Jason Allen-Rouman was excited as he learned hed be the first people in America to acquire a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary create for a long time, plus a recent move from downtown San Francisco to a house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy a real possibility. For an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done lots of reading, he knew thered be work involved in maintaining healthy bees, and the man figured the newest-fangled hive that had been well-publicized on social media channels can be just one more tool he could use since he got started.
On their website, the flow hive had been advertised by their inventors to supply honey on tap in a manner that was less stressful for that bees than conventional methods. Developed with parts that might be integrated into a standard stacked Langstroth hive, it contains 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 because of a relevant video, made to promote the brand new invention and raise money for its development, that went viral, racking up over two million views on YouTube.
But it wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive on the beekeeping social media site that he realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were concerning the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. People were emotionally dedicated to this.
Some beekeepers worried that the Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health conditions at one time when bees are receiving tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions to the Flow Hive, feeling they depicted honey harvesting as disrespectful and antagonistic towards the bees.
Many wondered in the event the new plastic frame-splitting design can be unhealthy for the bees, crush worker bees because they filled honeycomb cells, or eliminate the babies, called brood.
On the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen called the Flow Hive an alternative 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 kind of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the notion that a beehive is sort of a beer keg you can tap is troublesome, Knutzen writes in the post from February 23, 2015. A beehive can be a living thing, not a machine for the exploitation. Im an all-natural beekeeper and believe that honey harvests has to be completed with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the danger of sounding a little bit melodramatica sacred vocation. Our company is in relationship with the backyard hive, and feel our role is always to support them, as well as very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey What we get we consider precious, and make use of for medicine greater than sweetening.
This model of the Flow Hive incorporates a built-in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at your workplace inside any moment.
Side view of the see-through plastic frames on the inside of beekeeping equipment. At the bottom, channels may be uncapped for releasing honey without eliminating the frames.
It didnt help how the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records through making $12.2 million dollars in only three months. At beekeeping events across the country, even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings about the new hive design questioned why a company that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed very much cash. Critics complained that the money may be better utilized on academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings concerning the new hive design questioned why a business that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed so much cash.
In the beginning, writer Rusty Burlew was on the list of skeptics. As a beekeeping instructor, columnist to the British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, and the executive director from the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become recognized for her sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. So when the Flow Hive video went viral, relatives and buddies kept sending her links, asking what she thought of it. She planned to ignore everything, but after a while couldnt resist checking it out.
In the past especially, the Flow was marketed in order to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or the killing the bees, or even handling bees, Burlew says via email. The idea they conveyed was you merely bought it, put the bees inside, then turned the crank when you wanted honey. She had not been impressed, and wrote posts on her blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees call for a beekeepers vigilance plus a certain time commitment so that you can thrive in the present US environment. Leaving these people to battle new pathogens and pests by themselves, its argued, can be akin to getting a new puppy and not feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, among the inventors in the Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear inside a day approximately of going public, and immediately changed the way the product was marketed online. He hadnt intended for his invention to encourage anyone to be irresponsible.
That response helps to soften a few of the criticism; Burlew, for example, says she now thinks about the Flow Hive as simply a costly device for collecting honey, not unlike other accessories currently in the marketplace for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything that you can do making it easier to ensure that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as opposed to extracting their honey, I think thats a good thing.
I believe lots of the people who bought the Flow will become competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There will also be individuals who decide bees are extremely much trouble and they will abandon the whole project. But you do anyway. Likely the percentages of those that stay with it and people who quit will not be quite different from people who begin beekeeping in almost any other way.
Although he hasnt seen it actually in operation yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks that this Flow Hive could be a great thing, when it works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was the first researchers to identify and document Colony Collapse Disorder decade ago, and it has worked extensively on honeybee health within the years since.
The complete procedure of extraction becomes sort of arduous, especially for small-scale beekeepers who only want a few jars of honey off their hives every year, he says. Anything that you can do to really make it easier to ensure beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as opposed to extracting their honey, I believe thats a very important thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new yet still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Back D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he not any longer has got to go underground together with his flow frame kit. His first package of bees, set up in a conventional Langstroth hive last April, has been doing well, and hes hopeful theyll ensure it is from the winter and that hell have the capacity to incorporate the Flow Hive into the set-up next spring. Hes gotten some shouts of support from your Facebook group calling itself the Flow Hive Optimists, and also the president of your DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to obtain a close up look at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience to that particular associated with a early adopter; he thinks you will have some conditions that may emerge as the Flow Hives get put into use, along with the company will need to hivve those while keeping improving their design, their marketing, along with their product. But really, he asks, is that different from those dealing with every other form of technology?
If you are assuming that most new beekeepers will be bad beekeepers, I do believe thats an unsafe assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres absolutely no good reason that we wont end up with a whole lot of fantastic beekeepers.