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Honey Flow Hive

 
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hawkiye
Nurse Bee


Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 49
Location: USA SW Idaho

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:38 am    Post subject: Honey Flow Hive Reply with quote

Anyone seen or know anything about this hive. It looks interesting. Maybe put these supers on top of a Perone type hive perhaps? The brood chamber it left alone and you can harvest without disturbing the bees...

http://www.honeyflow.com/
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 395
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the full story hasn't been revealed yet - I gather that this works by installing custom-made single-sided fenestrated plastic combs 'back-to-back'. When the tap is operated, it somehow splits the double-spine of these combs apart so as to allow the honey to drain off. Just about as far away from 'natural beekeeping' as it's possible to get ...

Sounds like it could be an initially expensive installation, although one which commercial honey-farmers might find profitable in the long-term.

Colin
BBC
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 395
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update - the latest word is that these frames cost $58 each - what's that - around £40 ?
So - that's around £400 to kit out one super - you'd need to pull an awful lot of honey to recoup that amount of capital investment ...

But - if anyone is curious about this invention - there's a thread about it over at Beemaster:
http://www.beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=46340.0

Colin
BBC
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rmcpb
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Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still not sure why this expensive option is better than just harvesting the comb as usual. It risks over harvesting in many backyard hives and would be VERY slow and expensive for commercial beeks.

Cheers
Rob
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1046
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Flow hive thoughts Reply with quote

People keep asking me what I think of the new 'Flow Hive', so FWIW here are my thoughts.

First, it is not a new hive, but simply an add-on to a conventional hive - really just a set of special frames, and only for honey, not brood. This removes many objections on the grounds of 'propolis jamming it up' and 'eggs laid in plastic foundation' - they are simply not going to happen if it is used correctly.

Do I approve of it? Only insofar as I approve of any conventional beekeeping, which I don't very much. I don't like plastic in hives - particularly plastic foundation - and I don't like unnecessary disturbances in the lives of bees, BUT- this device actually reduces such disturbance, as well as removing the need for a centrifugal extractor and other extraction/bottling equipment, so from that point of view, it is 'greener', provided it has a long life, which it should have, given that the moving parts only move infrequently and with little load stress.

As a piece of thoughtful engineering I think it is remarkable. I was invited to look at it and contribute my thoughts about 6 months before the launch, and while I expressed some reservations - particularly about crystallization of honey in the combs - I could see that, for some people, this was what they had been waiting for to take up beekeeping.

Given that most people live in urban locations, the storage problems generated by conventional equipment are considerable, especially when much of it is only used occasionally. Add to this the fact that bees can become very defensive when whole supers of honey are removed from their hives, which can put people off keeping them in populated areas or near their own house, then this device could be a boon to the backyard beekeeper who wants to disturb her bees as little as possible.

There have been accusations of 'exploitation' and even 'cruelty' associated with this product, but I suggest it is rather less exploitative or cruel than the violent methods currently used by commercial beekeepers to take honey - such things as bee-blowers result in the deaths of millions of bees during the honey-taking operation. This device enables honey to be taken in modest quantities without opening the hive.

Lastly, there is the question of 'attitude': promoters of the Flow Hive have been accused of 'callousness' and having a 'mindset of casual exploitation'. I must say that this is not borne out by my correspondence with the inventors, who appear to have bee welfare very much at heart.

Used correctly and with due care, this device may well increase people's awareness and appreciation of the lives of bees, and reduce the casual disruption promoted by so many beekeeping organizations. By enabling the removal of some of the honey at the right times, bees are able to top up the cells without having to suffer the violent removal of honey supers and the collateral damage this entails.

'Attitude' is not something that is derived from or dependent upon any particular device. A tool is a tool: an axe can be used for chopping wood or for killing someone. If people are of a mind to exploit nature, then they will find ways to do so. If they learn to appreciate the natural world, then they will treat it with respect, regardless of the tools they happen to be using.
I still prefer to do my beekeeping in top bar hives, because of their simplicity of construction and use and bee-friendly design, but given that many people prefer to use movable-frame hives, I see this device as a possible alternative to the 'box-removal and centrifugal extraction' method that may appeal to some beekeepers.
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semiautonomous
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Joined: 30 Dec 2013
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Location: England, Shropshire, Shrewsbury

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree Phil. As a peace of lateral thinking and practical engineering I think its fabulous.

BBC wrote:
So - that's around £400 to kit out one super - you'd need to pull an awful lot of honey to recoup that amount of capital investment ...


As Phil said, when you consider that, at least for new beekeepers, it removes the need to buy all the expensive and bulky honey extraction paraphernalia its not actually that costly and very convenient.
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would get pretty expensive if you have more than one honey super.

Still don't see the need for it.

Cheers
Rob
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that it is a very interesting piece of design.
It is however another case of something being hailed as solving all your problems when in fact it just changes what the problems are. It is a tool and will only ever be a considered and useful as the guiding hand.
Some of claims I have read stating that it is less traumatic for the bees is perhaps a little hard to substantiate. Either way you are robbing them of honey just because you don't have to directly witness the effect on them doesn't mean it hasn't happened. What is does do is allow the easy extraction of honey without someone actively assessing the hives condition and therefore whether or not the honey should/could be harvested.

In the experience so far the biggest problem with conventional beekeeping is how much it costs. The more it costs, the more honey you need to sell to recoup the costs. The more honey you sell the more equipment/supplies you continue to buy the produce honey. The more equipment/supplies you buy the more honey you have to sell. It is a vicous circle which leads to the marker of "successful" beekeeping as the amount of honey produced in place of health of the bees.

Does anyone know how it controls for the extraction of uncapped honey/nectar?
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1046
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an observation window on the version I saw, that allows you to check the extent of capping before drawing off honey. Not foolproof, but if you are only taking it for short-term consumption, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Tavascarow
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 962
Location: UK Cornwall Snozzle

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This page from the natural beekeeping trust sums up my feelings far more eloquently than I can.
As an ex conventional beekeeper (as I know many of us here are) the thing that drew me to 'natural' was, as Phil puts it 'access to all'. The sheer fact that anyone with a saw, hammer, a few screws & old pallets can make a fully functioning & practical beehive. Of course as I've studied more I realise that not only does it benefit those that can't afford but the bees are healthier & happier.
I don't have a problem with the flow hive, I can see it will attract more people to beekeeping. I fear many of those new beeks will not interact with their bees in any way other than throwing a switch to harvest, which is a shame & will probably be to the detriment of the bees.
But I'm sure there are natural beeks who do the same.
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 395
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was rather taken aback by Phil's earlier post, for I agree with Tavascarow that this device - although perhaps(?) ingenious - is diametrically opposed to 'green' and 'KISS' principles which feature so widely elsewhere in this forum.

But - putting the ethical and moral dimensions to one side for a moment - is this really an 'ingenious' invention ? For there is an old saying that: "if something is too good to be true - it usually is".

Now that more information has become available, it appears that this invention isn't based on the principle that many people (including myself) had assumed - which was that each comb is split down the mid-rib.

Here is a Patent from 1939/40, showing this principle:




If a suitable material were to be chosen for the mid-rib, such as rubber with sufficient Shore hardness to prevent bees from chewing it, yet soft enough to maintain a seal whenever synthetic combs were pressed against it, this mechanism would undoubtedly work - and continue to work reliably for many years. But why did this invention never catch on ? Perhaps 1939 and the onset of WWII were focussing people's minds on more pressing matters ...



Looking at the following clip from the Flow-Hive Patent Application explains why this invention has taken so long to develop, why it is so complex, and why the combs are so expensive to produce:



The decision to split combs like this is (imo) bizarre - for the mechanism must then be manufactured and hand-assembled with the precision of a watchmaker, and does not lend itself to mass manufacturing methods.

The decision to seek funding via the somewhat dubious route of crowdfunding rather than seek investment via conventional venture capital methods (where scrutiny and investor protection feature) is now completely understandable.
As too is the rather slick marketing technique of advancing sample devices to prominent individuals and then publicise (what appears to be) their endorsement.

But Michael Bush, for example, has gone on record as saying: "I was given some frames and asked to test them and give my opinion, which I did. I am not endorsing them. Incredulity seems to be the biggest issue they were facing. I'm just saying they work."

And indeed, they may well work at first, when brand new. But will they continue to work after several years of use, when the many hundreds of mating surfaces develop wear and begin to leak ? And what happens if the user 'misses the window' and allows honey to crystallise within such combs ?

In my view, this device will only appeal to the gullible novice, or those with large amounts of disposable income to be relieved of.

Colin
BBC
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If honey is only drawn off when moisture content sufficiently low, surely the capping will prevent the bees topping up the comb? Or am I missing something? Will they chew off the capping to put more in? Or, will the wax have to be harvested before the device is re-used? Still lots of questions.
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AugustC
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Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They should chew of the capping and refill.
From what Colin posted though I do wonder how well the parts will meet after a few seasons of use.
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catchercradle
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Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1478
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As Phil said, when you consider that, at least for new beekeepers, it removes the need to buy all the expensive and bulky honey extraction paraphernalia its not actually that costly and very convenient.


Having got almost all my equipment when I first started free including a 2 frame extractor, it still seems like a lot of money to me.
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biobee
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Joined: 14 Jun 2007
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This video should help anyone for whom the mechanism is not yet clear - http://youtu.be/ryWC92NT2Eo
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
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Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were primarily keeping bees in frame hives and had lots of money I might be tempted, though I wonder what the propolis does to the plastic after a season or two?
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exmar
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Joined: 16 Apr 2014
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Location: SE Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent topic. I'm impressed with this design for only one reason. The market research that went into it and the marketing surrounding it now. I think this is a "niche" item for the folks who want to be "green" and help the bees, and get a little honey. Also those folks have $$ to spend, for their new hobby.

Some of the things I read about "more humane honey harvest, etc." had me literally scratching my head? Harvesting frames of honey from supers is far away from the brood chambers, etc. I don't find it particuarlly difficult or inhumane to remove the frames of honey, having smoked the bees lightly and brushing any remaining back into the hive?

Referring to marketing above, it all is about how easy it is to get honey. How about hive inspections, and all the other things required in being a Beek? Evidently, these hives have special bees that do not require any attention, don't swarm, don't need to be split, etc. I know that one of my hives has 4 honey supers on it right now (very strong hive) and will probably remove a couple and replace this week. What happens to this hive when it gets honey bound?

Let's face it, "traditional" is not popular if it involves work, new and "gimmicky," is popular, particuarly if you ring in honey bees, humane, and the product is very fancy looking which will look well in your designer yard.

JMHO,

Ev
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Dexter's shed
Scout Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started following the flow hive team when the fundraising was first launched, and at first, thought it was a con, but I was taken by the first video, and at that time didn't have my own extractor (I do now) but I had some spare cash burning a hole in my pocket, so took the gamble on ordering 7 frames and the box, of course that meant I needed a langstroth hive, so found one of good old e bay, along with a langstroth poly nuc, now I just needed a swarm to get the hive started before my order arrives, I was quoted a september delivery, so next year before it get's used, but thought it would give us something interesting to discuss at my local bee association, I'm the chairman so like to keep everyone guessing, since the launch they started a flow forum, which I was invited to become a moderator on, there's also a UK facebook page where they asked the same.

this product has bought alot of new keepers into getting bees, some had the silly notion that it was as easy as adding bees and turning a tap, and I think you will see a lot of these units on e bay early next year when people realise there's more to it, but it's also got a lot of people via the forum, doing it the correct way, some getting hives set up now ready for the frames.

since ordering I've been told I'll be getting mine delivered sooner, so I may just get a chance to try them this year, it's only a different means of extraction, and is getting the same sort of reviews that probably happened when the first spinner was invented, as up until then it was crush and strain, destroy the wax combs, this method will hopefully just give us a different way of extracting, I'll still do cut comb, and extracting using my spinner, but also use the flow frames,.

I'll keep you posted
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Bohatyaor
New Bee


Joined: 27 Apr 2016
Posts: 1
Location: uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is a "niche" item for the folks who want to be "green" and help the bees, and get a little honey. Also those folks have $$ to spend, for their new hobby. ????


lol
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ethanfedorov
New Bee


Joined: 11 Sep 2017
Posts: 1
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Informative thread, I learned a lot of things from it. The Flow Hive allows the beekeeper to harvest honey without opening up the hive and with minimal disturbance to the bees.

beemanlivebeeremoval[dot]com
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