We know that honeybees are having a rough time, so we're very excited to hear about Flow Hive—a new honey collection and extraction system that allows beekeepers to easily harvest honey from their hives by quite literally having it on tap. The result of 10 years of careful research and design from Australian father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson, the Flow system replaces regular frames in standard beehives and means beekeepers can harvest their hives without having to open them, disturb the bees or risk being stung. The Flow Hive blew its Indiegogo campaign out of the water on its first day, receiving more than $1 million in pledges. Click through to read more about the design that could revolutionize beekeeping and that makes it so much easier for backyard beekeepers to do their bit to help honeybees and their vital pollination work.
As the Andersons explain: “The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with honey and cap the cells as usual. When you turn the tool, a bit like a tap, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels, allowing the honey to flow down to a sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive, while the bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface. When the honey has finished draining, you turn the tap again in the upper slot which resets the comb into the original position and allows the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it with honey again.”
The realization that there had to be a better way to extract honey from hives came to Cedar Anderson 10 years ago after a particularly messy and disruptive attempt to extract honey that resulted in many dead, squashed bees and fair few stings for him. After a decade of designing and testing, Cedar and his father, Stuart, have developed a system that uses a regular bee brood box combined with one or more “Flow Supers” for honey storage and extraction. Read more: Amazing new Flow Hive lets beekeepers harvest honey on tap | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
The Flow frames are designed to fit either an eight or 10 frame Langstroth beehive box. The Andersons say a full, eight-frame, deep super would take six Flow frames, and a 10-frame super would take seven Flow frames. With a bit of customization the Flow frames can also fit into UK National and Warre boxes.
Just one Flow frame will yield a harvest of around 7 lbs (3kg) of honey.
If you buy the complete box kit, the design has a little window on the side that lets you watch your bees at work and see when the honey is ready to harvest. You’ll still need to open your beehive a couple of times a year to check on the health of the bees, but this system is much less disruptive and less stressful on the bees than the usual method.