For the past decade Australian beekeepers Cedar and Stuart Anderson have been working on a way to easily remove honey from bee hives without having to physically open the hives and disturb the bees. After years of research and testing, this father and son team have created the Flow Hive. This extraordinary invention has proved to be incredibly popular and is expected to revolutionize the beekeeping industry.
The Andersons listed the Flow Hive on crowd funding site Indiegogo.com in order to raise the $70,000 required to manufacture the Flow Hives and Flow Frames. Over 11,000 bee aficionados have contributed over $5 million dollars in funding in less than 2 weeks, making Cedar and Stuart Anderson’s invention Indiegogo’s largest fully funded campaign of all time.
The Flow Hive consists of partly formed honeycomb cell frames made from high quality, food-grade, BPA-free plastic. When the beekeeper wants to extract the honey, a lever is inserted at the top of the hive. When turned, the frame cells split vertically, creating channels that allow the honey to flow down into a sealed trough at the base of the hive. The honey flows out from the trough, through a small pipe into a collection receptacle, such as a bucket or glass jar. Once the honey has been collected from the frames, the lever is turned off and the plastic honeycomb cells go back to their original position. All this is done without disturbing the bees.
Each frame can provide up to seven pounds of honey, which means a standard hive box with six full frames could provide over 40 pounds of honey. The Andersons recommend beekeepers cut out a small section at the bottom of the box to enable visibility of the Flow Frames. As the frames are made from clear plastic, this allows the beekeeper to see when the frames are full and ready for honey collection.
Traditionally, when honey needs to be removed from bee-hives, the beekeeper has to wear a protective suit, smoke the bees into submission and then physically remove each frame from the hive so the honey can be extracted. The Flow Frames provide a far less labor intensive method, which will make life much easier for the bees and the beekeepers. The bees will now only have to be disturbed when the beekeeper does routine bee-hive maintenance.
A number of different Flow Hives are on offer, providing both new and current beekeepers with a hive that will suit their circumstances. Frames can be purchased with or without boxes, as the Flow Frames have been created to fit inside standard bee boxes, allowing beekeepers to easily replace their current frames with the new Flow Frames. Beekeepers are able to use a combination of both Flow Frames and traditional wax comb frames in the same hive if so desired.