Jason Allen-Rouman was excited as he learned hed be the first folks The United States to obtain a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary set up for years, and a recent move from downtown San Francisco to a house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy a real possibility. As being an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done lots of reading, he knew thered be work involved with maintaining healthy bees, and then he figured the latest-fangled hive that had been well-publicized on social media channels can be just one single more tool he can use because he got started.
On their website, the flow beehive had been advertised by their inventors to supply honey on tap in ways that was less stressful for that bees than conventional methods. Made with parts that may be included in a regular stacked Langstroth hive, it offers plastic frames thatwith the insertion of any giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be moved to extract honey through special tubing. For some time last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity throughout the Internet as a result of a youtube video, created to promote the new invention and lift money for its development, that went viral, racking up greater than two million views on YouTube.
But it really wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive on the beekeeping social networking site that he realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were about the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. Everyone was emotionally purchased this.
Some beekeepers worried how the Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health problems at one time when bees have tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions for the Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic for the bees.
Many wondered when the new plastic frame-splitting design could be unhealthy to the bees, crush worker bees as they filled honeycomb cells, or eliminate the babies, generally known as brood.
About the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen known as the Flow Hive an answer looking for an issue and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns that this new hive might encourage a sort of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the concept 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 is actually a living thing, not a machine for our exploitation. Im a natural beekeeper and believe that honey harvests should be carried out with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the risk of sounding a bit melodramatica sacred vocation. We are in relationship with our backyard hive, and feel our role is usually to support them, and also to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey Whatever we get we consider precious, and make use of for medicine more than sweetening.
This type of the Flow Hive features a built in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at the office inside at any time.
Side view of the see-through plastic frames on the inside of flow frame set. At the end, channels could be uncapped for releasing honey without taking out the frames.
It didnt help how the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records if you make $12.2 million dollars within just three months. At beekeeping events across the country, 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 very much cash. Critics complained that this money could be better used on academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings regarding the new hive design questioned why an organization that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed so much cash.
At the beginning, writer Rusty Burlew was amongst the skeptics. Being a beekeeping instructor, columnist for your British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, as well as the executive director in the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become well-known on her behalf sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. So when the Flow Hive video went viral, family and friends kept sending her links, asking what she thought of it. She desired to ignore the whole thing, but after some time couldnt resist checking it.
In the past especially, the Flow was marketed as a way to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or even the killing the bees, or perhaps dealing with bees, Burlew says via email. The concept they conveyed was you just bought it, placed the bees inside, and then turned the crank when you wanted honey. She was not impressed, and wrote posts on the blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees need to have a beekeepers vigilance and a certain time commitment as a way to thrive in the present US environment. Leaving these people to combat new pathogens and pests on their own, its argued, would be similar to acquiring a new puppy instead of feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, one of the inventors of your Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear within a day roughly of going public, and immediately changed how the product was marketed on the website. He hadnt meant for his invention to encourage anyone to be irresponsible.
That response has helped to soften a few of the criticism; Burlew, as an example, says she now thinks of the Flow Hive as simply a pricey device for collecting honey, not unlike other add-ons currently in the marketplace for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything you could do to make it easier so that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives instead of extracting their honey, I think thats a good thing.
I think a lot of the people who bought the Flow will become competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There is likewise people who decide bees are far too much trouble and they will abandon the entire project. But that occurs anyway. Probably the percentages of those that stay with it and people who quit will not be very different from people who begin beekeeping in virtually any other way.
Although he hasnt seen it in action yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks that the Flow Hive might be a great thing, whether it works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was among the first researchers to distinguish and document Colony Collapse Disorder decade ago, and contains worked extensively on honeybee health from the years since.
The whole procedure of extraction becomes kind of arduous, particularly for small-scale beekeepers who only need a few jars of honey from their hives each and every year, he says. Anything that you can do to really make it easier so that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as opposed to extracting their honey, I do believe thats a very important thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new and yet-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he will no longer has to go underground regarding his bee hive kits. His first package of bees, placed in a standard Langstroth hive last April, does well, and hes hopeful theyll help it become from the winter and therefore hell be able to 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, along with the president from the DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to have a close up glance at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience for that of the early adopter; he thinks you will have some things that may emerge as being the Flow Hives get dedicated to use, along with the company will have to hivve those and keep improving their design, their marketing, in addition to their product. But really, he asks, is not the same as those utilizing almost every other kind of technology?
If you are assuming that 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 good reason that we wont end up with a great deal of fantastic beekeepers.