15 Apr 2015

The flow hive - the discussion continues

I posted my reservations re. the famous (infamous?) Flow Hive in the previous post.  These reservations were sort-of ideological so maybe not convincing for many.  With this post I am trying to go a bit more down to earth to look at nitty-gritties of beekeeping with the the Flow Hive.

The Flow Hive looks very attractive but my concern is that many ignorant people with no bee knowledge will go for it expecting honey with no work involved. Something for nothing. It always looks attractive but seldom if ever works. The ignorant ones will expect that all they need to do is to crank the handle and every time they will get honey flowing out. This is what the promo videos promise, don't they? In reality they are likely to instigate robbing, breed varroa, promote SHB infection, wax moth and swarms that will annoy and irritate neighbours.

 Overharvesting is a real risk.  If all you do is to crank the handle, how will you know that comb is ready for a new harvest?  There is no need to look inside the hive or whatever, one can get stung, let's just turn the handle and see what comes out. Cranking the handle while bees are refilling the comb may yield something else than honey flowing out - bits and pieces of bees.

Responsible beekeeping (the nasty word again) requires that the hive be managed to minimize swarming.  The hive needs periodical check for diseases or a failing queen.  SHB is a new and VERY real problem.  Varroa is on a horizon, it is just a matter of time before it comes.

There is more to responsible beekeeping than pinching the honey.  I stress the word "responsible".
Promises of something for nothing are dangerous and usually end in tears.

I see the "invention" to be a dangerous concept.  But I may be badly wrong and if so - I will be the first to admit it.  Time will tell.


JohnandJean said...

With any technological change there is an upside and a downside. This particular one will encourage a lot of inexperienced new comers to try their hand because they think it will be easier. Some or even many of these will fail because they won't care for their hives in an appropriate manner. This could increase the disease and pest load with negative consequences for existing populations of bees. The problem then being not the technology but its implementation.

I wonder if the best way to address this is through embracing the new bee keepers with offers of mentoring assistance.

Rodderick said...

I feel you will be proved mostly wrong, many responsible city beekeepers have taken up the offer by purchasing a few flow hive frames. The Flow Hive team estimate that 50% of the Flow take up is from existing beekeepers and the rest are new and these are being directed to local bee clubs for mentoring and advice. I have no doubt some will fail but have confidence that most will succeed and with the backing of online forums and clubs their experience and success will be up to us to guide them through this great pastime.