build their hives healthily. That is why you find hives in walls and tires and abandoned cars. The inventor should be praised for even trying to advance this ancient craft and not criticized because “that’s not the way we’ve done it before” attitude.

    • Adam

      I completely agree with you. I know absolutely nothing about bees and how to maintain a hive but this person’s tone from the get go seemed like one of someone who is just looking for a way to take away positive attention someone is receiving and belittle what they’ve done.

      When someone succeeds at something there’s always going to be that person though. In the end they’ll pan it off as “just their opinion” or “my vast knowledge doesn’t allow me to appreciate this like you do”.

    • Frances Duquette Davis

      “Moot!” Please, “moot.” Otherwise, I agree with you, John. : )

    • Ron McIlroy

      My extractor cost me $240 delivered on eBay. It even has a motor. I agree with the rest. My langstroth hive has a plastic foundation and the bees love it.

    • Josh

      You obviously completely missed the point. It is harmful for the bees. You are not a beekeeper, are you? She spent a good bit of the opener of this article talking about how the plastic honeycomb harms the bees. Also, when honey extraction is this easy, it promotes abuse. It makes it too easy for beginners, who don’t want to take the time to really learn all the details, to extract too much honey too often. The bees make honey for themselves. Humans can only take the excess if they want their bees to survive. Taking too much honey will kill your bees. Instead of going on the attack, why don’t you do some more research? You’ll find that the author of this article is right on.

      • daeanaira

        It works be hard to abuse or over extract. The full kit comes with a Langstroth brood box for the bees to make a fully natural honey comb colony, the flowframe then goes on top to harvest any extra honey that is produced by the colony. You only pull from the overflow.

      • Arl Clems

        I was starting to think I was the only one who got the point Maryam was making so thankyou Josh!! I don’t know if it is a good invention or not. I thought it was a good idea when I first saw it but on closer inspection I’m not so sure. I do think due to its perceived simplicity that it encourages people with little knowledge of bee keeping to delve into keeping bees and like many fads most people will tire of it very quickly and it will end up at the dump with all the other fad inventions so I doubt that it will help increase bee populations. If anything it may allow for greater spread of disease and pests within bee habitats because of the average persons lack of bee education. As many people who may purchase a flow-hive are doing it for the honey and not to increase bee populations then I guess they might not be overly concerned about bee health. I’m not sure if it is directed at commercial producers or not. Is the flow-hive better or worse than existing set-ups? I don’t know but I do think that the way we use bees really needs to change because without them we are f*#^ed. But as with all things human the all-mighty dollar is God and nothing, not even our impending demise, will make a difference to those who can make a difference.

        • Maryam Henein

          I am continuously surprised at how vitriolic people get over this article, attacking me personally for writing quite a successful story in that it inspired debate and discussion. If you suddenly give a shit about bees because you can now enjoy their honey on tap or because you beekeeper can now make a better living selling honey, congrats. You are part of the establishment. I am more of a top bar or skep kind of gal at heart. I revere the bees. They are magical. The ways they have showed up in my life while making vanishing of the bees is beyond this earthly realm. To suggest that i am jealous is really actually funny. Hello, i am not an inventor. I am a journalist who writes stories like this to share information and inspire critical thinking.

      • Crosswind

        So the main contention with this device is that because it has simplified the process it *might* open beekeeping up for abuse and people *might* not have as much respect for the art of beekeeping by taking shortcuts? By that logic we should condemn all computer use by teens because they *might* look at porn, or we should ban chocolate because people *might* abuse it and become obese.

  • It seems that the question of the use of something like the FlowHive boils down to a perspective of one’s relationship to the bees. How do you as a person relate to the bees as beings? There is a sense amongst many of the beekeepers I work with that being a beekeeper requires a fine tuning of the senses, a meditation, on the bees, and what they represent in the world. Our relationship to the bees is not about honey production, about treating the bees as producers, or about making beekeeping work easier. On the contrary, we tend to revel in the fact that beekeeping is difficult, requires time and energy, and encourages a slower, methodical and calm demeanor.

    I agree with Maryam and others who have written that the FlowHive may contribute to the problem of speeding up or simplifying a complex process simply for the sake of convenience. I do not deny that people who have given to the FlowHive cause are concerned about bees and saving our pollinators, but there are many other ways to support bees and beekeepers whose methods have been tried and true. One commentator mentions that there is only critique, but no practical solutions. Here are a few ways to support the work being done now:

    1) Find your local beekeeper and mentor with him/her. Most beekeepers are happy to have people join them for all different levels of bee work, from checking hives, to honey processing. I will often take people with me on swarm removals and checks in my bee sanctuaries, and I LOVE teaching people about bees, especially newbees.

    2) Learn to keep bees PATIENTLY. Beekeeping is HARD. It requires careful dedication, meditation and attention which is contradictory to the idea of an easy honey extraction. While a tool like the FlowHive won’t guarantee a beekeeper to be inattentive, it can certainly contribute to it. The energy and time it takes to microwave a meal is significantly less than making a meal from scratch. Simplfying the process can help take us down this road. Patience and conscious attention are of the utmost importance.

    3) Support local beekeepers. We can get really excited about new things or excited about a cause, and want to help. While our intentions can be good, the outcome can be less the beneficial (think of all of the times we have donated to catastrophe causes, only to discover the funds never made it where we wanted them to go, or were not used appropriately.) Local beekeepers often have a sense of reverence and appreciation for bees and can always use financial support. Look to your own backyard!

    Thanks, Maryam. I was having a tough time articulating my own critiques of items like FlowHive, and you hit on them precisely! Thanks!

    • 2old2bother

      I’m sure every change in bee keeping has been met with resistance from traditionalists. You say that beekeeping is hard. Well, yes it is, so viable tools (of which there are many…just look at any beekeeping supply catalog) that may help it become not so hard should be cautiously welcomed, not spurned out of hand. Anyone serious about beekeeping will know that regardless of the honey harvesting method, in order to keep the colony thriving, you will need to regularly inspect your hive. So again if this hive makes it one less time you need to go into and disrupt your colony, then in the long run that’s a good thing. As far as disrupting or killing bees, harvesting the “traditional” way kills lots of bees also. Its unavoidable. Just as some bees are killed everytime you do an inspections, no matter how slow, patient or careful you try to be. I think this new product should be given time to prove it’s worth or lack there of. Nothing is ever as terrific as it’s touted, but it may be just the thing for the right person and situation.

      • Mini Putin

        The simple fact is that people that know a lot more about bee keeping than you think it is just a fad and will not “revolutionize” beekeeping. How much beekeeping experience do you have?

        • 2old2bother

          Admittedly I have limited experience, but I am learning and that means keeping an open mind. It may well turn out that this is just a “fad” as you think, but it could be the next big thing. Or it could be the thing that gets many people interested and started into beekeeping who may then decide to follow a more “traditional” route. Your “coffin style” hive is considered a fad by many old time/traditional beekeepers (at least in my area in Norther Virginia) so what ever works and promotes beekeeping can’t be a bad thing. after all, isn’t the important point to get more managed hives to increase the pollinator populations? Don’t be so closed minded.

          • Mini Putin

            So someone that knows little about it is an expert on what is a :fad that has been used since the Minoan era 1682 BC and is currently in use in Tanzania, Kenya and West African countries. It is also used extensively in SA. I have already mentioned my rationale on why ( in the thread) this will be a failed experiment because more intelligent people than you or I have studied this for hundreds of years. Honey “on tap” is an expensive, bad idea.

          • 2old2bother

            You know, it is people like you, who, while certainly knowledgeable think they are the end all authority on a subject. I admitted I am not an expert, never claimed to be. I am learning and am not jaded by my own convictions. I don’t condemn an idea just because it isn’t the way it’s always been done. What works for you, works for you. Super keep doing it. If this new thing doesn’t work, then find, you get the satisfaction of saying I told you so. You are the kind of person that gives this or any activity a bad impression and discourages anyone else from wanting to get involved.

          • Mini Putin

            Nope. I merely stated my informed opinion from dozens of books and seminars. In my opinion this is a bad idea because it does not teach people the proper care of bees but pushes the notion it is easy to raise bees and drain the honey when you so desire. If people decide to learn how to care for bees and the populations increase, great! I will admit my incorrect stance and move along. Unfortunately humanity has and never will behave in such a fashion. I encourage people to enter into beekeeping but do so with caution and understanding that many of us do so which is not for profit but because it is enjoyable and necessary.

          • 2old2bother

            Now that is a reasonable attitude. Actually, from what I’ve seen/experienced so far, if someone just bought this hive to start out, they probably wouldn’t have much success. I think most people would try to learn a bit about bee keeping before they jumped in, as it isn’t cheap to get started, and the potential for pain (from stings) is pretty high. I would think most people would do some learning if just to prevent the stings! I personally don’t care about getting honey from my colony, I only wanted to increase the pollinator population in my area.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sadly you forget one little point about the FlowHive.
      Many times on the FlowHive website the inventers keep telling people to JOIN a local Bee Club.
      My own club has gained many dozen new beekeepers with FlowHives. The Hives work and the newbees learn. A WIN WIN situation.

  • This is elitist bullsh$t. I have no previous experience or interest in beekeeping but the flow hive made me think ” hey I
    might be able to handle that”. That’s enough! Period! Get over yourselves and realize how much attention this product has brought to the current “bee problem” . You should be ashamed that you took this stance!

    • Mini Putin

      Which is the typical “I don’t know what the fuck I am talking about but here is my idiot opinion”. There is more written literature on bees than ANY other subject including the bible.

  • Well I purchased the Flo Hive and was excited at the potential of feeling like this might make me capable of such an endeavor. I won’t get into all the excitement and wonderment and fun its been for me to learn more about our little buzzing friends. But what I will say is no thanks to a very condescending article to people like myself. You may want to perhaps revise it and try not to sound holy’er then though to all of us amateurs. After all we may not come from “a a long family connection with bees”. We might be average Joe folks from Detroit are are familiar with the Bee’s plight and thought this would be an endeavor to learn and experience from and if their lucky get some Honey. How about instead of not being rude and telling us “lazy, hungry honey-eaters who are also terrified of being stung. It will create a generation of oblivious people who don’t know the delicate mechanics of the beautiful hive.” Which by the way I am the last one scared to be stung by a bee. Maybe you could come down for a moment from your thrown and maybe humbly share your knowledge and experience and well help those of us who fell for a gimic. You almost could have sounded genuinely concerned for the bees welfare but your jealous, disdain and contempt pretty much washed that out for me.

    • Mini Putin

      I am a certified bee keeper and agree with the author and I don’t even own a “thrown”. I use a coffin style hive like they use in West Africa and is very easy to manage.

      • 2old2bother

        I know many “traditional” old time bee keepers in this area who look down their noses on the “top bar” or “coffin style” hive you mention. It was once a “new” type of hive configuration (it was developed by aid organizations to
        help African communities cultivate and keep bees…it was NOT a traditional way of keeping bees in Africa)

        • Mini Putin

          It is actually not “new” in any sense as the top bar dates back to the days of Crete 1600-1450 BC. There is also Tanzanian top bar hives, Kenyan top bar hives as well as various other styles that are “top bar” and yes it was was introduced in the 60’s although it had been in use for thousands of years. Traditional in African terms meant wild harvesting but in terms of apiary management is considered a standard now. The primary reason is ease of management and less disturbing of the hive since bees in Africa are a bit more aggressive due to the “traditional methodology employed. They can continue to “turn down their nose” and I have managed both and found the top bar coffin to be much more conducive to inspection, pest management and harvet.

          • 2old2bother

            I actually agree with you on the top bar hive, but since it was/is rather looked down on in this area I decided to “learn” the activity as practiced in my area. when I feel I am a bit more accomplished and capable, I may try to transition to a top bar type colony in the future, irregardless of the local “traditional wisdom”.

          • Mini Putin

            Good for you!. I do hope that the flow hive inspires people to learn “beekeeping” and not “beehaving”.

    • luvmustangs

      I have to agree. I am just interested in a low maintenance way to get my trees pollinated, maybe provide a safe haven for some bees and possibly a little honey for myself. I am not interested in “commuting” with bees or even being a bee buddy. I was interested in this article to find out if it works not to see if I could qualify or be honored as a bee “purist” all I want to know is does it work. I didn’t think the cost was really prohibitive considering no suit, no smoker, no centrifuge and I not terrified of bees but if there is a way to minimize my risk of being stung im all for it. so finally DOES IT WORK????

      • Maryam Henein

        Wow.

    • Sue

      Hi Carrie. You mentioned “…fell for a gimic.” Do you feel the Flo Hive is a gimic or do you like it? Just wondering because I would like to have bees but on a very small scale. 1. I need some polinators because I have several fruit trees and 2. I would like just a bit of honey. I too am from Michigan and would like some pointers.

      • cory

        Hello Sue,

        Cory here from http://www.beekeeperconnection.com All you need to do is read a few books about beekeeping. You will see that harvesting honey isn’t a chore nor is tending to the bees on a weekly basis. I recommend you purchase two langstroth hives and two nucs to start. You will be sitting by the hive drinking a warm drink every morning in no time.

        thanks,

        cory

    • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

      yes!!!

  • Hi,
    thanks for the interesting article.

    I have kept bees as a hobby for 20 years.
    I am interested in the flow hive because it may save time and money .

    Bees don’t need people to cuddle them and care for them.
    They need us to stop chopping down trees and spraying pesticides all over the place.

    There are more feral european-bee hives in Australia than domesticated hives.
    I have noticed a reduction in my area (of feral bee-hives) since the introduction of the Small hive-beetle. Which fortunately does not seem to affect the small native stingless-bees.
    200 hundred years ago there were no European honey-bees in this country.
    Our concern for them has nothing to do with natures special-balance, they are being used to feed a human population that is growing by 3 million per week.

  • I can certainly appreciate purist sentiment, but this level of negativity doesn’t seem rational. I started reading this article wanting very much to be on your side of the fence because I think that a healthy amount of skepticism is always a good idea before a purchase and finding a critical blog post immediately induced a powerful confirmation bias… but this blog post reads a bit like it was written by a niche artist who resents financial success and also happens to be a vegan who is really hungry and EXTRA cantankerous. There may be something to your objections about the materials the Flo hive utilizes, but, frankly, that the rest of the opinion is largely unreasonable and/or irrational makes me wonder if there is actually any problem with plastic comb.

    If it matters, I want a hive because the beekeeper in my neighborhood moved away and my fruit tree production has fallen way off. Is that hipster? Am I a honey robber? I look at it as filling a need for pollinators; honey will be a pleasant by product… Why not buy a better mousetrap?

    • Maryam Henein

      i am glad this article has spurred so much talk. This is a certain view . i am actually not a vegan or cantankerous. Why not commune with bees and not meddle in their hive by adding fake combs. These are projections of who I am. People are free to think what they want and they can justify their purchase.

      • Arthuro Mehretu

        Maryam, have you ever been to a supermarket?

      • “Meddle in their hive”?! How is the standard process of smoking the bees, using a fume board, disassembling their home, and removing the wax from their comb any less meddling? Think about it, “communing” is an intimate exchange. The experienced bee keeper may feel as one with the bees but the bees do not share this sentiment. If they did they wouldn’t need to be drugged and chased off with a nauseous scent just so that they don’t organize into a bee army and kill the harvester. If this was somehow still “communing” the bee keeper wouldn’t need to wear the funny space suit that keeps them from being stung.

        • chartliner

          The drones are also dragged out against their will to die after they are no longer needed. It is a ruthless organization, hardly a friendly commune. Nature is cruel.

      • Nick Eberle

        You know the boxes that you use are also a fake hive. Maybe you should let them make wild hives and climb the trees they are in to rob them. Let the bees be free! All jokes aside I see your perspective buy the number of colonies that people will be keeping all over the world with this invention has to be a good thing.

        • Paul

          Feral European honey bees are now a threat to dome Australian birds. The bees take the tree hollows and these were the birds nesting spots. Australian native bees are small and stingless.

      • Steven Chehey

        Well just in case you were unaware, the full kit comes with a Langstroth brood box for the bees to make a fully natural honey comb colony, the flowframe then goes on top to harvest any extra honey that is produced by the colony. Granted I get that the flowframe is like trying to carry on a conversation at a rock concert, IE no one can hear each other.

      • Steve

        You can’t force your own morality on others. People have used bees as a tool for thousands of years to extract honey and pollinate crops. You are free to disagree with it and not practice it yourself, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with you. I think you should strip naked cover yourself in honey and commune with your bees if you choose. I am in it for the honey and pollination.

    • Pam

      I agree with you. You’ve said it well Cleo.

    • Les Hildebrandt

      other point taken is once the honey is even taken from a traditional hive it is transported through rubber or plastic and refined to a degree and put in plastic or glass for sale so this writer defeated there holistic approach and is just a old school farmer resistant to change or even more competition in the end.
      I have worked with bees before and these would help commercial farmers in production/labor as they would only be used for supers only as we say and removed to be cleaned in the fall saving much labor during the season flipping frames in and out and running back to extract and pray they dont fall apart in catastrophic failure in the spinners and then being short and need to make replacements late in the nights grrrrr nuff said !

      • Bushy

        Commercial beekeepeers won’t use this sustem for one simple reason – it is far too expensive !!!

        The setup costs (around $600 per hive for small part time operators..) means that a commercial beekeeper with around 1200 hives will need to find over HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to change over !
        That’s some nine – ten times the cost of installing a completem new plant !

        The main market for this system will likely be hobbyists with only 20-30 hives, and who don’t intend on getting much bigger..

        Envouraging people to keep bees without ,examining hives will only increase ignorance about hive health, pests and diseases.
        It is no coincidence that the main interest in this invention is coming from non-beekeepers ans small-time “fringe” operators..

        P.S. others on here need to note that genuine “Vegans” don’t eat honey, nor keep bees…

        • Karen

          It’s $600 for a full hive. Commercial beekeepers already have hives, they would just need to buy the frames to put in the existing hives.

          • Bushy

            Apparently it will still cost over $200 per hive just to replace the frames in two boxes ?

            The average fulltime honey producer running a couple of thousand hives could therefore be looking at 4,000 supers worth of frames..
            Even with a volume discount that could still be around $400k for a 2000 hive operation ?
            Compared with around $50 – 60,000 for a decent sized extracting plant (say around 400 boxes a day..).

            It also has to be remembered that commercial beekeepers these days use 1500kg (1000 litres) bulk honey containers for storage, rather than 44 gal. drums; (your 15 and 20 litre pails are only used for short-term handling, not bulk storage..).

            For a commercial beekeeper, there would still be the transfer of honey to these bulk containers, and forklift and truck movements of full containers.

            (And yes, for anybody who’s wondering : I have been around bees for much of my life, I have worked with commercial beekeepers, run my own sideline honey business since the 1970s – and I attended Hawkesbury Ag’ college (UWS) here in NSW..)

            I still believe that the main market for this system wil be hobbyist/amateur apiarists running up to 30 hives or so, and preferably in a decent honey production location.

          • Steve

            Commercial beekeepers have already invested in all the extraction and processing equipment that makes sense on a commercial level. Even inexpensive extractor more suitable for home use still involved significantly more labor in cleaning and use. Commercial beekeepers also regularly use a large amount of chemical pesticides, feed sugar water, and transport their bees across huge distances in trucks to pollinate monocrops. Not everything a commercial beekeeper does is good for bees or honey production and should never be held as the ideal for beekeepers.

          • Sim

            For hundreds of years before sugar production nearly every household in Britain had a few behives. Now suddenly the purists are extolling commercial mass production. As you said so using feeding and transport methods which can in no way be called natural.
            Elitism and condescending to small operators learning how to keep bees is a little strange.
            Then the article claims the high ground by saying “Most beekeepers, including myself, will tell you that honey is just a bonus. I keep bees because I love having them around. It’s a bee-centric, rather than honey-centric, endeavor.”
            A bit weird considering he is making a living from bees and teaching about them which ultimately is paid for by the bees honey production.
            “Terrified of being stung” like the previous method is “Macho” or something. So obviously to someone of his calibre should no a bee sting causes the death of the bee. Again, smacks of elitism. No one can do as well as we the old guard etc.
            So what is being uplifted as a prefered method is effectively the mass production mono culture methodology.
            I wonder what the crash of a truck carrying 100.000’s of bees from one site to another works in favour of commercial mass production. As a friend of mine used to say, “How is that working for you?
            I am not against commercial production but lets not overstate the case in its favour. Anything get people learning about bee production is good. It is a requirement Australia to have beehives a person attend a recognised course to learn about husbandry and diseases so that there is some sort of a standard.

          • chickgirl

            Yeah, a bee sting does cause the death of a bee but at least it is a natural instinct. It is not “macho” to be stung it is natural. It is the bee’s own choice to sting you. It is not, however their choice to be forced into tacky plastic combs.

          • Sim

            MS sufferers often get stung deliberately as it seems to help their condition.
            It is not their choice to have a lot of things happen to them. ie forced into hives, Plastic or otherwise, trucked here and there confusing their natural orientation, having their hives robbed of honey, queens, etc etc. Still this is what we humans do on this earth. Manage and micromanage.

          • chickgirl

            I don’t harvest more than 2 combs a year, I never re-queen and I only take bees that would have died if not taken, NEVER from the wild.

          • Douglas Lee Davis

            Thats nice. Do you get a medal or trophy for being such a pursit?

          • chartliner

            The drones are dragged out of the hive against their will to die after they are no longer needed. The whole operation is ruthless, and yet the author waxes poetic about the spiritual bliss of it all. Nature tends to be cruel, humans (clever monkeys) are just a little smarter than other species and have learned to exploit the food chain. This invention increases our efficiency at exploiting hives. Luddites don’t like progress.

          • Jason Thurston

            And transporting them all over the place spreads bee diseases and mites. Beekeepers from every state take their bees to California where the mingle and spread diseases to one another and then the bees are brought back to their home states and spread to the local beekeepers and the wild bees.

          • Crosswind

            The thing that you’re not figuring in (and I’m not saying you’re wrong mind you) is the savings in labor costs. How long does it take to collect honey from a typical hive used by commercial beekeepers? From what I understand, with this one, you spend maybe 5 minutes getting it set up, move on to the next one, and then circle back after a given time and spend 5 minutes reversing your previous actions to collect the honey and reset the hive.

          • Margaret Dixon

            the price of 7 flow plastic frames is over $600, the hive and frames cost over $900

        • Josh

          Thank you! It’s good to see there is another rational, thoughtful person here!

        • studiozuzi

          Correct, But it is IDEAL for urban bee keepers with a verandah or garden roof!

        • Livefreeordie Donttreadonme

          I dont think you take into account, that commercial beekeepers have that much capital to spend easily. Also, the wages of hours of toiling work that the employees undergo in the complicated parts almost completely disappears. The product pays for itself, and rather quickly.

        • chartliner

          Why don’t vegans eat honey? It is not an animal product, it is the nectar from flowers that is captured by bees.

      • Joodee Woodee

        Ummm you seem to be referring to commercial harvesting. Backyard beekeepers dont necessarily put honey through plastic or rubber. If you have a Warre hive, for instance, you simply cut the honey filled comb off the frame and either eat it from the comb, or crush it in muslin cloth and catch it in glass jar. I saw the promotional video showing this process to be difficult and messy, but I just harvested one frame from my hive and an ordinary steak knife cut the comb from the frame like butter. I cut it into small squares and we ate if from the plate. Took less than 5 mins to complete the process. Many of the jusitifications and criticisms here appear to be confusing commerical harvesting, which would take up an amount of time proportional to the amount of hives they have. Backyard beekeepers with 1 or 4 hives only take the amount of time they wish to stay with their bees. I do a lot of observation of my girls at the entrance to the hive. I can sit there for hours watching their activity – much better than posting or like rubbish on fb even (now there’s a thought!).

        • Steve

          Most beekeepers, not all, do use plastic at some point in processing or storage. Just because you don’t, doesn’t mean most don’t. A Warre hive doesn’t do anything a Langstroth hive can’t. You are referring to comb honey, and can be achieved with top bar frames as well. A Warre hive is sometimes easier to work on and claims to be a more natural bee habitat (which is bullshit). They are also completely unsuitable for cold northern climates.

          • Joodee Woodee

            The hive itself, whether it be a Warre, Langstroth, Flow Hive, plastic etc etc etc is not a natural environment for bees – you are right. Its not the Warre hive to claims to be natural, just that the ideologies and methods behind keeping bees in top bar hives tend to be more ‘natural’ and certainly bee-centric, than many other methods because bees are allowed to do what they do with minimal interference and mostly without the expectation of honey on tap to steal whenever you want. Certainly not cracking open their brood comb to harvest what you can’t see or are not interested in looking at, and think is honey! If there was a bullshit metre for all the hives and connecting ideologies that people who have certain kinds of hives tend to follow, the Flow Hive would come out on top of all that as bullshit, in my opinion (based on empirical evidence as collected by my eyes in various places)!!

      • Jason Thurston

        Looks to me like it will kill larvae and emerging bees that are in the cells as well as crush adults that are cleaning out cells while the cells are being split. Also, I doubt it will hold up very long to all the propolis and wax.

        • David Sajdak

          These are the supers which only contain honey. The brood cells are in the bottom and are left alone. This seems like a great system. I could definitely envision many beekeepers going with this system and phasing out and trying to sell other equipment. I think flow hive is significantly less invasive to the bees than tradition extraction methods. I don’t know if there is any truth to the claim of bees not liking the plastic. I do however agree that this may encourage over-harvesting by inexperienced beekeepers. That said, inexperienced beekeepers will fail using traditional methods as well in many cases. Commercial beekeepers lose hives every year. This article is rubbish.

          • Jason Thurston

            Ah good to know…

    • Zebedi

      As a beekeeper i assure you that this is not a practical gadget or solution for several reasons. Different species of honey bee have different comb cell sizes, one size does not fit all. Capped,mature honey does not flow very easily, hence the need to spin it in a centrifuge. The honey is shown flowing into a jar or onto pancakes..with no bees in sight. In the real world there would be bees all over the place robbing that honey as fast as it could come out of that little tap. I agree with the author, this is a gimmick that has taken advantage of a gullible and ill-informed public.

      • Greg

        It also shows the collection in a time lapse video…. I wonder how much time they allowed it to flow out…

      • Scott Ferrier

        Zebedi I agree I am a commercial beekeeper and beleive this is a gimmick but may be used by someone with one hive for conversation only otherwise it is not practical

        • Bushy

          My quick calculations showed me that a hobbyist might keep up to 25 or 30 hives on one site, depending on local conditions…

          Any more than this, and economy of scale supports a more traditional extraction and packing plant..

          • Steve

            That is a sensible interpretation. At the current cost of frames, this does not support commercial setups real well. They could be very beneficial for new beekeepers that don’t want to invest in all the equipment at once. Having one main collection super on your hive will also save your back if you in a situation where heaving heavy honey laden supers above your waist presents problems.

      • Miss Louise Brown

        Just how many species of bee do you keep ?
        In Australia we use the Common European Honey Bee. This is what the FLOWHIVE is meant for.
        Our native stingless bees require a totally different environment
        I do not know what video you watch but on the FLOWHIVE website bees can clearly be seen and the developers of FLOWHIVE explain that the jars really need to be covered up to the pipe the honey is coming from.
        I am curious why you say mature honey does not flow as the viscosity of any honey old or new is primarily influenced by temperature. Please note the honey coming from the flow hive is at standard hive temperature. Yes when taken away from the hive it can cool down and have high viscosity. It would be very foolish to atempt to harvest honey in the cooler months.
        Please remeber this is filmed in mainland Australia, a warm climate most of the year.

        • Zebedi

          I live in South Africa where we have two honey bee species, Apis Mellifera Scutelata and Apis Mellifera Capense, which have a slightly different cell size requiring different foundation wax.
          Gravity draining honey is not efficient compared to spinning it, and in a commercial setup this gadget is just not practical. Is the beekeeper expected to have 1500 jars sealed onto 1500 hives for the day while the honey gravity feeds into them, and then collect all these little jars at the end of the day without any bees getting into them, transport them all to the bottling facility, empty them all out into the bulk tanks for filtering, sorry, it seems insane.
          Spin the honey directly into the bulk tanks for filtering and bottling and be done with it.
          This also gives you the opportunity to check hives for AFB, Veroa mite, wax moth hive beetle etc that you wouldn’t see by just turning on a tap.

          • Miss Louise Brown

            Love your arithmetic.
            Do you mean to say that any commercial beekeeper in SA that has 1500 hives collects it in one day ????
            Mmmm. Distance X Kg of frames X size of transport vehicle X time to carefully open each hive X inspection time X reassembly time = mighty fast people, mighty big trucks, mighty long days, mighty lot of hives on one site.

            Please!

            Are you a commercial Beekeeper ?

          • Will

            Hello. I was curious to know how you transfer a nuc of bees into an easyflow hive… Do you have any experience with doing this?

          • Miss Louise Brown

            Will
            Only the Super contains the FlowHive frames.
            The bottom box is the Brood Box with Standard timber Langstoth frames.
            You nuc is the nucleus of a new brood for the hive so you tranfer the nuc bees the same way as any other hive into the brood box.
            Usually I prefer night time as they are calmer. I don’t let them access the Super till they are established and I am certain the queen is happily laying eggs with a strengthing hive.
            When I am happy the brood box is strong and a supply of flowers available then my little workers get access to the Super or Top Box be it a FlowHive or Langstroth.
            Hope this helps.

          • Will

            It does help… Thank you Miss Brown.

          • Combat Veteran Seabee

            How do you separate the brood from the super? Just add it later on? I’m going to be new to this in about 4 years and I’m gaining as much info as I can now before I start out.

          • Miss Louise Brown

            At no time do just turn a tap to get honey ???? the Flowhive creators onsist that at all times you need to inspect for desease and pests.

            The FlowHive BROOD BOX is a standard wax Langstroth system, you get to choose the size foundation.
            This is a first generation of a new idea for collection only.
            As far as collection commercialy new ideas are always a challenge.
            Why be negative ?

            If I owned 1500 hive as a commercial Aparist I would explore ever new concept to gain on the economy of scale to increase profit and eliminate all the costly machinery and opportunities to spread desease.

            Curiously the honey that drains from the FlowHive SUPER does not require filtering as there are no bee bits from being crushed in pulling out frames or foreign bits from all the transport of frames to the processing factory. Pests do not usually end up in capped honey cells.

            Interestingly it cost nothing to leave a number of frames drain overnight through a sealed collection system. Individual frames can be selected after inspection by actuators. And monitored. FlowHive frames can be removed as simply as Langstroth frames.
            Since when do collection containers need to be glass. As might be with a hobbyists ?

            Sounds like you have not seen bulk
            Honey containers starting at 20ltrs upwards. Thes could be coneected to multiple hives, just a question of plumbing and hive position in a sealed system. The container size being limited to the method of loading on a flat bed truck ????.
            Mmmm maybe a hydraulic lift as on thousands of truck currently on use.

            This would beat back breaking manual lifting of 1500 frames in a day ????.

          • David Fallstead

            Commercial beekeepers do not run 1500 hives, they run 15,000 to 50,000 hives, bees are palletized four to a pallet, loaded with fork lifts onto semis, covered with nets and ran for hundreds of miles to the next pollination site. THIS is not healthy for bees either, it stresses them. The Egyptions first did migratory beekeeping on the Nile, bees kept on a barge and floated downstream at night maybe 5 miles. The stress comes from bees having to re-orient their location with every move, otherwise they do not know the honey flow or where home is and thus are lost to elements. Again I can buy a used extraction setup for 10,000 hives for 1000 us dollars, less than the cost of 2 flow-hives. And plastic frames were commercial beekeeper gimmicks that the bees do not like, given a choice wood frames and natural beeswax. Try keeping bees for 45yrs and you may come to understand the needs of the bees.

          • Bushy

            HERE in Australia, with average annual production around 100 kgs/hive, most commercial beekeepers are running between 1200 and 2 or 3 thousand hives…
            Only a handful operate 5 – 6,000 hives. I’m not aware of any running over 10,000 hives down here.

            A 1200 hive operation in Oz should be mov8ng around 120 or more tonnes a year, on average..

          • Karen

            You’re talking about the bees used to pollinate the Almond trees in California. Not all commercial beekeepers do that. There’s one here, locally who harvests “varietal honey” and never do the bees leave their beeyards.

          • Kathleen Truax

            not to mention… not all of the hives transported from the East Coast to the West coast makes it back to the East Coast, there have been thousands of hives that are burnt not making the expensive ride home!

          • Bushy

            You have never used a large scale fully mechanised extraction plant, have you, Miss Brown ?

            HOW MANY commercial scale apiarists will want to spend over HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to change systems ?
            That would produce very expensive honey..

            P.S. most commercial operators handle honey by the super these days, NOT individual frames (forklifts, palets, eboxers and automatic uncappers have changed that..).

          • Joodee Woodee

            We had a couple turn up at our last Beek meeting with a request, “We just got our Flow Hive. Can someone just come out and set it all up for us. We don’t want to touch the bees at all!! Just do it for us!” Needless to say no one offered to do that, but we did invite them to join the Association and to come regularly to our meetings.

          • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

            did they ask for help and did anyone show them what to do for themselves?

          • Clare Bear

            Perhaps you should look into the company’s set up in more detail. They have a commercial option that allows for the honey to be collected into a bulk collection vessel.

            They’ve tested this over many years with many different beekeepers throughout the world

          • Karen

            Also, you still need to maintain the Flow Hive as you would any hive. You do need to look at the bees, you do need to medicate if you medicate, you do need to inspect the frames and make sure that they’re capped properly before harvest. The *only* thing that this gadget changes, is the way it’s harvested. Being older, and not having a great back, I’m hoping this might work better for me, not having to carry away full supers to harvest.

          • Steve

            You hit the nail on the head. And you would only need one harvest super that you can continually empty until the end of the season when you remove it. My setup is two deeps for brood and food, a medium depth super for winter food reserve, and then my flow hive super on top. The only honey I will ever take is from the flow hive. The rest will for the bees to live on. My bad back will not allow me to keep stacking supers if there is a good nectar run.

          • aviva1964

            We just got a flow hive super with three frames to trial – I’m glad to hear that setup works as its how were were planning on doing it also – only difference it gets cold where we are so they need two full mediums for winter. So the flow hive would ONLY be used to harvest above and beyond what the bees need, and regular inspections are done just as they would be without an extra super, and it wouldn’t overwinter on the hive.

      • adrenelized

        How many flow hives do you operate? How many flow hives has the author tested?

      • Cuyler Daine Clonts

        You are as bad as the author of this site, “there would be bees all over the place robbing that honey as fast as it could come out of that little tap”….are you kidding me, that is so ridiculous. I have been around hives, and I completely disagree.

      • Mjolhner

        Wrong. I harvested with no protection and not one bee bothered me.

    • BDC

      You took the words right out of my mouth Cleo

    • Joodee Woodee

      I would like to question why you would need a Flow Hive if you only wanted pollinators? You don’t need an expensive gadget if you just want pollinators.

    • studiozuzi

      I have the honey flow on my roof in the middle of Tokyo… I had a wooden 6 frame prior to this one. Same bees, Same scenario. They are thriving, making honey and all I have to do is turn on the tap. No mess, No fuss, No having to spin the wax/honey machine… Less bee deaths. We have to consider nature and modernization… We have to find a way for them to connect.

    • chickgirl

      I keep bees because I love them. Not because I want their honey, the one thing about that honey? It is THEIRS, THEY have worked hard to produce it, THEY should have it.

      • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

        good lord. well good for you. but others like to keep bees because they enjoy their honey. some people like to keep chickens because they enjoy their eggs. or because they love to eat chickens. I keep beer kegs because my beer kegs provide me with delicious beer. As it is, to a non-bee person, the guy waxing all judgmental about the people who don’t want to commune with the bees and who looks down his proboscis at those who want to try the new gadget comes across as a bit of a hipster asshole to me. And now, I’m going to have a little big of egg in my beer, with a honey chaser. xo

    • Tourmaline Aquarianox

      Plastic comb is not new to bee keeping .. I have had one in my hive for 12 years….. Lol the bees still have not used both sides of it… they hate plastic..

    • Fawwaz Azfar

      Agreed. I love the idea of the product but I also tried looking for its negativity. The first point about the plastic comb was good but the rest seems irrational and that is not good enough for me not to love it.

  • theallseeingmaster .

    I think the writer is pissed that he didn’t think of this first. The inventors of this process grasped, with both hands and their brains, the most basic concept of capitalism: ‘identify a need and fill it’. This is a GREAT idea and, IMO, it deserves to succeed.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Actually there has been a TV Expose of the Inventor, called Australian Story.
      Far from being a Capitalist the inventor live an alternate life in a remote area of North Queenslad in Australia.
      He and his wife and child live off grid, drive an old pick up fueled by biodiesal.
      The house is the second half of the work shed. Yes he is computer savvy and uses alternate energy but the truth was for ten years the man simply wanted a more gentle way to collect honey.
      As a multigenerational beekeeper it upset him to pull honey frames from hives damage the combs and kill bees.
      It never occured to him, when all he wanted from a Crowd Funding site was $70,000 for a new machine for development, that his work would be judged by the beekeeping world as a revolutionary development.
      The world has beaten a path to the door of a humble and simple inventor.

      • daeanaira

        Miss Louise. I see that you say you have a Flow Hive. Has it been working for you?

  • Dave

    i guess nobody read the part about the bees frequency and the fact that this is plastic ? plastic is a petroleum byproduct people. the idea sounds good but i think i will just buy my honey from my local producer. support your local farmers and all things will work together. enough with big box store type bullshit

    • Tu Ne Cede Malis

      Are the Flow™ frames made from BPA free plastic?
      In: Frequently Asked Questions Viewed: 32,171 times

      We share your concerns around plastics and have worked hard to find the very best food grade materials.

      The clear viewing ends of the frames are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufactures have assured us that it’s not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured withbisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds.

      The manufactures also say that third-party labs have tested this material and the results have demonstrated that it is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity. The Center frame parts are made from a Virgin Food grade Polypropylene which is also free from any Bisphenol compounds and is widely accepted as one of the safest plastics for food contact. It has also been used for many years in beehives for both Brood and Honey combs.

      We will keep you informed if anything changes and we use any different materials.

      • Robert Howell

        This design was stolen from a man who invented it back in the 40s i believe in spain.

        • Miss Louise Brown

          Sadly many people have had similar ideas BUT the materials and manufacturing did not exist in Spain in the 1040’s.

          By that logic the American inventors, Wilber and Orville Wright stole the invention of the aeroplane from the Italian inventor Leonardo DiVinci.
          Just a matter of materials and time

          Mmm I remember 1940 Spain was a world leader in high grade food plastics and injection moulding right !

          • Robert Howell

            It was stolen from a man in spain. I posted this 5 months ago i do not have the U.S patent on his invention on my computer anymore. I remember it was made from aluminum and the similarity was very much the same. Spain did have mining and manufacturing and hydro electric plants. And Wilbur and Orville they may have not have known it. But artifacts in india that have been uncovered in the last 20 years show toy planes made out of brass. Some engineering in japan was not found out until they had major earthquakes or tsunamis and today the japanese are copying off over 1000 yr architecture. From buildings that did not collapse. Plus you can take out a patent anywhere in the world. But I guess everyone in europe was illiterate. The best inventors came out of other countries and were not americans but were walked over. Thanks to Tesla we have AC current. Before saying stuff did not exist and this and that have an open mind and do a little research. Do not buy into people selling snake oils. This reminds me of people who got money from a website from people online in donations to install solar panels on roadways and have no research to back it up. Seems like a good idea but they have no information on how a car can drive,stop or any other research but yet they throw it on a go fun me website and sheep gladly donate to what they think is a good idea and it is illogical. The mentality of the general public if you have not seen it. People buying 60,000 vehicles and imagine the payments they are making when they could have bought land or down payment on college. Most people have no idea about how much work is. I grew up with bees and have a hive myself. Most people get into a hobby and it is all fun and games but they do not have the responsibility of such things or the time. No one does their research. One time a few years back a friends cousin came from NYC to visit out here and he threw up over when taking him out to milk the cows this man in his 20s did not know milk came from cows. When i was in town one time a girl could not read from the big hand to the small hand on what time it was. The mentality of the general public today is now now now and why do you not have it in stock.I call people neats no education academics training or skills and all you do louise is argue i see from the posts you make. I guess i must be stupid to response someone on here to prove a point it is as if arguing with a monkey in a zoo over i want his banana. Then again you could have a masters degree and not know how to change a tire or do the plumbing or electrical on a house. Common sense is not so common in the world. I guess with that mentality out here we are still at war with the natives.

          • Miss Louise Brown

            ????
            Gee Robert you are touchy.

            What Degrees and life experience do you have apart from keeping bees ? Bee fun to compare notes.

            You seem to know me too well ????
            Actually I only have an ordinary degree in Mechanical engineering. Plus many years in the Chemical industry and the Electronic Industry. I plumbed my own home 40 years ago. I do have an electrical licence.
            When my 4WD has a flat tyre in Outback Australia I don’t have any choice but to change it. I also know how to dig my truck out of mud and sand but apreciate a tree to use my winch to pull me out too when bogged.
            You seem awfully upset because Spain had no polymer ( plastic) industry in the 40’s. General Franco had just not got around to it.
            Too busy building mines and hydroelectrics (actually true). Mr Du pont would not share the secret of NYLON( the wonder plastic of the War years) speaking of war on natives. That was very mean.
            I use solar power/alternate energy and invest in crowd funding AFTER due diligence research.
            I have milked cows, collected eggs and even killed and butchered animals for food when there was no nearby supermarket.
            I have worked in South Africa (love Kudus, great leather and meat) adore Biltong.
            Worked surveying diamond mines in Botswana (based out of Francis Town).
            Flown Geosurvey work at 400 ft over all of Belgium (and Luxumberg).
            Worked near Barrow Island off the North West Coast of Autralia. You need to look up what nasty things were done on Barrow Island to understand my work.
            Enjoyed driving across the Namib desert solo from a break in Swokamund on the African West Coast.
            Yemen was not a great place but I did enjoy the fish when working off Mukulla (South Yemen)watching the boats cross from Somalia.
            I had great fun living with the Bedouins of North Yemen. Australia is my home and I travel across it with pleasure (and great care) as it can be more dangerous than previous places I have been.
            To complete the picture of me I just turned 61, not a bad accomplishment by an Old Short Redheaded Australian Woman.
            My other hobbies apart from Beekeeping are SCUBA diving (30 yr veteren Master Diver, Rescue Specialist), Krav Maga, FPV Drone flying, underwater photography, 3D printing in bioplastics, my vegetable garden. Fishing, sailing, travelling and I am not a bad shot with revolver, automatic, rifle or shotgun. ????
            As they say I have been around the block a few times.
            Cheers
            Louise
            PS I kept a photolog of all my travels. Old school film then digital.
            Maybe you might like to see my pics ????
            PPS I can make a working sun dial and read the time when my watch or satphone is not working. ????

          • Bruce Alvarez

            Article about same (as is frequent in internet articles, it is UNDATED):
            http://www.cdbka.org.uk/index.php/articles/282-legal-problems-looming-for-the-flow-hive

            The patent:
            http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2223561.pdf

            I have no idea if the inventors of the Flow system were even remotely aware of this patent. Since apparently no one has built a hive based on the Spanish man’s patent, it isn’t likely something they would have seen. However, to get a patent you need to show that your invention is different enough from “prior art”.

            You can not patent an idea, you can patent an implementation. If a similar idea is implemented in a different enough way, it can be patented without infringement.

            For instance a man has a patent for a fingernail polish remover – a tube that you pour fingernail polish remover into then put your fingers in one at a time. He has a second patent with a similar device with 4 tubes, you can do all fingers at once. And (bizarrely) he has one with five tubes so you can do your thumb at the same time. How he got 3 separate patents is beyond me but it shows how little the difference needs to be.

            Conceptually the hive systems are similar but the Spanish man’s patent seems to run a “roller” vertically through the sections of comb that effectively “plugs” the bottom cell and forms the inside edges of the comb when closed but when the “roller” is moved to the open position, the honey can drain out. The Flow system moves the sides of incomplete cells (which the bees plug individually) vertically to break the wax so the honey can drain. Additionally the Spanish man’s invention has a “header” connected to the frames at the bottom that brings the honey from all frames to a common drain, the Flow system has a separate drain for each frame. This by itself might be enough to grant a separate patent.

            I am not a patent lawyer and am no expert but I do have a patent related to computer software so have gone through this process to some degree.

          • Kathy Taylor

            But patents have to be renewed every 14 or 20 years (depends on the type) and a patent taken out in one country does not cover all countries.

            It is highly likely that the flow hive inventors did not know about the previous invention, but even if they did I think the patent would have run out some 50 or so years ago.

    • Caitlin Fitzsimmons

      It’s not big box store type bullshit, it’s a father and son who invented something. The family lives in the hippy area of Byron Bay in Australia, has kept bees for three generations, and the son works part time for Greenpeace.

      • Dave

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2IjNBbLESY i am old school. i like things that are friendly to nature, whats wrong with the way these folks do it ? awesome video. and maybe the plastic is not evil but i still like this better

    • Ron McIlroy

      Local is good. How do you know local doesn’t use plastic foundations in the hives? You don’t. Even if you ask you will not know for sure. The only to know for sure is to host your own bees. Also, not all plastic is bad. My bees are healthy and happy with plastic foundations. We read it, we just know our bees don’t see this as a problem. Well, my bees don’t.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Mmm buy your honey from the store in a plastic jar ????

  • George Sprague

    So, I have been curiously following the flow hive for quite some time now saving to invest in my first attempt at honey harvesting. I am ready for purchase but wanted to find some reviews, which is how I came upon your blog or whatever. After reading I am confident in flow hive because you sound like a typical elitist hippie who is afraid of change. You don’t actually review the product at all, you just ramble on about how you have to “be one with the bee”. I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t a bee. Your bees don’t care about you…at all. They are bees. If I had to wear a clunky suit and spray smoke around, I would never consider harvesting honey. I want to let you know that because of your overwhelming negativity, I have decided to purchase my own flow hive. I will think of you with a chuckle, every time I harvest my honey.

    • Benjamin Brown

      for what its worth, some of the stuff the author mentioned will be important for you to acknowledge. I lost some hives when I first started by over harvesting honey, and they starved when suddenly all their nectar sources dried up. so study that…also, spend some time reading about varroa mites
      the cool thing is, being around the bees will probably turn you into a hippy too! they are amazing

      • Joshua Curry

        Even the flow hive guys talk about not over-harvesting. They’ve got tons of info on their page on how to get started. They’re not money-grubbers just trying to sling a product. They know about bee-keeping and have done their best to not only provide a working product, but enough information and sources to help people learn and get started on the right foot. The author of this article doesn’t seem to have even taken a good look at their site or the forums therein!

      • Simonofthepiemans

        As with George, I’ve been trying to do a little research on the flow-hive as I find it an interesting development, and so – like many – have ended up here. What I find quite galling is that many people supporting the original article presume that anyone considering the Flow-Hive are instantly ignorant of any bee husbandry, which only highlights their own arrogant bigotry and undermines their viewpoint somewhat. The Flow-Hive is a product, not the people interested in using it.

    • Rigbee

      If you want to be a beekeeper, you’re definitely going to want a smoker and some sort of protection, especially when you get started.

      If, however, all you’re interested in is “honey harvesting”, may I suggest that the Flow
      Hive is not what you’re looking for. You want a “supermarket”.

    • Arthuro Mehretu

      Exactly what I was thinking when I read the review. Too much negativity around an invention which is 360 from current harvesting techniques. If the reviewer thinks the bees are happy with traditional harvesting, thats laughable. But I like the point the reviewer made on bee communication with in the hive. As someone who studied apiculture, communication is everything to the survival of bees. May be something the inventors need to work on. The second part is the cost. Their production cost is guaranteed not to exceed 20-30$. @ over 600$ for the full automated hive, they are charging an arm and a leg.

      • Frances Duquette Davis

        It is expensive, I agree. But, this isn’t just a box and some frames. If it works, I am willing to pay for this beautiful thing and the invention of it, as well.

      • Cameron Andrew Merkley

        What do you mean

        • Caitlin Fitzsimmons

          I think she refers to communication problems with the bees not being receptive to the smell of plastic like they are with wax. I don’t know if that’s correct or not though.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sorry to burst your bubble George but you will still need the bee suite and tools and a smoker. Modern bee suits are comfy not clunky ????.
      FlowHive only changes one thing. The removal of honey from a hive.
      You will still need to smoke the bees and lift the FlowHive Super (the box on top) to inspect the box below regularly for desease and pests. If present you then need the Beekeeping education to know what to do.
      PS the smoking makes the bees think there is a nearby fire so they retreat into the brood box ???? and leave you alone.

      • Miss Louise Brown

        I invested in a FlowHive and it works with syandard frames in next to the plastic comb.

  • David Gealt

    This was my response to a bunch of people posting this article on my facebook

    “I don’t like this idea for a number of reasons. First bees don’t like building comb on plastic so it will be harder to get them to use. Second, turning that crank could crush any bees working inside the cells (or any larva if a queen excluder isn’t used on the hive) so you might get more bee guts/parts in the honey. Third there is no way the image of just letting it drain into a jar is going to work because open honey like that will invite robbing… the jar would be covered/filled with bees as you’re trying to fill it. The only way to avoid that would be a large collecting system made out of pipes and pumps. This is not cost effective for any beekeeper, hobby or commercial. Also the flow hive super is absolutely going to be more expensive than a traditional super (the box full of comb frames). Fourth you still have to inspect the hive every so often, checking the brood chamber for proper brood laying patterns, check for diseases, checking the honey frames to make sure they’re capped over enough that the honey is “ripe” or ready for harvest… the flow hive will not prevent this at all, no matter how much they say it will. And if you have put the money and effort into the collection system then you have to disconnect and reconnect all that stuff every time you open the hive which will make hive inspections that much harder/slower.

    I could actually probably go on if I thought about it some more”

  • Hocapontas Mango

    I’m no bee keeper… More of a honey lover and major bee supporter. This flo frame sounds like a totally unsustainable practice though… Something that will seamingly start off great, and down the line may disturb the bees. It sounds like it may confuse the hive and possibly they could eventually vacate.

    • John Moser

      I just moved my brood frames around, spacing them further apart and putting some misshapen ones at the end. Seriously, I went in and rearranged my bees’s home. Harvesting honey involves smashing up property and returning it damaged–and crushing some workers in the mean while. Also, pulling frames and top bars moves them up and down, right next to other frames and top bars, which can easily grind bees together, rolling them, injuring them, killing several.

      It’s like crashing through your house and smashing your refrigerator with a sledge hammer so I can steal your eggs and milk.

  • Paul Jones

    I’ll take passion over ignorance any day. While this might not be the most “objective” piece of writing she’s ever posted, If you think this particular piece is too “negative” there is no shortage of articles you can search from experienced beekeepers who think this is a bad idea. I think this article below is the best one I’ve seen. If you want honey, or anything else in life, but don’t want to put forth the time and effort it takes to be a true steward of nature and working in harmony with your animals, you may as well be a factory farmer. This invention quite obviously upsets the balance one should have as a caretaker of animals and reminds me of the Simpsons episode where cows go into a machine and you push a button and a burger comes out. Sorry, I’ll wait til I have the time and patience and mindfulness in my life to keep a tradional hive before I ever work with my bee friends I love so much. http://thewinnebagodiaries.blogspot.com/2015/02/fair-share-honeys-perspective-on-flow.html?m=1

    • Arthuro Mehretu

      Harvesting doesn’t add and take away anything from the quality of produce. Take a walk to work if you think the roads (designed for cars, which are also human inventions) built are also against the law of nature. And if you have a response to my comment write it on sand and pray it reaches me.

      • Mini Putin

        This idea while noble will be a failed experiment.

    • John Moser

      Ignorance is constant. We can address it, and only learn that no man knows everything. Still, you appear a man who, although fortunate to have a romantic sense, also appreciates rational and informed thinking; I think, therefor, I will displace some of your ignorance in general, and you may take that out to ponder many things further, and see if you find other conclusions.

      Poor people today live better than rich nobles of the middle ages. Running water, beds, several sets of clothes, shoes… did you know a shirt required 479 labor-hours to produce in 1810? The cost… at $8.25/hr? $4,000. You get that same shirt at Wal-Mart for $15 now.

      The power loom and other advancements which made this possible brought an enormous downsizing of linear-scale production, which is bad. Upcoming automation will do similar, meaning lots of unemployment. We came out better eventually, but, to digress a little, we need to decrease the cost of labor to slow (and spread over time) the culling of the labor force.

      Each time we eliminate labor costs (reduce price of wages or reduce hours of labor) invested in producing a good, we unemploy some workers. The resultant cheaper goods eventually come down in price (many, many mechanisms at work; this can take weeks or it can take years), leaving remaining consumers with more money, thus more buying power. That means they can buy more goods; we can sell them more goods; and so we can invent new products, expand niche markets, and generally make more stuff. This requires labor, and so we hire back those workers displaced–hence why cutting 50% of the labor force in a short time is very bad, and cutting 50% of the labor force over several decades is a great thing: they’re re-employed by the time we get too many of them out of work.

      Apply this thinking to the Flow hive.

      You have to somehow manage bees. Langstroth stepped past the gum log–a device in which you grew and then DESTROYED the hive–to a system involving much less work. He described how to build everything precisely to minimize burr comb and propolis, and maximize honey production. Langstroth did everything he thought possible to minimize the effort of the beekeeper per pound of honey produced.

      These people have taken another step, reducing the labor invested per pound of honey produced. Langstroth did an excellent job: if you built a proper Langstroth hive with Hoffman frames following Langstroth’s original observations, you could quite likely set it up and never mess with it again, so long as it’s strong enough to resist any and all diseases and pest infestations. Put a brood box, a honey frame box, and then a flow frame, and the hive can fill brood and storage to feed itself over winter, while you can tap excess off the flow frames. Your invested work? A few minutes instead of a few hours. Labor costs vanish.

      You may personally enjoy working with the bees; others may not. This is why we have cat toilets which flush themselves: some people like cats but hate litter boxes. My parents use an automatic dog waterer to ensure the dog has water; this works out well for the dog, since he never wanders around thirsty waiting for someone to refill the 4 ounce water dish.

      Progress.

      • Miss Louise Brown

        Love your replies John but still like to open and inspect all hive to minimise desease and pests.
        In Australia we do not have Veroa yet but are ever vigilant.
        I have seen small hive beetle do terrible damage to a strong hive but by regular inspection small hive beetle and much more can be reduced to only nuisance value.
        PS I invested in the crowd funding of the FlowHive because I am an engineer and believe energy eficiency.
        Although made from polymers (as the correct term for plastics are) the frames should out last many timber frames and eliminated recycling used honey frames, or Stickies as we call the in Australia for obvious reasons.

    • Jan Kuester

      Passion over ignorance, really? I am a retired senior Navy officer and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist…and spent years reminding the anesthesia residents I taught that the passion they felt for the specialty they had embarked upon should drive out their ignorance through careful education, personal experience, and research. Unfortunately in this alleged critique, the author does not utilize any of these criteria.

      I would encourage all who are interested or opposed to the Flow Hive to wait and see. Time will tell. When I was a child there were stories that one day man would fly in space. We did. Walk on the moon? We did. This was accomplished utilizing laws of nature. I have infinite hope that mankind will quit poisoning themselves and the other creatures of our world. I hope that we will nurture the creations around us-bees especially. I am a bk. My girls are sometimes rascals and sometimes quite generous in their tolerance of my antics in their homes.

      My husband and i kept bees in Washington state, using stamped beeswax foundation and plastic foundation. The bees actually showed no preference between the two unless it was stamped white plastic foundation. They absolutely refused to draw out comb on it. We now live in Hawaii and use top bar hives we built as they seem to be offering better protection over the horrible SHB’s (small hive beetles).

      One thing that life and beekeeping have in common is that we either keep moving forward or we are moving backwards. Let’s work together, keep our eyes and minds open, respect and nurture our bees and hope we may increase them in numbers to the benefit of all.

      One issue that give me the shivers is the % of the US bee population that moves from one agricultural assignment to another each spring/summer. A dangerous prospect at best.

      • Miss Louise Brown

        Great opinion piece.
        I invested in FlowHive through the crowd funding site on faith as an Engineer.
        I did my due diligence as an investor and came to the same conclusion as you.
        The world moves forward through believing in individuals.
        God only knows how much medicine has improved through individual risk.
        Bet Mr Langhstroth heard the same comments.
        Thankfully there was no Internet to pull him down in the mid 1800’s ????
        Lets try the new ideas ????

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Hey, love the cow reference. Glad you do not drink milk.
      I am sure you must not have seen the modern methods used to harvest milk. Thousands of robotic cups sucking milk from hundreds and hundreds of cows in an endless queue.
      Yep, all our cow milk comes the traditional way from milkmaids with big hands ????
      Just like all the honey comes to houses from traditional hives through the responsible husbandry of commercial beekeepers with 1500 hive plus at a time.
      Right ! ????

  • ssww001

    i am more concerned with the toxins in the plastic material. We know certain plastics release chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates or Organotin compounds, these chemicals are very harmful to both bees and human.

    • Tu Ne Cede Malis

      From the FAQ on the Flow Hive site:

      Are the Flow™ frames made from BPA free plastic?
      In: Frequently Asked Questions Viewed: 32,171 times

      We share your concerns around plastics and have worked hard to find the very best food grade materials.

      The clear viewing ends of the frames are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufactures have assured us that it’s not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured withbisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds.

      The manufactures also say that third-party labs have tested this material and the results have demonstrated that it is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity. The Center frame parts are made from a Virgin Food grade Polypropylene which is also free from any Bisphenol compounds and is widely accepted as one of the safest plastics for food contact. It has also been used for many years in beehives for both Brood and Honey combs.

      We will keep you informed if anything changes and we use any different materials.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Please read the Flowhive FAQ
      Only FOOD GRADE polymers are used.
      Look at the polymers design and you will see it is not a toxic plastic.
      I do hate the word plastic as it is like saying wood is all the same. Some wild woods are naturally very toxic if put near food.

  • 2old2bother

    I find the criticisms of this new system to be somewhat disingenuous. May “traditional” and devoted bee keepers use plastic foundation frames for their hives. Its nothing new in the beekeeping world. And quite frankly many people get into bee keeping just for the honey. But they hopefully will learn in time that no matter what gimmick there is out there, there is no substitute for “working” one’s colony. They will learn that taking too much from the bees will only hurt their colonies in the long run, but when they do harvest the yearly harvest, then if there is a tool that can make part of that job easier and safer for the bees and beekeeper, then fantastic. I do think this device needs to be tested over time to determine ALL the pros and cons, of which I’m sure there are both.

    • Mini Putin

      No many traditional beekeepers do not use plastic foundation..in fact none I know do.

      • 2old2bother

        well then you must not be from this area, because many of the long time bee keepers in my area do use it.

        • Mini Putin

          I am in North Carolina and a certified bee keeper. Many must be you and aneghbor.

          • 2old2bother

            if what you’re trying to say is that my referral to “many” means just me and a neighbor…that’s pretty insulting, not just to me but to the dozens of beekeepers not just in this area but quite frankly anywhere outside of your own yard. The “many” I speak of are quite numerous I assure you, and several are also certified and a fair number of them have been keeping bees for decades. I think you would be better to voice your opinions as such and not as the end all of the activity.

          • Mini Putin

            The apiary community does tend to be steeped in traditionalist methodologies and my opinions are mine and mine only.

          • Kim Nichols

            I took an introductory beekeeping class from a man whose bees produce the best honey I’ve ever had (he also grows blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples and pears). If I was lucky enough to get a jar from him, I would hide it from the rest of the family. He uses plastic foundations. I’m in Washington state.

  • Tu Ne Cede Malis

    Initial thoughts from this article are..
    1. You are pre-supposing that purchasers of this product will just throw it in their yard and ignore it. No evidence suggests that to be the case and, if it were true, what harm has it caused you? Are you implying that even professional bee-keepers have never lost a colony to blight, disease, or swarming?
    2. The frames are made from BPA-free and bisphenol-S-free, food grade, plastic. If it works, what’s the problem?
    3. Lastly, could you possibly be feeling a little jealousy, maybe a little spite, because someone has taken your beloved hobby and given it a newfound popularity? You know the problems occurring with colony collapse, why not embrace the fact that there will be thousands of new hives out there? Sure, some will fail, but with a little faith in humanity, maybe you might see a net positive in all of this.

    • Tim Simrell

      well said.

    • Greg

      Amen Brother

  • Jagor Koprek

    There is missing the part that for you to have a frame full of just honey you need to put polen collector so the bees never have enough of polen in the hive witch is food for the young bees and the winter. Second thing is that you need to put Haneman’s grid to stop the queen bee to go up and lay eggs in the plastic frame.

    IMHO this is just another torture device for animals from humanity.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Looks like you have never actually seen a FlowHive.
      Try actually getting facts.
      Every FlowHive uses a Queen excluder.
      The FlowHive Brood Box is a Standard Langstroth wax design.

  • j pesina

    The only message I get from this ridiculous article is that you are envious of this invention, saying humans are arrogant by putting honey on tap, do you even know all the shit bee keepers do to bees to get their honey?!
    How absurd.

    • Joodee Woodee

      All ‘the s*%t’ that beekeepers do to get honey is done largely by commerical keepers and those who don’t follow bee centred approaches, often referred to as ‘natural’ beekeeping, ie letting the bees make their own comb instead of giving them pre made comb, only opening the hives a couple of times a year anyway, to keep an eye on disease, to see if there is enough honey at the end of summer for the bees to have food through the winter and so the keeper may be able to have a little for themselves. Much of this article points to principles behind ‘natural’ methods of beekeeping. I dont think she was trying to say people are arrogant by putting honey on tap – ignorant maybe…you on the other hand are coming across a little arrogant to me with your language and your failure to back up your argument about why its such an absurd article. Maryam acknowledges, right in this article, that many commercial beekeepers do a whole lot of s&%t to the bees and the honey for maximum production. This article, in my opinion, was attempting to send a message to those buy the flow hive without much thought as to how much does go into beekeeping, thinking they will not have to do anything at all and have honey ‘to go’ anytime they wish. You missed the entire point of the article and confused (contradicted yourself) with your emotional outburst there.

  • Techno Buddha

    I wanted to post a comment with regards to the flow hive system you mentioned. PLEASE educate yourself on this product. I have emailed them my concerns about the PLASTIC they use and they simply state its BPA safe. 2 weeks later, they did a mass email saying their product is now being produced. (they were not concerned or cared to research about the BPA-free scam). Scientists are NOW finding out that “BPA safe” is a scam. Bees are very delicate, and susceptible to even the minimal of toxins. That’s why they are dying off. And this company wants to introduce bees to this toxic plastic? They don’t care about the bees, they just want to mass produce this product and make money. ask yourself this: in 5 years when it becomes “main stream” and you KNOW that the plastic is toxic. What rights do you have, what compensation will you have, what damage have you done to your body with this toxic honey you have been ingesting for years? All I ask is to please educate yourself on the fraudulent lies that are being spread on BPA-FREE plastics! I am writing this comment because of my great concern for the bees, and the health of the people who will use this product, and the utter lack of disconcern of the makers of the flow hive system. you are right, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but these guys deliberately IGNORED the warnings, and the scientific evidence shown to them about the harm these plastics will do to the bees and to humans. If anyone wants the email i sent to the flow hive people, I’ll gladly email it to you (including the time stamp). http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/plastics-phthalates-safe-alternatives

  • Sally Purdy

    Personally I will wait until they become less expensive, made out of glass, and are readily available on amazon. 😉

  • John Moser

    What an idiotic rant. It’s summarized in three easy steps:

    1. “OMG! PLASTIC!!!” Plastic isn’t harmful. Plastics are a broad group of chemical compounds, like sugars or alcohols. Some alcohols are safe (e.g. Xylitol); others are vicious poisons (e.g. Methanol, Isoprophyl). PET, HDPE, LDPE, and polypropylene are great plastics with no measurable toxicity; polystyrene, polycarbonate, and PVC are particularly toxic plastics with tendency to leech.

    The bees expend less energy building comb, just like when you reuse honey comb (with all the caveats that has; fortunately, this isn’t brood comb).

    2. “You don’t get to flow your spirit with nature while injecting yourself with homeopathic water and rubbing green tea on your cancer to become one with the animals!!” Bees aren’t social creatures; they’re colony organisms. They don’t love you, they don’t want to be petted, and they would quite rather you kept your hands out of their home. Robbing them is annoying enough without outright ransacking the hive.

    While you might feel the task of handling honey combs is meditative and calming, the bees really do not want you gutting their house, cutting pieces away, then handing back a bunch of broken crap.

    3. “It’s a new thing I never needed!” The primary argument here is that it looks new, it’s not strictly necessary, and some people have an unqualified knee-jerk “that’ll never work” reaction. No evidence that it doesn’t work as advertised, just boisterous hubris about how you know something like that could never work. This is just overbearing arrogance.

    • Maryam Henein

      wow you’re a real dick.

      • John Moser

        I’m accurate, though. The tone was both similar to the author’s own tone and appropriate when not written to persuade the writer; it’s a viable persuasive tone when addressing an anonymous audience who hasn’t opened an argument of their own yet, since they are not invested in any publicly-taken position.

        • Maryam Henein

          how can you say that. I’ve published all these comments that go against my take. My take which was to spur debate and which is not solely mine. So to say i am not invested is just malarkey.

          • Les Hildebrandt

            If you are here to just spur debate why not go troll some where else… I have posted my one comment way above working with bees and experience, that i would call a contribution than just spouting off conjecture of your “TAKE” as i will put it

      • Tim Simrell

        Not really. He clearly has a TON of experience. He’s just going against what you said and you’re sad about it.

      • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

        honestly, I don’t think you meant it, but you actually kind of came across as the “dick” and I don’t know if that’s who you are inside or not. but your assumptions were that anyone who was interested in getting to know bee keeping via this kind of hive was a simpleton who was a “wal mart” type of bee keeper – that was the tone. it was high handed and off putting. and it made many people here feel bad. and your statement that the other guy was “a real dick” was again, sortof an indication that you missed the point -AGAIN. perhaps you are a young person who doesn’t understand that the hipster thing is tired and annoying and off putting. he had a good argument, even if it was presented in a rough way. thanks for considering my thoughts too.

    • Mini Putin

      Spoken like someone that has never managed a hive. I will file your retort in the round basket.

      • John Moser

        My bees like to chase me when I remove their feeders, and follow me into the house. They haven’t stung me, but I’ve been rather cautious when they get rowdy.

        I happen to manage a custom top bar hive with 1 1/4 inch brood bars spaced to 1 5/8 inch for honey storage. The bees put drone cells more at the end of the brood in this layout, but they’re bees; they do what they want. The end is a Langstroth deep 10 frame super, top-managed, suitable for Bee-O-Pac or Flow frames. The bees are open-bred Italian, spitting out both yellow and black bees, with VSH genetics (the queen is a direct daughter of a VSH breeder queen, at the moment).

        Next year, I’m setting up a second with Carniolans. When the carniolans build up, I’ll move some of their brood comb to the Italian hive. This will allow me to open the brood to control swarming, while replacing empty brood in the Italian hive with Carniolan cells to stimulate fast build-up. The exchange of brood in this manner at key points throughout the season should allow Carniolan hives to take advantage of Italian honey processing (they’re good honey processors, and dry the honey more quickly), while Italian hives get early spring build-up and that 5-7 mile forage (along with fast comb building).

        I’m not only managing a hive, I’m experimenting.

        • Mini Putin

          Well good for you. You are such a rebel..lol. I have raised Carniolan’s and Italians and they do have behavioral differences.In my opinion the flow hive is a stupid and expensive idea that will not work.

          • John Moser

            It’s not a matter of opinion; time will tell the absolute fact of the matter. It either works or it does not work.

            As it stands, it’s not, by default, much different from plastic Langstroth foundations; it’s actually somewhere between plastic foundations and just handing the bees a fully-built comb after extracting the honey. You’ve given them a slightly-damaged but workable comb to finish–the flow comb needs a little internal sealing (top and bottom center)–and then they fill, process, and cap like normal. It’s like an extracted comb, but made of plastic like the common Langstroth foundations.

            The real innovation is the moving part: it splits and breaks internally, producing a channel to the bottom. Conceptually, that’s entirely simple. I expect you’ll get fragments of wax in the honey, but that’s not a problem. The bees will probably go into the tube and scavenge any honey left behind once you pop the bucket off (leave the bucket open and they’ll steal it while you’re trying to steal it from them).

            I crushed a bee today installing an additional top bar in my hive. I expect lifting and placing frames and bars and 80 pound supers is more hazardous to the bees than turning a tap. Seems like a fantastic idea to me; I’m sure the bees aren’t any more enthusiastic about being robbed, but they’ll surely appreciate not having their home ransacked in the process.

  • David Pickles

    well the flow hive isn’t all plastic it still needs the bees wax to complete the comb, so they still have the option to use their ‘natural’ methods just with an added structure to make it easier for them, of course that could lead to bee’s getting lazy.

  • Benjamin Brown

    overall I agree with the author’s perspective. beekeeping is about communing with nature, with the mystery, not about extracting honey. That being said, every time you open your hive you kill some bees, and this invention would prevent some of those losses. I do think the inventors have oversold their case a bit; with varroa mite for instance, a beekeeper HAS to manage his girls, powdered sugar or otherwise, to keep the pest in check. and swarming? It really is a better idea to support small time local beekeepers, but I guess having a whole bunch of people buying flow hives and needing to buy a couple frames of bees will be good too. Gotta buy ’em somewhere….

    • Miss Louise Brown

      FlowHives must be used by educated beekeepers or by people willing to join a Beekeeping Club to learn.

  • Rochelle Alberti

    I can see both viewpoints..and to be honest…I’d prefer the “old way” of keeping bees…..but I see no real harm in finding a balance between the two……

  • Alexandra

    I agree, Maryam. I don’t yet keep bees, but my desire to build a hive is so I can better understand the bess, and support them as they support me. If I invest in this flow hive, what am I but the bear who tears apart their home for my own satisfaction?

    • John Moser

      The flow hive allows you to remove honey without opening the hive, pulling top bars or langstroth frames, rolling (injuring) bees in the process, sweeping them off, extracting the honey, then putting the bar or frame back with the risk of crushing bees.

      I want one specifically so I don’t need to rip apart the hive to get at the honey.

      • Miss Louise Brown

        You still must remove all frames to inspect for desease and pests.
        You just need to be gentle and slow and you will not kill any bees.
        You will be able to harvest honey without removing frames avoiding that pitfall.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Please read the actual FlowHive website.
      You still manage the bees and protect them by inspections looking for desease and pests.
      When you understand how a FlowHive works or better yet see one for real you will understand harvesting the honey is much more gentle with a FlowHive than Traditional methods.

  • Steve McDaniel

    The Flo Hive looks like a con to me, designed to lure people who are not familiar with bees into parting with their money. Two red flags: the honey frames are in the center of the hive, but that is where the bees put brood, not honey. Also, where are the bees flying around the hive? The simple fact of beekeeping today is that you must manage them actively, or they will die from lack of food or Varroa mites or viruses. Bee-havers became extinct when Varroa mites started attacking our bees in 1987. Beware of things that look too good to be true…

    • Mini Putin

      There are a lot of Beehavers but not very many Beekeepers. The simple fact the whole convo the pro “honey on tap” do not address pests and disease, brood and bee life cycle, queen replacement, hive growth,regional harvest times or how much food to leave for over winter are all issues that will make your go flo a very expensive proposition.

      • John Moser

        My solution is to let the bees have a full set of honey comb (10 frame brood in a 28 frame hive), appending a Langstroth super on the end for my own purposes. The hive can survive at the smaller size; the larger size isn’t so large as to be oversized.

        Think of it in terms of swarming during a high flow. At 28 bars, my hive is adequately-sized in its own right; at the end of winter, they’ll have enough stores (being Italians or Carniolans) to overfill that hive, becoming honey-bound, and thus swarm. (I may put fresh Carniolan brood frames in an Italian hive at the early spring, to facilitate this.) I simply remove the false back in the spring, opening the storage area to the Flow frames (or bee-o-pac). The bees then continue storing, having not yet filed the hive and created swarm pressure. They can keep their wax comb, while I tap the honey out of the Langstroth frames–Flow or otherwise.

        Bees, of course, do what they like. If they do decide to just backfill the brood despite all this available space… well. It happens. Backfilling brood is not part of swarming; it’s a triggering condition, and the bees I expect would be more likely to swarm while filling empty honey comb than to leave honey combs empty so as to backfill the brood for the express purpose of making themselves swarm. Still, they do what they want.

        Many respected beekeepers have ditched chemical treatments; some have observed the bees fare better if you don’t stick in unnatural foundations (stick to natural cell size). Michael Bush variously comments on using 1 1/4 inch brood frame spacing and letting your bees requeen (so as to open-mate and to eliminate problem queens, instead of repeatedly introducing queens mated 3000 miles away), taking advantage of every natural defense available. The entire Survivors line of bees–actually a collective term for “queens reared from hives that went untreated and survived all these hives dying over the past decades”–relies on the simple fact that certain colonies flatly didn’t died, and so have a high probability of genetic advantages.

        All this business with queens from Survivors and natural mating does carry one thing conducive to your point: a properly-bred, carefully selected Carniolan will produce quite friendly workers; a hard-core survivor may sting quite a lot more frequently, at least until we take those out a few hundred generations to artificially select gentle strains. I suspect the ultra-casual beekeeper cares less about good, productive, efficient hive management and more about not getting stung, at all, ever.

        • Mini Putin

          The way this hive is being pimped sends a message to people beekeeping is easy and does not require any input. From what I can see on most message boards is that they think you put bees in the hive and turn on the spigot.

          • John Moser

            They’ll learn. Truth be told, you don’t honestly keep bees; bees move into hollow areas which suit them. If they don’t like your hollow, they leave. Beekeepers complain somewhat frequently about bees absconding for unknown reasons, and talk a lot about handling bees carefully so they don’t abscond due to additional stress on top of a dearth or other troubling situation.

            It’s not a pet you put on a leash. Functionally, as long as you learn to identify the ripeness of stored honey, a Langstroth hive could run itself with just honey on tap. Langstroth designed more than just a box of frames; the spacing at every point of Langstroth’s hive design avoided spaces too tight for bees (which get packed with propolis) or too wide for bees (which get filled with burr comb). So long as your hive is strong enough to resist wax moths, hive beetles, varroa, and foul brood (which, to some degree, is a matter of proper ventilation–a top entrance does wonders), well… we’re using the same bees that find a hole in a tree and set up shop with zero human intervention. There’s a distinct possibility of them doing just fine without you bothering them.

            As for being able to just Amazon up a working hive, add bees, and never touch it again… I don’t think you can get away with that unless you do have enough knowledge to troubleshoot and adjust. You can probably reach a state where you no longer need to attend the hive with any notable frequency, if you know what you’re doing.

        • Miss Louise Brown

          Great educated comments on bees.

    • John Moser

      Queen excluders control where bees put brood; without that, bees do whatever they damn well please. It’s common for Lang and Warre owners to stack honey supers on top, since it’s easy; bees like to build from top down. I quite thought their hive was too small to allow for brood and honey storage to feed the bees in the winter, with just that lower brood box and one honey super.

      Also, varroa isn’t a problem. Buckfast deals well with tracheal mites; and any VSH line deals well with varroa. Natural comb size, tighter spacing, and appropriate breeding (open-mated queen in your own area) all contribute to hive success. Foundations with big cells for brood tend to encourage mites; foundationless frames spaced at 1 1/4 (instead of 1 3/8) encourage smaller cells, reduce varroa, and allow bees to regulate temperatures more effectively with fewer bees piled up between combs.

      I have wild bees; the bees in my hive are also wild animals that I meddle with. I’m not managing the bees to survive by my divine guidance; I’m managing my habits so as to not harm the bees by robbing them of the stockpiles of honey they require to survive, or otherwise pushing unhealthy situations onto their hives.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sorry Steve but you have not read the FlowHive site.
      The Brood Box HAS NO FLOWHIVE frames in it. They are in the super. Brood is not found in Supers due to using a queen excluder !
      If you look ate the actual FlowHive web site you will see plenty of bees as both father and son use smokers to move boxes and inspect the Brood box.
      How much would you charge for 10 years of research and development (not to mention cost of injection moulding) for a beautiful American Red Cedar set of Brood Box AND Super Box with beesuit and tool and a great deal of advice in the Q&A section of the FlowHive web site ?
      I am familiar with bees and was an origonal investor.

      Please note the inventors did not sell their FlowHive System but did ask for investors with courage to support their research by Crowd Funding.
      The investors were rewarded by the PERK of being the first wave of a new idea.
      That is way different to luring people as Crowd Funding is not a sale and has high risks with high rewards when it works ????

  • Marco Antonio Coqueiro

    text original : bom dia, apenas queria comentar que sou um apicultor iniciante e o flow hive e apenas mais uma ferramenta a ser experimentada, pois as tradicionais também começaram com erros e acertos no inicio, então devemos respeitar o tempo de maturação para esta ferramenta e experimentar , para que ao longo do tempo possamos ter opiniões e ai sim ,cultivarmos um longo debate dos prós e dos contras para nossas abelhas ,pois com certeza pelo esforço delas e trabalho árduo, organização e o bem que elas nos proporcionam , tanto com alimento como polinizando e mantendo nossas florestas e plantações comerciais aumentando a produção de alimentos no mundo e etc.. nos afeiçoamos a quem nos faz bem não podemos deixar de pensar no bem estar delas, ficando preocupados com a influencia a longo prazo desta invenção , se for para a melhor , que venha então ; mas precisamos estar atentos se toda essa facilidade não nos trará prejuízos futuros.

    used google traslate: good day, just wanted to comment that I am a novice beekeeper and the flow hive is just another tool to be experienced as traditional also started with trial and error at first, then we must respect the ripening time for this tool and try to which over time can have opinions , in another time cultivate a long debate the good and bad for our bees, for surely the effort of them and hard work, organization and the good that they provide us with food as both pollinating and keeping our forests and commercial plantations increasing food production in the world and etc .. us become attached to whom we do well we can not stop thinking about the well being of them, getting worried about the influence the long term of this invention, if it is for the best which will then; but we must be attentive to all this facility will not bring in future losses.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      The FlowHive frames can be mixed with standard wooden Langstroth frames and removed the same way. The difference is in the Honey Harvesting method. The new frames make for a much simpler clean honey.

  • Luke Whitington

    The Flow Hive inventors are so smart that they manage to get people who oppose their product to effectively endorse it. Go Straya!

  • Bill Stern

    The only positive thing I can say is that you have been very honest in publishing all the negative comments. Well done. But I have to agree that you sound like an elitist. Since you have the expertise to handle the traditional methods and are obviously proud of your skill, the Flow is definitely not for you. But your arguments against it sound like desperate clutching at straws. To me none of your arguments made sense.

  • Mini Putin

    This whole system is a fad. Most people don’t have the patience or knowledge to successfully keep bees. I am a certified beekeeper and the pests are the main problem to contend with not the ease of draining off the honey. I can also tell you from first hand experience that bees do not like artificial comb and when I used in my langstroth hives they refused to add wax. The main problem with this system is that people will spend a boatload of money on equipment, buy a package of bees that they do not know how to manage, harvest honey at the wrong time or harvest too much which will kill the colony. This doesn’t even begin to cover the problems with pests and insecticides. I went to a coffin style hive with minimalist disturbing of the nests and has worked out much easier for hive inspections, harvesting and expansion.

  • clay

    I have no doubt a Bentley is better than a Chevy and 20 year old scotch is better than 5 year old scotch, but we can’t all have the BEST !
    Some of us have to settle for GOOD instead of BEST ! Your article REEKS with elitism or Ludite-ism. Take your pick

  • Ken Wallace

    I thought that only a few of the frames are meant to use the Flow technology. A beekeeper still has the option of using traditional frames, or even frames with starter strips, etc. for the remainder of the hive. Seems to me you can use a few Flow frames for ease of extraction, and still have a hive that has full wax comb.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      You are absolutely correct

  • Wyvern

    I am a top bar bee keeper . and some of the points made in the article are very one sided BUT I think valid.
    My top bars have NO queen action 18″ into the box .. naturally (no excluders) )
    My biggest question and concern is the reuse of the comb . I top bar to only have a natural virgin comb as intended.
    And that it looks like the hex is split from behind . A bee does not un cap a hex to see if the honey is gone … when they open it they need the honey. so what will make the bees “refill” the hex … and more importantly how would the Flow Hive keeper KNOW that the honey is capped (actually being honey ?)
    I may well work … but i do not think work well . I see it as almost a one time easy harvest then a reset of the system . Important question as well is WHERE are all these new beekeepers going to get queens and bee packages . If I wasn’t concerned that this was not a good Idea and wanted to make some quick cash I would start producing more queens so I could sell them (I think EVERY year) to the Flow Hive crowd.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      The FlowHive actually works. I do not understand how but the bees chew open wax caps on empty cells.
      It is easy to check capped cells by pulling out the FlowHive frames exactly the same as any other Hive Super.

  • Lehnnyn

    This thread…

  • Karyn

    I ended up over here because I, too, saw the flow hive on facebook and thought perhaps I could actually keep bees with one of them but wanted to research more. I admire the beekeepers I know but I know I would never keep bees because I’m afraid to! I think this invention may increase the amount of beekeepers – because it seems doable for “bee wimps” like me.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Like you I was scared of bees. I supported the inventers through crowd funding and have a FlowHive as a Perk.
      My education came from doing exactly what the inventors of the FlowHive told me to do on their website.
      JOIN A BEEKEEPERS CLUB as I did.
      It was a real education and I learned not to fear bees.
      I also learned that like the FlowHive inventors have said you do need a beesuit. You do need education. The FlowHive reduces the bees getting agitated during Honey Harvest.
      You will still need to suite up and pull out frames to inspect for desease and pests like any beekeeper.
      PS the well educated Beekeeping Club has also invested in a FlowHive.

  • Natalie Ortiz

    I would think that the few small quimes about this device would be offset by the fact that more homeowners could harvest their own honey and not support commercial harvesting methods. If you look at it, we are stealing their honey either way. Having to remove them disturbes them doesn’t it? That is not a natural process for the bees. Many homeowners are interested in being a larger part of how they obtain their food but obviously most can’t have bees the traditional way. This is one step in getting more people caring more about bees and wanting to be to part of the cure rather then the problem. I think this is a good comprise. A bad idea shouldn’t be able to raise $12 million. It is catching on for a reason. Just because a method is around for decades doesn’t means it’s the best or only way.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Well said

  • Steve Wylie

    Your article is peppered with new age claptrap. Wax is ‘living’ (no it isn’t), wax ‘vibrates’ (everything vibrates). Plastic rebreaths. The lid of the ‘anti-aging’ moisturizer you are advertising is made of plastic too. Anti-aging? LOL! Good luck with that!. The beekeeper ‘tunes in’ to bees as he/she goes into their ‘sacred place’. Please! Anyone who has taken honey from a hive the conventional way know how many bees drown in honey and are crushed when a hive is opened and closed, and how upset the bees become. The third point is just sour grapes. People who spend years inventing a useful gadget should be compensated for their talent and effort.

  • EricHa

    I don’t know if you “do” Reddit(I don’t really) but they had an AMA(Ask Me Anything) with the inventors. They answered lots of questions except for a few: Someone posted some questions I had made on their youtube channel and they ignored every single point I made. The more I looked, the more I realized they had ignored every “real” question asked of them by real beekeepers, including at least one commercial beekeeper.

    Here is a single good question for anyone considering one of these things:

    What do you do about “impurities” in the honey like brood(it happens if you don’t use a queen excluder[and there is evidence that they harm the workers so I don’t use one]), pollen, hive beetle waste(ewwwwww), unripened nectar, etc.

    I know in the case of hive beetle waste you get to take all of that honey and just toss it whereas with a regular frame(even plasticell), you can sometimes cut out the hive beetle waste and save a frame.

    I have to say I don’t agree with everything you said because talking about “frequencies”, etc. is really less scientific than I’m comfortable with BUT overall you made great points and anyone who doesn’t get what you are saying are probably already invested in the FH and just trying to justify their purchases to themselves. I mean, it can be hard to admit you likely bought garbage that costs waaay more than a standard hive. Time will tell to be sure.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      A queen excluder is supplied with EVERY FlowHive.
      Since you can remove the FlowHive frame the same as a wooden frame to inspect you can also check how much is capped and if there is any sign of hive beetle in the Super. Remember the plastic is above the provided queen excluder.
      The FlowHive frame can be removed and can be washed and cleaned easily individually.

      • EricHa

        Wow, just checked your profile and you must be one of their marketing shills. You still forgot to answer some of the bigger questions though since I was talking about impurities in general, not just brood or hive beetle waste.

        Here’s a question you might answer. If you have to check to see if there’s capped comb, or if there’s hive beetle waste in it, what benefit does the FH provide again? I mean, it’s obviously not very “hands-off” if you have to do all of that. Of course, it’s not like the hands-off approach is a good one to begin with.

  • Kayleigh Herbertson

    I was really hoping for a methodical and healthy sceptical approach to this invention but you don’t seem to offer that.

  • Arthur Eraz

    “There have been accusations of ‘exploitation’ and even ‘cruelty’
    associated with this product, but I suggest it is rather less
    exploitative or cruel than the violent methods currently used by
    commercial beekeepers to take honey – such things as bee-blowers result
    in the deaths of millions of bees during the honey-taking operation.
    This device enables honey to be taken in modest quantities without
    opening the hive” PC

  • Ron McIlroy

    I don’t think you have tried it yet. It’s sort of like banning a book because your pastor read a few lines out of context. Try reading the book yourself. Still, people tend to find what they are looking for, good or bad. I’m a beekeeper and I found some of your points thin and not based on real science.

  • Greg

    The complaint made about the price of the product made me laugh. I have friends that have made their own honey extractors and spent considerably less money than if they had bought one. They also use heated knives to cut the wax, but all of these things are overhead. And the way I see it (if the product works successfully) then the extra expense reduces a severe amount of labor and overhead cost on tools that will eventually break. Now I have no problem with doing things the hard way. But from a business prospective this product looks fantastic. You just have to look at the big picture and labor is where beekeeping loses money. Now I don’t own one nor have I seen one. But as soon as I saw it I wanted to try one. Seems worth trying to me.

  • Andrew

    There will always be an opposing view…in fact with when things are great, true, real etc. is when they get the most opposition. Thanks for the comments. I personally bought one and am excited to use it while continuing to interact and love my bees. What makes me see this site as “a gimmick” is the fact that you have links to sell things on this website. If this were a pure emotional and opinionated blog you would be doing it for you, not for money! We had one of these going after our company and he just lost in court. Anyway, my point is I appreciate the comments but it seems like a blog of opposition to create interest enough to drive traffic and sell things (even though your thoughts may be real).

  • Gareth

    This is a great read! I was a little concerned I had wasted my $600, until I started to read the comments. I know nothing of bee keeping. I would never have considered having a hive in “back yard”. Since buying a flow hive I have enrolled in a bee keeping workshop, read up as much as I can and can’t wait to get into it when my hive arrives.
    So if the issue is “we are losing bees and the world will die” why is it not a good thing that some bloke in Australia decides to take up beekeeping as a direct result of the flow hive initiative? I guarantee I would never have without a flow hive. I feel like buying two more – just to spite the OP.

  • Russell McLeod

    writer has a view point and it isn’t as per many readers view. I agree that the writer seemed not to be aware of the personal slighting of the targeted audience which would result in the reader responding defensively.

    I as many was expecting or rather hoping for a rational article but received a new age argument about the spirituality and evils of plastics and the expectation of honey when one owns a hive.

    If as you say this was about encouraging debate you should have stated earl that what you are putting forward is in fact some ideas put forward by others and you are encouraging discussion. Just saying….

  • Reece

    I feel this entire article was written by resentful bee keepers which you can see with some snide remarks in the report. You can see from the design, the frame consists of “partly formed” honeycomb cells therefore “Non-Existent
    Communion Between Bees” is a false statement and they would also need to
    keep producing the wax, so statement 1 is also false. They continue to claim it’s an expensive gimmick but holy cow do they know how expensive bee keeping is? This is a super cheap alternative, that’s why everyone is buying them! I also think that disturbing the bee’s statement is interesting as then it goes to state further down they smoke the bee’s and then go brushing them off the frames while going through their hives, like that’s completely less stressful for them? Id also like to point out you can find hives in walls and tires and abandoned cars so why would plastic be so bad as long as the hive is healthy. Maybe there is a better way? Maybe the original owners are also working on that? I don’t know. But I feel this
    report is way off key.

  • Annie

    After reading quite a few unbiased reviews on the flow hive, I sense a strong degree of envy coming through in this review. Silly.

    • Maryam Henein

      there is no envy whatsoever. that’s a projection.

  • Prenten Frazier

    Very disapointed in this article. I am an avid hobby and commercial 4knowth generation beekeeper who has spent a lot of time dissecting the Flow Hive. I believe every controversial gadget has pros and cons.

    Several of the arguments in this article such as the toxicity of plastic, bees reliance on human interaction, and the creation of a naive generation of successful beekeepers are poorly thought out and based largely on speculation. I would appear you don’t understand how the mechanism works.

    while I have many of my own reasons not to purchase a flew hive, I can guarantee that no generation of the human race will ever become successful beekeepers not understanding the inner mechanisms of a hive nor does the flow hive allow you to successfully keep bees while “not knowing what goes on in there”. It is purportedly hands free harvesting, not hands free beekeeping.

    I am appalled that the producer of Vanishing of the Bees (a documentary which I enjoyed very much) could not articulate better arguments than this. No disrespect as a person, I would prefere to give constructive guidence here.

  • Feather Schwartz

    I get it. Thank you for this article. It makes sense to me. My goal in beekeeping is to have access to something better than I can get commercially. I want the purest and highest-vibration of honey available. The flow hive is not going to do this.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sadly try reading the FlowHive website yourself. Then compare this with the traditional extraxtion method and decide the more natural means.
      Gravity (FlowHive) or a room full of heared knives, centrifuges, heaters, settling tanks and filters (traditional extraction)

  • I remember when digital cameras first began rising in popularity. Huge numbers of professionals decried that “amateurs” would begin getting in on the art, thinking themselves experts and diluting the field. Much of that has turned out to be luddism, except that there are many more people practicing photography and I think the field is better for it. This post reads similarly to that outrage, though possibly even more condescending.

  • Joseph Robert Kennedy

    It is rather obvious that this article expresses the angst from a protectionist that is attempting to rally resistance to progress.

    I agree that more beekeepers will help proliferate more bees on Earth, this is common sense.

    Frankly I resent the inference that lazy people that do not care about nature and the wonder of bees are the people that will embrace this entomological technology advance.

    Furthermore I submit, that contrary to this angry opinion, people that really do care about nature, will be the very people that will employ Flow Hive’s.

  • motoarzan

    Nonsense. 1. Plastic Comb, A couple flow hive frames in a box with all the rest in a box being the regular stuff is not going to disrupt anything.
    2. Non existent communication. Old school Keepers will still go about their business and do the labor of love the traditional way until the end of time. Flow hive allows “new” amateurs keep bees. Introduce and proliferating “new” bee populations throughout the world?
    3. Expensive gimmick. A Mercedes cost way, way more than a Hyundai…what’s your point? If people see a value and the economics make sense then the product will fly, if not crash. Amateurs who want a single hive or two and “value” ease and simplicity will pay a premium over a tradition hive.

  • William Skrainski

    What a load of crap

  • DSS

    I heard that when the hives are cracked open to get the honey to flow through, bees can be trapped and killed by the device… is there any truth to that?

    • Miss Louise Brown

      NO as I have invested in a FlowHive and know.

      • DSS

        How do you know? Have you opened up the hive to see if any bees are trapped?

        • Miss Louise Brown

          Yes

  • rideforever

    THE PLUNDERERS
    Who is this article aimed at ?
    Most human beings are too busy destroying their part of the Earth to listen to such sentimental rubbish.
    With the Flow Hive you get to rape the bees every day.
    And you don’t even have to wash your hands.
    It’s great. Look all the children love honey.
    Bees are just little insect we use for our pleasure.
    That is what humans are about.
    And all that time you save you can do something important on Facetime.
    Which is where you life is.
    And you can tell everyone you keep bees, even though you bought a hive that allows you to sit on your backside and dream about how clever you are rather than doing anything.
    Nature exists only for your benefit.
    That’s what it’s for.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sadly you have made no attempt to be informed by facts or you would have bothered to read the FlowHive Website.
      The product is wholly and solely designed for competent beekeepers.

      It only removes all the mechanical harvesting of smoking the beehive convincing the bees there is a nearby fire and forcing them to retreat deep into the Brood Box. Then using a steel bar to take wooden frames from a hive. Driving to a lot of machinery that cuts the honey comb apart on the frame then spins the wooden frames. The honey is then heated electrically or by gas then it goes to a settling tank to seperate the dedris, bee part and pests from the honey. Then it is mechanically filtered to go in the jars.

      Compare this to a well kept hive where opening the boxes is ONLY for PROPER inspections for desease and pests. No frames are removed for transport or torn apart. The honey is harvested by gravity (easy and cheaper than machines) and the honey free from wax and debris.

      Please read how commercial beekeepers work and attitudes for profit.

      • rideforever

        Yes if you compare it to a prison it looks great.
        If you compare it to nature, that’s a different story.

      • rideforever

        And don’t give me all the “sadly you made no attempt” BS.
        YOU make no attempt to use your brain.
        Or your heart for that matter.
        Yeah it’s a great gizmo.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and research into this. At first glance it sounds like something positive gathering honey without bothering the bees, but I knew there had to be a bit more to it than that.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Using a FlowHive still requires normal beekeeping skills. It is only the method of collecting the honey that is different.
      Please read the FlowHive website for yourself and do your own thinking.

  • William Kutz

    not a mature unbias article. Your personal problems and emotions are clearing getting in the way causing your written and rhetoric thinking to suffer. seek help or dont write

  • Miss Louise Brown

    Curiously these same arguments were made in the middle of 19th century when the American beekeeper Mr Langstroth had the idea on how to make beekeeping simpler. Many Traditional beekeepers at that time claimed it would be the end of the industry. Different materials, different ideas and different times. It would encourage foolish beekeeping.
    Sadly you are commenting with neither knowledge or experience. I am a Flowhive owner in Sydney, Australia.
    Your biggest and silliest mistake is not to clarify that their are two parts to a bee hive. The BROOD BOX and the SUPER or top box.
    The FLOWHIVE BROOD BOX is exactly the same as a Tradional Langstroth BROOD BOX.
    You have the choice of forming your hive using a TOPBAR no wire or nylon fishing line (gee a plastic successfully used in hives since nylon fishing line was invented) to make BROOD comb
    You can use wire or nylon fishing line to guide the bees comb.
    You can inbed manufactured artificial foundation on wire to guide the comb building bees.
    The ONLY new development is the way honey is collected. At all times on the Flowhive website, in print and media interviews the developers of this product insist the it does not replace bee keeping skills and the strenuously make the point that hive inspection must be carried out as normal. Both the Langstroth BROOD boxes (supplied by FLOWHIVE) must be opened and even the FLOWHIVE SUPERS must be inspected for desease and variouse predators. The individual FLOWHIVE polymer frames can be lifted out for inspection as can Langstroth frames.
    Yes, Cedar, the developer of FLOWHIVE says it will disturb the bee less and it will bypass alot of extraction machinery.
    As a beekeeper the cutting of comb and extraction process is brutal.
    The bees are physically brushed from the Langstroth SUPER frame and the frame is transported (often over some distance and time to the extraction machinery. It then has all the bee wax cut from the surface and placed in a centrifuge where a mixture of honey, small peices of wax, bee parts and what ever has collected on the frames (including pests) is spun out with mechanical force. Then this mixture is heated ( so much for all HEALING PROPERTIES YOU MENTIONED in the honey ) to transfer it to a settling tank. The honey is then mechanically filtered.
    Only after this do you see it in a bottle.
    The old frames of emptied comb are then recycled back to hives (in Australia tey are called STICKIES for obvious reason.) Complete with any diseases the might have picked up in the whole extraction process.
    With the FLOWHIVE the real losers are the machine manufactures and the winners are the beekeepers in being able to collected mature honey simply and the bees being able to reuse wax caps.
    All your points about resonance and communication all still happen in a FLOWHIVE broodbox as it is a standard Langstroth design.
    1/ Plastics aint Plastics. Only a few years ago this particular plastic didn’t exist. Early plastic products were full of harmful chemicals including BPA. In recent year material science in engineering has allowed the production of Polymers (common name plastic) to be produced with a very tightly controlled specifications while maintaining the correct machanical properties. Eliminating things like outgassing and harfull chemicals is easy.
    Field trials have clearly shown that the common European Honey Bee (the one we all use for honey production) has no issues using this particular polymer to store honey in. In fact the hive learns it can use this system to store their food, honey without the energy expended to produce wax for building. Using only the wax for capping.
    No responsible beekeeper takes immature unripe honey. So Real Flowhive users wait patiently for capping.
    After allowing the pure honey to run out of the FLOWHIVE straight into a glass jar. No bee bits or pests. The bees reuse the wax caps without any chance of contamination of the wax through previous cutting and mechanical extration by centifuging multiple frames from multiple hives.
    Remember the Flowhive is ONLY the SUPER of a hive and the BROOD BOX beneath is ALL standard LANGSTROTH. You have a choice of many techniques to build a strong colony in the standard BROOD BOX.
    2/ Again you comments are foolish based on opinion. All aspects of beekeeping remain the same with a FLOWHIVE.
    Surprisingly with the time no longer consumed by the mechanical extraction I have a lot more bee time to inspect and learn from my hive.
    Commercial Beekeepers are our major worry on Australia as the amount of time consumed in collecting and processing Langstroth SUPERS negates much of the proper inpection time. Commercial beekeepers are currently exactly what you said, honey robbers.
    I would ask if you have spent much time with commecial beekeepers owning in excess of 500 hives, a common number?
    Commecial beekeepers simply do not have the time to carryout proper hive inspections due to the all consuming time it takes to harvest convetionally.
    In Australia due to the chemical free environment this country has and bountiful flowering plants honey may be harvested mutiple times in conventional hives and FLOWHIVES.
    3/ Yes the FLOWHIVE is expensive. But remember current conventional hives are made from inexpensive commercialy grown plantation pine trees usually needing several coats of plastic paint ( theres that nasty plastic word again) and contant maitenance.
    These new FLOWHIVES are manufactures from American Cedar timber (very weather resistant). Designed with a sloped roof for temperature control (not a flat metal lid) and the creators of FLOWHIVE recommend only natural TUNG OIL from the TUNG NUT be rubbed on the exterior of the BROOD BOX and SUPER BOX.
    All the materials in this new hive set are premium materials. Designed to outlast the older cheaper hives by many years.
    When something lasts much longer the initial cost makes sense.
    Far from being a gimmick it is a huge leap to improve the lot of beekeepers by giving back time to spend actually caring for the bees.
    The creator, Ceder( who lives an alternate life style off grid in a remote part of Australia), has been quoted and recorded on television as being overwhelmed by the interest and did not see the commercial opportunity even after 10 years of prototyping.
    Ceder and his father Stu only wanted to fund the purchase of an extra machine for further development of the FLOWHIVE through crowd funding. They were not interested in commecially selling FLOWHIVE and repeatedly say new owners should join a Bee Keeping Club and learn.
    What happened was a recognition of a new invention and the world crowdfunding its development to such a point of MILLIONS that the invention could be fast traked and made available to its investors.
    For all the concern that ignorent people will purchase the FLOWHIVE for instant honey, the most likely result will be as normal. People buy something they don’t know how to use or don’t want to learn will fail.
    The real result will be a lot of FLOWHIVES being resold at a discounted price to real beekeepers who understand the craft.

    • Michael

      Louise, and John Moser, thank you both so much for your insight. I can’t wait to purchase some! I live inside a New York state park and work with developmentally disabled adults , so these will work out well on several fronts. All the best, Michael

  • Miss Louise Brown

    I would encourage all who visit this site to take advantage of the link for FlowHive on the second line of this opinion piece by Maryam.
    If you read the actual FlowHive site you will clearly see that the all the claims refer to the Harvesting method and the difference to the this makes to the trained beekeeper.

    NOWHERE do the FlowHive creators refer to the FlowHive being an automatic beehive.

    Quite the opposite, the FlowHive site clearly states you still need a bee suite and hood for protection untill you learn to competently care for your bees.
    You still need to inspect and do ALL the maintenance any bee hive requires.

    Only the SUPER is different, the BROOD BOX is a standard old fashioned Langstroth box with all the needs of normal beekeeoing. TSimply made to a very high standard in American Red Cedar.

  • Kim Pucka

    We have a young hobby farm and my husband wants to raise bees for pollinating trees etc. I want to make sure we want to take on another project and stumbled upon your article and the comments. I am not convinced this is not a good thing for the bees or the hobbyist.
    The plastic comment has been debunked by other commentors, which I read with interest as it might have been the only true argument here.
    You still have to clean the box once in awhile, so you still get the pleasure of smoking, suiting up, and maybe getting stung.
    I think the most important plus is that the bees do not have to be disturbed often and will be “happier”…drives me crazy when we have company (kids) and I have to go around and clean up after them…bees have feelings too, they are hard little workers.
    The other major plus I see is that you don’t smash as many when you do have to disturb the hive which is a win win.
    I failed to see any other real argument against the hives. My husband now gets bees 🙂

    As a side note, we milk a cow and collect eggs every day but I don’t look down on people who go to the store to get their milk. A bee hive is a bee hive whether it is made from plastic or wood…neither is truly a natural home. and I would think you would embrace the fact that more people can help repopulate the endangered species by offering a home. The by-product is just icing on the cake.
    And now to save the bat! …I am sure that will be our next project 🙂

  • Desiree Schmidt

    Plastic isn’t natural
    Hard feeling aside facts are,
    plastic release toxins when exposed to different temperatures.
    Period.

    • Miss Louise Brown

      Sorry as an engineeer this is a fallacy.
      To group a product under one word plastic is like saying all wood is the same which we know is rediculous.
      Plastic just means a polymer of which there are thousands.
      There are certain polymers that are totally stable in various temperaturs high or low with no toxic emissions.
      Sure some things are man made but bees are so adaptable.
      Think of all the very unnatural places a swarm establishes hives. From old tyres to concrete structures.

  • Grapho

    I dont know how much I agree with all the metaphysical “communing with bees” and “wax stores the history and ancestors of the bees” and all that… but it is good to know some of the important things, like the “not fully capped” honey system.

    I have been interested in beekeeping for a couple years now, but never thought i would have time and energy to spend on it.. unless i retire. I care mostly about bees and giving them a home to live in, more so than the occasional honey harvest.

    If I were to just have one hive and just do as a hobby and learn a bit, I still think the Flow Hive would be a great thing to have. I do appreciate some of the comments and cautions though.

  • Aphrodite Calling

    For me it is all about the Bees…We honestly do not know how the Bees will react to this product. They will tell us if we are on the correct path. I am sure there are negative traits to this product as there are any product. However, we have to look at the bigger picture. First, $2.1 million in one day, the largest on kickstarter, wow!!! Hurray for so many people caring about the bees. This also shows us people who would like to keep bees if the means were more simple. Second, if we can look at the product from a more macro perspective. Think of how many beekeepers there will bee. If there are more beekeepers, think of how many bees there will bee!!!! Is that not what we want overall? I am not a beekeeper myself, but I research my little friends and I am working on a project for children regarding. I focus on ancient bee worshiping traditions and the bee spirituality. Humans have altered their natural way of beeing by such an extreme, it started with Langstroth hive.

    This lecture was given by Rudolf Steiner November 26, 1923 predicting the decline of the honeybee “But here we come to the whole question of artificial bee-keeping. You must not think that I am unable to see–even from a non-anthroposophical point of view–that modern bee keeping methods seem at first very attractive, for certainly, it makes many thing much easier. But the strong holding together–I should like to say–of one bee-generation, of one bee-family, will be impaired in the long run.
    Speaking generally today, one cannot but praise modern bee-keeping; we must admire them in a certain sense. But we must wait and see how thing will be in fifty to eighty years time, for by then certain forces which heave hitherto been organic in the hive will be mechanized, will be mechanical. It is not possible to bring about that intimate relationship between the colony and a Queen that has been bought, which results naturally when a Queen comes into being in the natural way. Only, at first these things are not observed.
    It is well to be aware of the fact that by working mechanically we destroy what Nature has elaborated in so wonderful a way. You see bee-keeping has at all times been highly valued; in olden times especially, the bee was held to be a sacred animal. Why? It was so considered because in their whole activity, processes reveal themselves which also take place in man himself. If you take a piece of bees-wax in your hand you are in reality holding something between blood, muscle and bone, which in man’s inner organisation passes through the stage of being wax. The wax does not however become solid, but remains fluid till it is transformed into blood, or muscles, or into the cells of the bones. In the wax we have before us what we bear within us as forces, not as substance.

    When men in olden times made candles of bees-wax and lighted them, they knew they performed a wonderful and sacred action: “This wax which now burn we took from the hive; there it was hardened. When the fire melts and it evaporates, then the wax passed in which it within our own bodies.” In the melting wax of the candle men once apprehended something that rises up to the heavens, something that was also within their own bodies. This awoke a devotional mood in them, and this mood in its turn led them to look upon a bee as a specially sacred creature, because it prepares something which man must continually work out within himself. For this reason, the further back we go the more we find how men approached the bees with reverence. Of course, this was when they were still in their wild state; men found it so, and they looked upon these things as a revelation. Later they brought the bees into their household.”

  • Jerry Kimbrell

    Frankly I enjoy meddling in my hives as yall call it, I enjoy seeing how my bees are thriving, that’s why I got in to beekeeping, and for the honey!

  • Translation: Beekeepers are trying to bad-mouth the flow-hive because if people start raising their own honey then they sell less honey.

  • Lywyn

    I’ve been researching the Flow Hive and mulling over saving up to purchase one. At first this article turned me off of the writer because I felt like I was being attacked as someone who is really excited about all the possibilities this hive potentially provides and nearly purchased one (but I’m moving so I didn’t purchase yet). I can see (after reading through the comments and thinking things over) that perhaps the spirit of this article (albeit in an awful rude tone) is the idea that people need to understand that having a hive is about more than the “set it and forget it” attitude many have today. Really, it’s no different than getting a pet or the trend of “urban” chickens for that matter. Some people buy the best and do the best for the pets/animals they have, others simply just do the best they can, and unfortunately there will always be some that neglect. The cost is prohibitive for “whimsy” purchasers so most people investing most likely will have a healthy curiosity and care for the bees and desire to learn about them not just stick them in a hive and walk away. If I really *just* want honey going to the grocery store (or ordering online) is MUCH cheaper and easier. Perhaps the Flow Hive is not the very best way to keep bees but I think the value of adding hives across the world in places where bees are sorely needed must be acknowledged and appreciated by anyone who is a true bee lover. Normal beekeeping methods have their own drawbacks and stresses to the bees. It’s all about balance. You may not “prefer” the Flow Hive but perhaps this is the best way to introduce the average person into the beekeeping lifestyle and help spur them to also further educate the public on bees and their plight.

  • John Moser

    Article still contains major technical errors, such as claiming the Flow Hive is made of plastics which offgas. Flow Hive is made of Polypropylene, which doesn’t offgas or produce toxic chemicals when it degrades. Most of the article is meaningless drivel. Obviously the writer is dishonest.

  • Dear Caleb Child, Miss Louise Brown, j pesina, Carrie Barry,
    John Moser, George Sprague, theallseeingmaster, Reece, Brent R Franklin II,
    Steve Wylie and Bill Stern

    In my view Maryam Henein’s pertinent and timely cautionary showed
    compassion, was researched, considered, well argued, articulate and sensible.
    It therefore didn’t warrant the tone, content and/or personal nature of your
    response, copy and pasted below:

    ‘level of negativity doesn’t seem rational …
    EXTRA cantankerous … unreasonable and/or irrational … Seriously, give me a
    real factual reason why the flow-hove (sic) is not a good thing.'(Caleb Child);
    ‘why be nagative (sic)?’ (Miss Louise Brown); ‘ridiculous article’ (j pesina);
    ‘condescending article … your jealous (sic), disdain and contempt’ (Carrie
    Barry); ‘what an idiotic rant … boisterous hubris … overbearing arrogance
    … Most of the article is meaningless drivel … Obviously the writer is
    dishonest.’ (John Moser); ‘you sound like a typical elitist hippie who is
    afraid of change … your overwhelming negativity’ (George Sprague); ‘I think
    the writer is pissed that he (sic) didn’t think of this first’
    (theallseeingmaster); ‘resentful bee keepers’ (Reece); ‘This is elitist
    bullsh$t … You should be ashamed that you took this stance!’ (Brent R
    Franklin II); ‘Your article is peppered with new age claptrap’ (Steve Wylie);
    ‘But your arguments against it sound like desperate clutching at straws. To me
    none of your arguments made sense.’ (Bill Stern)

    • Kathy Taylor

      If the article is all you say, how come Maryam asked Flow Hive inventers for their views/comnents/response, which they sent her and she said ‘I haven’t had time to read it, or publish it’ That was over 6 months ago.
      I would add disingenuous to that list of adjectives to describe this article.

  • Elliander Eldridge

    I haven’t seen any evidence that food grade plastics are hormone-disrupting. I use food grade plastics in my Spirulina farm and if there were such gasses and chemicals present it would have leeched into the water a very long time ago and disrupted the entire operation.

    As far as capping goes, from what I read about their system they build their honey stores out of wax into the slots and are able to cap it off just fine. When you pull the lever the wax breaks and allows it to flow. After you close it the bees can repair it. I don’t see any evidence that this prevents them from capping.

    In terms of this removing you from them, I think that’s a bunk argument. The entire point of bee keeping is to form a symbiotic relationship – you provide them with protection from disease and predation and they provide you with honey. Using a system that allows you to harvest without harming the bees doesn’t remove you from that relationship. You will still have to check them and clean them occasionally, but it will be much less often and cause much less stress on them. I see this primarily as a way to cause the least harm, rather than being lazy.

    Some people avoid consuming honey all together because of the perception that we are “stealing” their honey and the knowledge of how the bees are harmed each time a harvest takes place. The consumers I spoke with generally feel that if you only disturb the bees to directly help them that is completely justifiable and removes their moral objection to consuming honey. This model therefore opens up a market to consumers who would otherwise not be consumers.

  • InuChan

    Okay first off, I have friends who do or have keep bees, but I, myself, am a complete beginner who knows NOTHING but is interested in possibly looking at learning more about beekeeping. And yes, my primary purposes would be for my fruit trees and eating honey. That being said, please understand that this is from a completely desire-to-know position, and not a critical on either side because I will be the first to admit I’m not in a position of knowledge to criticize either side of this discussion. I do have some questions, though, so here goes…
    1 – I did enjoy your article. As someone who saw (but hasn’t fully bought into) the idea with a large degree of interest, if the current Flow Hive isn’t quite the one-size-fits-all answer for all bees or all bee keepers, is it a step in the right direction and could the idea be a start towards something better that is even closer to the bees’ natural habitat?
    2 – What would you do with the Flow Hive to improve it and make it more bee-friendly?
    3 – Where do you recommend getting the bees and what species do you recommend?
    and 4 – What kind of hives and bee keeping supplies do you recommend?
    I would of course welcome responses/comments from anyone, as anyone would probably have more knowledge and experience than I do.
    Thanks to all for their input and answers!!!

    – Inuchan

  • InuChan

    Okay first off, I have friends who do or have keep bees, but I, myself, am a complete beginner who knows NOTHING but is interested in possibly looking at learning more about beekeeping. And yes, my primary purposes would be for my fruit trees and eating honey. That being said, please understand that this is from a completely desire-to-know position, and not a critical on either side because I will be the first to admit I’m not in a position of knowledge to criticize either side of this discussion. I do have some questions, though, so here goes…

    1 – I did enjoy your article. As someone who saw (but hasn’t fully bought into) the idea with a large degree of interest, if the current Flow Hive isn’t quite the one-size-fits-all answer for all bees or all bee keepers, is it a step in the right direction and could the idea be a start towards something better that is even closer to the bees’ natural habitat?
    2 – What would you do with the Flow Hive to improve it and make it more bee-friendly?
    3 – Please correct me if I’m wrong, but in your article you talk about the relationship between yourself and the bees as you move into their space, actually checking on the bees, and that the Flow Hive takes away from that. However, according to their site, they still recommend donning a suit, ‘communing’ with the bees, checking on their health and the health of the hive, etc…, and that pretty much the only thing that changes with it is the actual honey extraction.
    Help me understand…
    I would of course welcome responses/comments from anyone, as anyone would probably have more knowledge and experience than I do.
    Thanks to all for their input and answers!!!
    – Jake

    • Maryam Henein

      These are all things they added after the fact. I have not checked what they have done since writing this story. to each their own. i dont want to keep my bees this way. the story presented a point of view that is backed by other beekeepers, to spew the vile that has come out of people’s mouths is astounding. If you are like the woman above who doesnt give a shite about being a bee budy, she can have a flow hive.

  • Brian Pierce

    I had serious questions regarding this process. However you talk of use of plastic cells being used. Well many Beekeepers already use plastic comb in their frames to reduce cost and time spent on frame construction and reconstruction. So that point is is one I will toss to natural versus less natural beekeeping practice. The disruption of the hive issue I would side with the makers on this product. This is far less invasive than cracking open a super and pulling all frames to harvest. Far less bees lost and less stress on the hive. Now the clean environment I would lean to a natural process of harvesting. This you do not remove frames and inspect each one every harvest. This could lend to condensation and mold issues if you never pull this apart to clean it. All in all I feel the design took into consideration factors to promote beekeeping by the beginners. On the negative side even though they state you must maintain the brood box as normal it is brushed over and could led to negative impact on the hives well being. Me personally if I were to use this product I would make several changes. Fist brood box maintenance would still need done every harvest and have normal periodic inspection for swarm colonies building in the hive. Second this would be used as only one super in the hive with others being natural construction. This would allow for periodic tear down and proper cleaning of this product with the bees still having a natural environment to store honey. My only question with completed frames of all kinds is when using them does this affect bee population. The queen will produce more worker bees when a colony must build comb from scratch. If a colony has nothing but build frames it has been known for colony population to be reduced. This would be especially important if the colony is a new one and has not been established for long. Combine that with an occasional swarm and it could led to the collapse of the whole hive. So bottom line using both established and non establish frames would seem the wiser choice far a colony. Now I am just starting out myself in the bee keeping process, but have done my homework. I am an environmental Scientist and have gotten into Aquaponics and organic gardening since entering into this field. I do know there is much more going on as far as environmental impact when we introduce man mad materials into any natural process. With that said I do not see myself personally buying this product, but only because I am starting fresh with a new colony. Latter down the road I may consider one super box from this product, but only in order to help reduce honey saturation. This would allow for the colony to rebuild this box while I maintain the others and harvest. Remember your colony can out grow your boxes and if you don’t pay attention to its size you could one day wake up and half your colony is gone in a swarm.

    Anyway this is my two cents worth, and my opinion.

  • James Durden

    Not only is it not practical, it is bogus as a 3 dollar bill. Madoff probably wishes he had thought if this. If you have money you wish to through away, buy one. You will not be helping the bees.

  • Shawn Fraser

    Hello Honey Colony Members,
    I am a hobby Bee Keeper in South Africa and am currently relocating to Costa Rica, Central America.
    I have a Langstroth Bee Hive set up that I regretfully have to leave behind.
    Having researched the “Flow Hive” System and following all the various opinions both positive and negative on the Honey Colony site, I have decided that it would best suit my needs in Costa Rica and have ordered 3 Full Units that will ship to me in April, 2016.
    As I will have to set up the Brood Box’s with a Queen and Nucleus of Bees would anyone know where I would be able to obtain them in Costa Rica?
    Appreciate all your comments and assistance.
    Pura Vida – Shawn

  • MM

    Thank you for this article. It’s making me stop and really ask what do bees need for their survival and to thrive? Your input on the science of the intricate function of their wax is eye opening. I didn’t know the wax is the tissue and frame for the hive and acts as an information highway. The statement that it also holds the history through chemical exchange is of paramount importance. If off gassing plastic “imprints” into this history….we don’t know what we’re playing with. What we do know is that bees are monumental in our survival and warrants extreme care and consideration in how we intersect with them. The incredible seduction of having honey on tap can very well lead to the demise of bees. I think if we start/proceed with what do the bees need to thrive for the equivalent of our next 7 generations, there’ll be a stronger possibility that we both survive and thrive. To avoid changing our egocentric lifestyles and expect the bees to survive is only going to lead us all down one path. It would be great to see the founders of the flow hive (and the rest of us) to really sit with this question and see what arises from that place of knowing within, “What do bees need to thrive for the next seven generations”

  • steve

    I appreciate the purist desires. The author of this review fails to recognize how the flow hive system will help bees. That is the shortsightedness of the whole article. Indeed the flow hive may be to the purist and commercial apiarist to be a gimmick and it may very well be. However, this “gimmick” will promote and increase the number of hobby beekeepers. I have kept bees in the past. It is a fascinating hobby. But the reality is that most people are afraid of bees and their little sting. This “gimmick” offers a vision to people who love the concept of bees but were afraid of them to get into the hobby. I see many more hobbyist beekeepers as a result of honey flow. As for the cost, for a veteran beekeeper it may be high, but for the new beekeeper it is not. If you were to purchase all of the components of a hive, centrifuge, bee suits and all of the bee keep equipment for a beginner beekeeper it is about the same. So why would anyone be against encouraging people to become hobbyist beekeepers and let them evolve. Personally I want more beekeepers and support whatever it takes to grow their numbers.

  • Theo

    Hi! Several members of my family are bee keepers and it’s a beautiful but also hard job. We all saw the Flow hive as a way to enhance this practice and preserve the specie. Most people that just want honey and can afford this product can also go out and buy some honey of amazing quality! this hive gives the opportunity to learn about our fellow bees and understand better their importance in our lives and it does not destroy a sacred communion as this author might think but it actually brings humans and bees closer. It is a fascinating invention and it feels like someone has reinvented the wheel ! Your critics should be constructive and not this bitter. You point out the financial part as if these people have come up and sold their idea in days. it took at least a decade of research which is probably hat you should do before throwing the first stone.

  • Kirk S

    It’s hard to read an article against the evils of commercializing the Flow Hive when the article is so packed full of commercials (between paragraphs, in the side bar, pop-ups).

  • magwa999

    these were made for the yuppie beekeeper, remember them they gave us woodstock and the millenium kids. wannabee beekeepers like wannabee capitalists.
    the biggest problem with beekeeping has been the beekeeper, his greed for the golden honey to make money. Takes all the honey and gives them sugar water which causes diseases like dysentery. Bees have been taking care of themselves for thousands of years and man comes along and has turned them into slaves. I am a beekeeper and keep bees because I like them. Yes I sell the few pounds of honey to people I know but they make my garden thrive and we have fun playing around.
    these are made for those lazy beekeepers and those yuppies, remember them??

  • Cuyler Daine Clonts

    This article makes me mad. This guy sounds like a jealous teenager.

  • Micah Harrari

    I think the biggest question nobody asked is how do they get to drain the honey without it being full of drowned bees?? Do they use a bee escape board?

  • reginabee

    I am also a “backward beekeeper” and am aware of the problems of disturbing the hive. Ive used a langstroth, then made the lang into a top bar of sorts then used a top bar. I am ALWAYS mindful of taking honey and only do so one comb at a time and I don’t use a centrifuge but crush the comb and then replace (with a wax strip) for the bees to rebuild on thier own. That said, it has been a bumpy road, but I am always thinking of the health of the hive and what benefits the bees. I am hoping that the flow hive (yup I have one!) will be the answer to my dilemma as I mostly want to have the bees be undisturbed while watching them. The top bar did not last very long for some reason european hornets are VERY attracted to it, so hoping this will be the method that will allow us to beekeep in a way that benefits the honeybees. I am not crazy about the plastic foundation, and have never used it before so I will keep y’all posted.

  • Nikkiah Loeser

    They could make the frames with organic hemp plastic! Im sure theres other things also that could make it a better product.
    We already have a huge disconnect with bees and other benificial bugs so anything like this is a great way for people to start getting intune with nature and produce there own food instead of getting it from the huge industrial farms. It helps people create a relationship with the bees because there not scared of getting stung. And its a less aggressive method then the old way of smoking the bees and taking all there honey at one time instead of taking a little at a time with the flow have.

  • Jonathan Freund

    I’m a person who’s intrigued in this idea and wanting to keep bees for business ideas I have planned. I see the point of connecting with the bees, like a pet you spend time and connect with the animal. Which we ourselves are even animals and we need to learn to Coexist with nature not go against her. I’m also down for change and new ideas as long as its beneficial to man kind and our planet, I don’t see much negatives in this idea the bees still make their wax and do their work as a colony. I want bees not just for their honey but for their work with plants, I plan on working with different plants and flowers like lavender. So bees are essential to the lively hood to my plants I wanna grow and invest in, doesn’t mean in time I can’t always put more investment and time with more bees for harvesting. My only catch is I would also like to get the wax from the bees and this is the only thing not really mentioned from this innovated idea, this is really the only negative I can find. If someone who put money and time in this and doesn’t bother to take care, watch and nurture their bees, than they shouldn’t be bothering in this kinda work. Like a hobby or work in general you spend time and effort in it or you just don’t do it because your wasting your time. For the old school bee keepers who’ve already invested time and money doesn’t mean they can’t start building this idea and project, heck as anything, they should change in 5-10% of their bee farm into this idea and see what positives and negatives might be, do 3% even just to get the jest. They might even see a new way of doing things if it works better than the old way. My thing is, don’t back lash something if you haven’t tried it yourself and if money is the issue than change over slowly in time. Remember it takes money to make money and bigger investments might save you more money in time, so weigh out the pros and cons before jumping the gun and do your research before getting into something.

  • Joel

    Ok… So article aside, here’s my two cents; if someone plans to buy a Flow Hive, install a package of bees, and just sit back and crank a knob a couple times a year… and believes their bees will succeed and supply them with honey, is sadly mistaken. Whether or not the Flow Hive honey super works for effortless honey harvest, or not, doesnt seem to be the debate here. Whether it’s a langstroth, bar, warre, or Flow Hive, there is still a duty as a beekeeper to manage the bees wellbeing. If someone believes you just simply buy a hive, install bees, and the bees do the rest, will soon see they are wrong, and not see much return on ther investment. A new queen comes in a package with only nurse bees, so therefore they won’t be foraging and need to be fed the first season, so anyone not willing to open a brood box should think about that. In fact you will most likely not be harvesting any honey the first season, the bees will need that honey for over wintering. At least in cooler climates. (It would be sugar water honey anyhow) There’s so much more to cover before a beekeeper can even think about honey harvest it’s best if anyone entertaining the idea of beekeeping join a local association and educate themselves on the subject, it’s not exactly “plug and play.”
    So plastic vs. wooden/wax: I like wood and wax frames, and the bees do too, but I use plastic frames in my honey supers. After a few seasons of having to replace many wooden frames after honey extraction I switched to plastic for thier longevity. The bees don’t seem to mind. I still use wooden frames in the brood boxes since they aren’t subject to knifing and centrifugal force. I admire the writers “purist” views, but let’s face it, beekeeping is in itself not very purist. The whole idea is to promote the bees to live in a hive much bigger than they would in nature, and even the most basic and natural of beekeeping still involves getting all up in their business.
    Bottom line is; do your homework, get involved with your local beekeeping association, and have fun. I guarantee that if you get involved with bees, you will end up having a greater appreciation for what they do, and you will want to be a more involved beekeeper. And for those that want to “not get stung,” or think they just buy a hive and don’t need to get intimately involved with bees… good luck with that.

  • Peter Pawlowski

    This is such a sweet and sour article. I watched the movie Vanishing bee’s and it was the turning point for me to finally understand what’s going on with the bee population. This writer actually is the reason I purchased my flow hive! Irony here to hear her bashing flow hives. evolution of bees is something she avoids to mention though. Honey Bee’s are a DOMESTICATED insect. We forget that almost all the food for human consumption today has gone through a form of modification by humans. In order to do this we choose to exploit the honey bee: for all their brilliance. Screaming for purity for the bee’s would never happen if it were not for the global distribution of honey bee’s found in Africa thousands of years ago. Now the plastics and the removing of habit by the bee’s is something of interest, And culture around beekeeping is another important point. But to me her argument is similar to a Peta activist demanding animal justices while where leather shoes. I look forward to sharing my experience with the flow hive and do the responsibe thing and find a mentor, educator and learn the relationship we can have with bees.Furthermore, with so many educational institutions growing because of this bee crisis, I’m certain that we will know within 5-10 years if the Flow hive is safe for bee’s.

  • studiozuzi

    The pros still far outweigh the cons. It’s like saying why send an email when you can communicate with a hand written letter. Or, why use a a plastic blender for smoothies when you can squish fruit by hand.

  • Melanie

    This author needs to get off their high horse and start meeting the beekeepers with flowhives. My husband and I purchased one because last year we literally used Q-tips to pollinate our garden. While it worked great for our cucumbers and squash, it did not work at all for most other plants. We live in town and are very excited to have bees for our garden and flowers. We have no plans to steal all of the bees honey as we do not even plan on harvesting any honey until next year. We have 2 full brood boxes just for the bees. We have read books, watched hours of you tube videos on beekeeping, and are in contact with multiple local beekeepers. We are excited to connect with the bees and open up and inspect the hive. We have created water sources for our bees and have a feeding source for them for early spring and times of low nectar flow.
    If you are really interested in helping the bees… Help educate the flowhive owners of the importance of taking care of the bees.
    Our purchasing of one flowhive has been the beginning of a huge movement of helping bees in our small community. Our friends and families have jumped in and started learning about bees also. Those who are unable to keep bees themselves are planting flowers our bees will enjoy. They are creating safe water source for bees. They are agreeing to not use pesticides that will harm our bees… What a terrible thing it has been for bees that we purchased this “expensive gimmick”

    • chickgirl

      I am begging you BUY A NATIONAL!!!!!!

      • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

        why does she need to “BUY A NATIONAL?” Isn’t she just using this to encourage bees to live in her yard, pollinate her plants and also teach others about bees?

  • superdough

    “honey robber”? LOL. I guess if I work a socially productive job for a living and I don’t have the time to spend countless hours meditating on my knees in front of the hive in order to become one with the bees before I respectfully rip apart their hive as a prayerful sacrifice to mother-earth, then I’m just an ungrateful “honey robber”.

    Thank you! It’s been a long time since I was spoken to in such an eloquently condescending manner.

    Expensive? Only compared to building your own out of scrap wood in the barn, but not at all expensive compared to equipment and space required to extract honey from a wax comb. I appreciate your concern for the hobby budgets of so many people you don’t know, but seriously… Is it really any of your business what someone else wants to spend on convenience?

    Non-existant communion with bees? Why don’t you ask the bees if they miss the “communion” that comes with being smoked out of their home before all of their hard work gets ripped apart. I wonder if the bees would agree that the old-school method of being smoked out, their home destroyed, and their honey extracted in totality is a much more harmonizing method of “harvest”?

    Plastic combs? Meh, maybe. Some plastics can give off chemicals with high temperatures. I haven’t researched the type of plastic used so I can’t comment, but the bees seem to enjoy the flow hives plastic just fine. You certainly don’t see them abandoning the hive because they don’t like the plastic. It seems that the bees think the flow-hive is totally acceptable and fill it to the brim. Toxic environments tend to be void of nature. You certainly don’t see bees abandoning the plastic combs. After “communing” with the bees, they’re not saying that they hate the plastic comb.

    Please. keep your opinions between you and your vegan book club.

  • chickgirl

    I hate the flow hive I keep bees in a national beehive and wouldn’t do it any other way

  • Charles Davy

    “Flow Hive has been described as a possible “key” in keeping the world’s bee population from further decline.” Really? How so? This just makes honey collection simpler and easier. How does it help bees survive the issues they are currently grappling with? ”

    Wasn’t a fan of your article and the quote above basically summarizes why I think your views are wrong. You enjoy raising bees and you enjoy all the hard work that goes into it. The average person doesn’t. A lot of people would like fresh honey if it required minimal work (the whole crossfit, vegetarian, all natural crowd). This hive will lead to people “growing bees” like they grow tomatoes which in turn will significantly increase the number of bees being raised.

    • Maryam Henein

      yah except bees are ancient magical creatures that are not vegetables. that is just very strange reasoning.

  • I bought one to make a positive impact. I will take bee keeping classes
    to educate myself and treat them with care and respect as I do all the
    living creatures (chickens,Bunny,Cats,frogs and even a hermit crab) we
    take care of. I respect your attempt at a counterpoint but the flavor of
    the article is negative and pretentious. “How dare someone try to
    bee-keep differently than me” is what it comes off like. Also for what
    its worth, the literature that comes with the flow hive is very
    informative and clearly explains that hive health, and all the
    beekeeping essentials will need to be learned and they strongly
    recommend beekeeping courses.

  • Mike Roshaven

    Let the fad beekeepers spend their money on this for a while. I look at this and see a swarm machine. One brood chamber atop a brood/honey super to me sounds like the bees are going to be swarming at least once a year. Not many people will add another brood chamber to this, or go in and check for pre-swarm activity and take action to ensure good honey build.
    My thinking is, more swarms, more hives out there to build the population back up. Also, more swarms for us beekeepers to attract.

    I MIGHT, just might, throw one of these on top of a healthy hive next year, just to see what the honey tasted like compared to traditionally harvested honey.
    Note- I have been keeping bees for 5 years, and just this May finally got a super full of honey. I am looking forward to my first harvest later in the season!

  • Craig_Bosley

    This could have been written about our Constitution and how we are watching its desecration at the hands of progressives who use the Supreme Court to streamline the process and avoid the amazing process of amending the Constitution properly and legally.

  • E wrizzle

    Let the HATE flow, honey.

  • Switters

    Maryam, I applaud your expertise and your passion. I don’t know a thing about beekeeping, but I live in an Appalachian area where bees have all but disappeared. It seems that anything one can do to introduce bees to the area might be a good thing. I’ve spent 50 years learning my craft. I play almost exclusively on acoustic guitars. Why would I be passionately against electric guitars and effects pedals? I should do everything I can to encourage people to make music, no? Thank you for your article, I will consider everything you’ve said before I make the jump into getting a beehive.

  • Vicki Maree Whateley

    I would take you more seriously if you were not selling fake woo cures all over your website

  • kyle

    This article and all the discussion and
    comments make me laugh.

    I had the privilege of learning the art of bee keeping from a man with 70+
    years in the field. I think he would have loved the idea if he was still with
    us.

    this article reminds me of what he use to say all the time, “If you ask 3
    beekeepers a question, you will get at least 4 different answers” !

    There is no such thing as hands free bee keeping, for those who think that,
    please buy the product. I enjoy buying used flow hives at reduced prices from
    these individuals.

    For those who think the product is a gimmick, I would gladly invite you to my
    farm and see the hundreds of gallons of honey I produce from these hives, with happy and
    healthy bees.

  • Paul Ponthieux

    Everyone has their own opinion, but this is the biggest bit of whining and fact free analysis that I have ever seen. I have 5 flow hives, and I’ve been a bee guardian for 30 years. Nothing compares to my experience with the flow hive vs conventional bee keeping. I’ve had Langstroths, Top Bars, etc. I love bees, and this is why I think this invention is great.

    If you are going to say that ripping open a hive and pulling frames, and smashing bees, is good for the bees, then you’re deluding yourself. I’ve had people tell me that there’s no way to tell when the honey is ready like this author, and I ask them how do they know when theirs is ready. Duh? Your can look at, pull out, and inspect the flow frames just like a conventional comb.

    I had someone tell me they heard that its incredibly messy and honey gets everywhere. (I think they were talking about conventional hives 🙂 My bees don’t seem to mind the plastic at all, and many commercial bee keepers use plastic foundation. Maybe its even more hygienic than old wax. Then there’s the argument that novice bee keepers will spread diseases by not caring for and inspecting the brood. Well, some might be less than vigilant, but what do you think happens in the wild inside of a hollow tree trunk. Who inspects that?

    I think there is a lot of grumbling from people who have a ton invested in traditional equipment, and resent that it just got easier for some people. Extractors and a completely set up honey room is a big investment for sure – I had to buy a large jar 🙂 Also, it seems that most of the negative comments are from people who have never used or seen one in action, but didn’t like the videos.

    Get over it, and do it the way you want, but quit trying to get support for your lame argument. The Flow Hive is awesome.

  • John Grey

    It may not be profitable for commercial keepers, but for people who would like to have one hive for their own use it would be a novelty that they wouldn’t mind spending the money on to be able to get their own honey.

  • I think you go too far with the purism here. If you’re going to respect and commune with your bees, that’s fine – but it seems ridiculous that you’d shun something that avoids the need to unnecessarily break open their home and make them think it’s on fire.

    Your entire interaction with them is going to be one of nurturing: you still have to open the hive for inspection and to deal with infestations. Stealing their food, at least, you get to make as untraumatic as possible.

    As for making a generation of “lazy, hungry honey-eaters who are also terrified of being stung. It will create a generation of oblivious people who don’t know the delicate mechanics of the beautiful hive,” that seems specious; making harvest into a gentle process for the bees in no way eliminates your other responsibilities as a beekeeper. So there’ll be more dilettantes? Then there will be a lot of these things showing up on Craigslist the next year for determined enthusiasts to take advantage of.

    As for plastic: spare me the naturalistic crap. While you can get problems with hard plastic frame foundation (e.g., the brood decides the cell size is unsuitable, and they can’t deform them, so they start making bridges between them instead), soft plastic foundations are already a thing that are used widely and successfully, and there doesn’t seem to be any effect on the bees’ frame construction. Whatever the material, frame foundation is an artificial structural element. Bees don’t appear to care what it’s made from, just that wax and propolis stick to it, and they can fit the things they want to into the cells.

    • Ahmed Shaker

      It seems to be a regurgitation of a Luddite argument against looms and mills.

  • Wes Lion

    This entire article sounds like someone is just mad becasue they didn’t come up with it first. This is going to make huge POSITIVE differences for farmers, families, and the world.

    With the crisis getting worse, you should be encouraging of any advancement in the protection and production of bees. Nothing is ever 100% and just because you find minute faults in something, doesn’t mean you should actively try and deter people from doing something good.

    This hive is revolutonary and no it may not be 100% natural but its a step forward, whereas your article is two steps back. Your view is actually harmful to the bee cause, not supportive. People like you and articles like this are what scare people from even considering to help the bees.

    I think you’re doing the damage.. not these guys or this hive.

  • Ironbunny IonBunny

    I’ve almost no knowledge on bees or bee keeping but i’m just gonna jump in here like some passer by and give my useless opinion… moar hives = moar bees.. Doesnt matter if theyre diseased or not. Moar hives – moar bees.. now that every fat jerk who can get a hive running and milk it every once in (however long it takes for honey to buil up) will be getting this provided he has a backyard.. will contribute to saving bees whether its good or bad. If you dont like this you can do it your way… maybe this is the only real way bees will be saved through sheer numbers.. and also honey price will tank and youll be outta job but thats not why youre all mad i hope. The only way you’d be more p1ssed if it started raining honey. But jokes aside your sadistic honey extracting days are over. Advancing technology and innovating ideas always replace and make jobs obsolete.

  • wupes86

    You sound really angry. Like an angry crotchety bee keeper. What possible harm could it be doing if it gets more people involved in the bee keeping process? For someone who might be considering diving into the world you’re basically telling them to HECK OFF. Bees are making a comeback and I think this product is good for the average Joe who wants to jump into the process without ya know being in a romantic relationship with bees as you seem to be. You should really lighten up.

  • wupes86

    And furthermore if you are so in love with bees you should harvest the honey naturally out of trees and such or shouldn’t use them for honey at all hypocrite. Maybe you should reconsider your horribly contradictory opinion.

  • Бен Боншанс

    Looks like a gadget to me, for people who are not really into by beekeeping but just want easy honey… Those are not the kind of people that should keep bees! If you want to start beekeeping you should learn howto, it won’t work with one of these… Also I wander how to clean it and what lifetime it has? I believe the classic way to keep bees is way more ecologic than this flow hype!

  • Бен Боншанс

    Also I think you can get out more honey with the centrifuge!

  • Ryan Stage

    I don’t know a single experienced beekeeper that runs one of these silly devices. A typical super runs between $30-50 and a flow super costs between $200-300! Also consider most hobbyist beekeepers i know drop off their honey supers for extraction for a $10-15 fee and don’t have to mess with anything! I toss my frames every 5-7 years due to dirt and toxin buildup on the wax so they would never come close to paying themselves off.

  • David Robert Lewis

    Would steel or wood be a better material for such a frame?

  • Mickey Finn

    As with any business, the cost of production goes down as the business expands. To get in on the bleeding edge of the technology always costs a premium. Wait a couple of years, see how the product shakes out, then invest. It would seem that this would only encourage backyard hives, a definite plus for the amatuer beekeeper. Let’s see how long these hives will last under the rigors of weather and age. Some plastics have a very short shelf life when exposed to sun and cold weather. This author appears to have that age-old syndrome: “Well that’s the way we’ve done it for ages, so let’s not change anything.” Is that what book printers said before the invention of movable press by Gutenberg? Man is designed to be inventive. Would the author give up his electricity because he deems it artificial? I think not.

  • Benjamin Goldstein

    They wont be that expensive for long, 4 weeks ago i happened too see a new hive set up in China, that looks just like Their flow hive.. and $200 USD

  • Tourmaline Aquarianox

    How would the bee’s feel when they go to remove the capping and find the honey gone…Mega Stressed… and what happens when they smell honey but can’t immediately access the site.. Mega Stressed…These hives are also a home for disease… In my mind they are rubbish

  • Cornholio

    they may not (yet) be cost effective for commercial keepers, but if you are an ameteur it might be a good option (i think the cost is down to 300 now)

  • Kristina

    You sound like a whiny brat! Like an old person complaining about cell phones vs land lines. It’s actually a pretty good contraption. It is already helping to save the bee population because many many people who would not have been able to go through what you have to go through to keep bees, are now able to with this! Look, if you’re old school, that’s fine! But not everybody who gets this is just getting it for honey!! Most of them want it to actually help keep bees without all the hassle and expense.

    It seems like you’re just pissed off that there’s something new and you don’t like other people using it because you like the other way better. Well, good for you! Some people like this way better! Get over it!! Stop trying to find bullshit fault in it, when there isn’t any! You do your bee keeping and let others do theirs. Oh and “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is not only one of the least intelligent sayings. It’s also not true at all!!

    • Maryam Henein

      The hassle? there is no ‘hassle’ keeping bees unless you are making money off of their pollination as a commercial beek. Are you another TROLL? mean spirited. I must get back to listening to bene brown. ha!

  • dicooper

    Does anybody have any links to the scientific papers on this?

  • Cherie Siebert

    I was curious about the issue of the plastic- I do know that plastics with BPA are hormone disruptors and harmful. But on the flow site, I found this ;

    “Are the Flow™ Frames made from BPA free plastic?
    In: Frequently Asked Questions

    We share your concerns around plastics and have worked hard to find the very best food grade materials.

    The clear viewing ends of the frames, as well as the honey tube and caps, are made from a virgin food grade copolyester. The manufacturers have assured us that it’s not only BPA-free, but it is not manufactured with bisphenol-S or any other bisphenol compounds.

    The manufacturers also say that third-party labs have tested this material and the results have demonstrated that it is free of estrogenic and androgenic activity. The centre frame parts are made from a virgin food grade polypropylene which is also free from any bisphenol compounds and is widely accepted as one of the safest plastics for food contact. It has also been used for many years in beehives for both brood and honey combs.

    We will keep you informed if anything changes and we begin to use any different types of materials.”

  • Gabriel Ferreira

    You know, in spite of the insulting high school condescension, ludicrous metaphysical gobbledygook and just plain weak rhetoric, I learned some valuable information. All of it, however, was in quotes. So, thank you, Jonathan Powell. I am dismayed to learn of the possible shortcomings of the Flow Hive’s plastic construction but then again the vast majority of hives, whether commercial or private, are of dubious construction. It is really too bad that the you felt it necessary to insult the reader repeatedly (and poorly). You should be ashamed of yourself but of course humility requires depth of character.

  • Mac100

    Having just read this article I was thinking there was something drastically wrong with this hive method of extracting honey, like it was actually annihilating bee colonies – but then it struck me, it’s envious more than anything. bee keepeing is a speciality, this makes it easier, soon we’ll have drone honey delivery i suppose. As for animal husbandry, beekeeping for honey is already animal husbandry isn’t it?

  • George

    It’s called freedom to chose. Look at your situation, assess which system best sits your needs, and go with your decision. Getting uppity about being purist, naturalist or techno minded is an aside to the fact people will do what they think is in their best interest eg. for person A easy harvesting, for person B playing with the bee’s, for person C future bee health etc.

  • Gus

    Bees dont like to be alone, they like to be with humans and nature.