Jason Allen-Rouman was excited when he learned hed be one of the first individuals America to acquire a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary setup for years, and a recent move from downtown San Francisco to a house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy an actuality. As an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done a great deal of reading, he knew thered be work associated with maintaining healthy bees, and then he figured the brand new-fangled hive that had been well-publicized on social networking channels can be only one more tool he could use as he got started.
On their website, the flow hive ended up being advertised by their inventors to deliver honey on tap in a manner that was less stressful for the bees than conventional methods. Created with parts that might be integrated into a standard stacked Langstroth hive, it includes plastic frames thatwith the insertion of the giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be moved to extract honey through special tubing. For a time last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity throughout the Internet thanks to a video, made to promote the new invention and raise money for the development, that went viral, racking up over two million thoughts about YouTube.
But it wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive on the beekeeping social websites site which he realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were concerning the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. People were emotionally invested in this.
Some beekeepers worried the Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health issues at one time when bees have tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions to the Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic to the bees.
Many wondered if the new plastic frame-splitting design could be unhealthy to the bees, crush worker bees because they filled honeycomb cells, or kill the babies, generally known as brood.
About the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen referred to as the Flow Hive an alternative looking for a challenge and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns that the new hive might encourage a kind of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the idea that a beehive is like a beer keg you are able to tap is troublesome, Knutzen writes in the post from February 23, 2015. A beehive can be a living thing, not just a machine for the exploitation. Im an organic beekeeper and feel that honey harvests has to be done with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the potential risk of sounding a little melodramatica sacred vocation. We have been in relationship with our backyard hive, and feel our role is always to support them, and also to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey What we get we consider precious, and utilize for medicine over sweetening.
This model of the Flow Hive includes a built in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at work inside any time.
Side take a look at the see-through plastic frames on the inside of self tapping beehive. Towards the bottom, channels may be uncapped for releasing honey without removing the frames.
It didnt help that the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records through making $12.2 million dollars in just 3 months. At beekeeping events across the country, even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings in regards to the new hive design questioned why a firm that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed that much cash. Critics complained that this money might be better suited for academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings regarding the new hive design questioned why a business that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed that much cash.
In the beginning, writer Rusty Burlew was amongst the skeptics. As being a beekeeping instructor, columnist for your British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, and also the executive director from the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become well-known on her behalf sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. When the Flow Hive video went viral, family and friends kept sending her links, asking what she thought about it. She desired to ignore the whole thing, but eventually couldnt resist checking it all out.
In the past especially, the Flow was marketed in order to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or maybe the killing the bees, as well as handling bees, Burlew says via email. The concept they conveyed was you just bought it, put the bees inside, and then turned the crank whenever you wanted honey. She was not impressed, and wrote posts in her blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees demand a beekeepers vigilance as well as a certain time commitment as a way to thrive in the current US environment. Leaving them to protect against new pathogens and pests independently, its argued, can be similar to receiving a new puppy and never feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, among the inventors from the Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear inside a day or so of going public, and immediately changed the way the product was marketed on the website. He hadnt created for his invention to encourage anyone to be irresponsible.
That response helps to soften several of the criticism; Burlew, as an example, says she now thinks about the Flow Hive as simply an expensive device for collecting honey, not unlike a few other accessories currently available on the market for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything you could do to make it easier in order that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as opposed to extracting their honey, I think thats the best thing.
I do believe most of the individuals who bought the Flow will turn into competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There is likewise people who decide bees are too much trouble and they can abandon the whole project. But that takes place anyway. Probably the percentages of those that stick to it and people who quit will not be not the same as those that begin beekeeping in every other way.
Although he hasnt seen it actually in operation yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks the Flow Hive might be a good thing, whether it works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was one of the first researchers to identify and document Colony Collapse Disorder decade ago, and it has worked extensively on honeybee health from the years since.
The entire procedure of extraction becomes kind of arduous, especially for small-scale beekeepers who only require a few jars of honey off their hives every year, he says. Anything you could do so it will be easier to ensure that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as an alternative to extracting their honey, I feel thats a good thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new and still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Way back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he not any longer must go underground with his flow frame set. His first package of bees, set up in a conventional Langstroth hive last April, has been doing well, and hes hopeful theyll make it from the winter and that hell be capable of incorporate the Flow Hive to the set-up next spring. Hes gotten some shouts of support from the Facebook group calling itself the Flow Hive Optimists, and the president from the DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to acquire a close up look at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience to this of any early adopter; he thinks you will see some things that may emerge as the Flow Hives get dedicated to use, and the company will have to hivve those and maintain improving their design, their marketing, along with their product. But really, he asks, is not the same as those utilizing any other type of technology?
Should you be assuming that every new beekeepers will probably be bad beekeepers, I think thats a dangerous assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres simply no reason why we wont get a great deal of fantastic beekeepers.