Jason Allen-Rouman was excited as he learned hed be one of the primary people in The United States to receive a Flow Hive for his backyard. Hed been dreaming about getting an apiary put in place for several years, along with a recent move from downtown San Francisco to a house in Washington, D.C., meant he could finally make his fantasy possible. As being an aspiring beekeeper whod taken some classes and done plenty of reading, he knew thered be work involved in maintaining healthy bees, and he figured the new-fangled hive which had been well-publicized on social media channels can be merely one more tool he can use because he got started.
On their website, the flow frame have been advertised by their inventors to offer honey on tap in ways that was less stressful to the bees than traditional methods. Made with parts that may be integrated into a standard stacked Langstroth hive, it provides plastic frames thatwith the insertion of a giant-sized Allen wrenchcan be moved to extract honey through special tubing. For quite a while last February, the Flow Hive enjoyed unprecedented celebrity throughout the Internet because of a youtube video, created to promote the newest invention and raise money because of its development, that went viral, racking up more than two million views on YouTube.
However it wasnt until Allen-Rouman posted about his new hive on the beekeeping social media marketing site he realized how angry some veteran beekeepers were concerning the topic. Oh my God, the hostility,he says. Individuals were emotionally invested in this.
Some beekeepers worried how the Flow Hive would promote sloppy beekeeping and encourage bee-health conditions at any given time when bees have tremendous declines. Others were offended by promotions for your 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 to the bees, crush worker bees as they filled honeycomb cells, or eliminate the babies, referred to as brood.
On the blog Root Simple, author Erik Knutzen called the Flow Hive an alternative searching for an issue and admonished its inventors for encouraging an exploitive relationship with bees. He expressed concerns the new hive might encourage a sort of greediness among new beekeepers.
Conceptually, the notion that a beehive is sort of a beer keg it is possible to tap is troublesome, Knutzen writes in a post from February 23, 2015. A beehive can be a living thing, not much of a machine for your exploitation. Im an organic beekeeper and feel that honey harvests needs to be done with caution and respect. To us, beekeeping is, at the potential risk of sounding a little bit melodramatica sacred vocation. Our company is in relationship with the backyard hive, and feel our role is to support them, and to very occasionally accept the gift of excess honey Everything we get we consider precious, and utilize for medicine more than sweetening.
This kind of the Flow Hive incorporates a built-in observation feature; by opening a side door a beekeeper can observe their bees at work inside whenever.
Side look at the see-through plastic frames inside of beekeeping equipment. In the bottom, channels can be uncapped for releasing honey without eliminating the frames.
It didnt help how the Flow Hive companys Indiegogo fundraising campaign had broken records if you make $12.2 million dollars in just 3 months. At beekeeping events around 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 this money may be better utilized on academic bee research.
Even beekeepers who didnt have strong feelings in regards to the new hive design questioned why an organization that originally sought $70,000 for design development needed much cash.
At first, writer Rusty Burlew was among the skeptics. As being a beekeeping instructor, columnist to the British Beekeepers Association magazine Bee Craft, and the executive director of the Native Bee Conservancy, shes become popular for her sometimes caustic opinions on beekeeping trends and fads. And once the Flow Hive video went viral, family and friends kept sending her links, asking what she thought of it. She planned to ignore the whole thing, but after a while couldnt resist checking it out.
In the early days especially, the Flow was marketed in order to harvest honey without harming the bees, or bothering the bees, or the killing the bees, and even handling bees, Burlew says via email. The concept they conveyed was you just bought this thing, place the bees inside, after which turned the crank if you wanted honey. She had not been impressed, and wrote posts on the blog Honey Bee Suite saying so, here and here.
Bees require a beekeepers vigilance along with a certain time commitment in order to thrive in the current US environment. Leaving those to protect against new pathogens and pests on their own, its argued, can be similar to getting a new puppy instead of feeding or house-training it.
Cedar Anderson, one of many inventors in the Flow Hive, says he heard this feedback loud and clear in just a day approximately of going public, and immediately changed just how the product was marketed on the website. He hadnt designed for his invention to encourage one to be irresponsible.
That response helps to soften a number of the criticism; Burlew, as an example, says she now thinks about the Flow Hive as simply an expensive device for collecting honey, not unlike other accessories currently available on the market for Langstroth-style supers and hives.
Anything that can be done making it easier so that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives instead of extracting their honey, I believe thats a very important thing.
I believe lots of the people who bought the Flow will turn into competent and caring beekeepers, she says. There is likewise individuals who decide bees are way too much trouble and they can abandon the full project. But that occurs anyway. Most likely the percentages of people who remain with it and those who quit will not be quite different from individuals who begin beekeeping in virtually any other way.
Although he hasnt seen it in action yet, University of Marylands Dennis VanEnglesdorp thinks the Flow Hive can be quite a great thing, if it works as promised. VanEnglesdorp was among the first researchers to determine and document Colony Collapse Disorder decade ago, and has worked extensively on honeybee health in the years since.
The whole procedure for extraction becomes sort of arduous, specifically for small-scale beekeepers who only want a few jars of honey off their hives annually, he says. Anything you can do making it easier to ensure that beekeepers can spend their time managing their hives as an alternative to extracting their honey, I believe thats a very good thing.
Jason Allen-Rouman pulls out a frame from his new but still-unused Flow Hive in Washington, D.C.. Alison Gillespie
Back in D.C., Jason Allen-Rouman has decided he not any longer must go underground regarding his self harvesting bee hive. His first package of bees, set up in a standard Langstroth hive last April, has been doing well, and hes hopeful theyll help it become throughout the winter which hell be able 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 the president of your DC Beekeepers Alliance recently stopped by, eager to have a close up look at the new invention.
Allen-Rouman likens his experience to that of the early adopter; he thinks you will have some conditions that may emerge since the Flow Hives get placed into use, and the company must hivve those and maintain improving their design, their marketing, along with their product. But really, he asks, is the fact different from those dealing with any other type of technology?
In case you are assuming that new beekeepers are going to be bad beekeepers, I do believe thats an unsafe assumption, says Flow Hives Anderson. Every beekeeper was new once, and theres basically no good reason why we wont end up with a great deal of fantastic beekeepers.