What’s Wrong with a Flow Hive?

What’s Wrong with a Flow Hive?

The new flow hive recently introduced to apiary supporters around the world is gaining monumental support.

Launched on February 22, 2015, through the crowd funding site Indie GOGO, the flow hive- which is the brain child of Australian Cedar Anderson- has now received nearly six and a half million dollars. The flow hive initiative originally set out to garner $70,000 in start-up funds.

This is a major success, to say the least. There are also 19 days remaining to fund the flow hive.

While many see the flow hive as a blessing for beekeepers and the bee population, some experienced apiary enthusiasts are expressing concerns over the usability of the flow hive.

“I think the Flow Hive has struck an already tense nerve because right now everyone wants more beekeepers,” says Eliza De La Portilla in a piece published by the Huffington Post.

The recent decline in honey bee numbers has brought attention to their importance in our society. It has been made clear that we need bees to eat many of our favorite foods, as they provide the pollination process that makes germination possible.

How Does the Flow Hive Work?

Flow Hive Photo Courtesy of Indie GOGOThe flow hive is said to function much like a regular hive. However, the honey combs are movable. When the beekeeper turns a handle located on the outside of the hive, these honey combs open up into straight columns that the honey is able to flow freely down thanks to the natural pull of gravity. Before a beekeeper would have to remove the frames himself, while trying their best not to disturb the bees. This method allows the honey to flow through a 3/4 inch tube (or larger) and into a standard jar or container.

 So why is De La Portilla skeptical about using a flow hive?

According to her speculation, the flow hive may not be suitable for those living in colder climates, as honey is known to crystallize at low temperatures.

Another thing to consider is disease. When a disease infects the brood or  any of the bees, it is typical for a beekeeper to burn this hive and allow the bees to move to another one that is free from disease. The flow hive is kind of costly. Burning this hive may set a beekeeper back financially. Some smaller beekeeping operations, and those looking to take up beekeeping as a hobby, may also shy away from the flow hive because of its high price tag.

De La Portilla also explains that the flow hive may encourage ‘hive robbing,’ which is the process where other bees sense the honey and try to abscond with it.
“Some images of the hives show uncovered jars of honey, others show Slurpee like covers to deter anything from falling inside them,” she explains. “Should a Beekeeper have more than one hive, having open jars or honey, even for a short while, will promote honey robbing between the hives.”

De La Portilla, who has been involved with beekeeping for many years in Florida, also notes that she does not personally own a beehive. These are merely conjectural thoughts put forward for purposes of practicality.

Other Benefits of Having a Hive at Home

There are many benefits to owning your own hive, even besides the free honey. Many people use the beeswax and propolis for healing purposes. Beeswax is a common ingredient in many types of  natural lip balm and bar soaps. It has also been used for years in candle making.

Maintaining hives does not have to be a commercial venture. In fact, there are places that provide bee hive rentals just so people can have healthier gardens.

The recent decline in honey bee numbers has some encouraging everyone interested to try a hive, and help to promote healthy honey bee numbers.

The flow hive hopes to make it easier for the average ‘Joe’ to begin his own beehive. However, as a beekeepers, De La Portilla projects that this admirable goal could cause disappointment for some in the long run.

“My biggest worry is that people invest in a Hive and then with dreams of easy use, abandon them when they realize they require more care or work or knowledge than they might have.”

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