Jason Allen-Rouman was excited when he learned hed be the first people in North America to acquire a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary setup for many years, along with a recent move from downtown San Francisco to a house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy an actuality. Being an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done a lot of reading, he knew thered be work involved with maintaining healthy bees, and he figured the latest-fangled hive which had been well-publicized on social media channels would be merely one more tool he could use since he got started.
On their website, the flow beehive have been advertised by their inventors to offer honey on tap in a way that was less stressful to the bees than conventional methods. Made with parts that could be included in a regular stacked Langstroth hive, it provides plastic frames thatwith the insertion of your giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be shifted to extract honey through special tubing. For some time last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity all over the Internet due to a video, designed to promote the newest invention and lift money because of its development, that went viral, racking up over two million views on YouTube.
Nevertheless it wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive over a beekeeping social media marketing site that he or she realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were regarding the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. Individuals were emotionally invested in this.
Some beekeepers worried that this Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health conditions at the same time when bees are receiving tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions for that Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic towards the bees.
Many wondered when the new plastic frame-splitting design would be unhealthy for that bees, crush worker bees as they filled honeycomb cells, or kill the babies, known as brood.
About the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen called the Flow Hive a remedy trying to find a difficulty and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns that this 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 a post from February 23, 2015. A beehive is actually a living thing, not a machine for our own exploitation. Im a natural beekeeper and feel that honey harvests should be finished with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the risk of sounding a little melodramatica sacred vocation. We are in relationship using our backyard hive, and feel our role is usually to support them, as well as to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey What we get we consider precious, and use for medicine more than sweetening.
This kind of the Flow Hive includes a built-in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at your workplace inside any time.
Side view of the see-through plastic frames within beekeeping equipment. At the bottom, channels might be uncapped for releasing honey without removing the frames.
It didnt help how the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records by making $12.2 million dollars within 3 months. At beekeeping events round the country, even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings about the new hive design questioned why an organization that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed that much cash. Critics complained the money could be better utilized on academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings about the new hive design questioned why a firm that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed so much cash.
Initially, writer Rusty Burlew was amongst the skeptics. Being a beekeeping instructor, columnist for your British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, along with 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 looked at it. She planned to ignore everything, but after a while couldnt resist checking it all out.
In the early days especially, the Flow was marketed in an effort to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or maybe the killing the bees, or perhaps handling bees, Burlew says via email. The concept they conveyed was you just bought this thing, placed the bees inside, and then turned the crank once you wanted honey. She was not impressed, and wrote posts in her blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees require a beekeepers vigilance along with a certain time commitment to be able to thrive in the present US environment. Leaving these people to battle new pathogens and pests on their own, its argued, could be akin to obtaining a new puppy rather than feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, one of the inventors of your Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear in just a day or more of going public, and immediately changed the way the product was marketed on the website. He hadnt created for his invention to encourage one to be irresponsible.
That response has helped to soften several of the criticism; Burlew, for instance, says she now thinks of the Flow Hive as simply an expensive device for collecting honey, not unlike a number of other add-ons currently on the market for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything that can be done to make it easier in order that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives instead of extracting their honey, I do believe thats a very good thing.
I feel lots of the those who bought the Flow will develop into competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There can also be those who decide bees are too much trouble and they will abandon the complete project. But that happens anyway. Likely the percentages of those that stay with it and those who quit will not be very different from those who begin beekeeping in any 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 the first researchers to determine and document Colony Collapse Disorder 10 years ago, and possesses worked extensively on honeybee health within the years since.
The complete procedure of extraction becomes kind of arduous, specifically for small-scale beekeepers who only want a few jars of honey from the hives every year, he says. Anything you could do to make it easier to ensure that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives rather than extracting their honey, I do believe thats a very important thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new and still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he will no longer needs to go underground along with his flow frame set. His first package of bees, placed in a standard Langstroth hive last April, has been doing well, and hes hopeful theyll ensure it is throughout the winter and that hell have the ability to incorporate the Flow Hive to the set-up next spring. Hes gotten some shouts of support from a Facebook group calling itself the Flow Hive Optimists, as well as the president of the DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to get a close up glance at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience to this for any early adopter; he thinks you will find some issues that may emerge as being the Flow Hives get put in use, and also the company must hivve those while keeping improving their design, their marketing, in addition to their product. But really, he asks, is the fact different from those dealing with almost every other kind of technology?
If you are assuming that all new beekeepers will likely be bad beekeepers, I feel thats a hazardous assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres virtually no reasons why we wont end up with a good deal of fantastic beekeepers.