An Australian beekeeper, Stuart Anderson, and his son Cedar have invented something they’re calling the Flow Hive, a device that lets beekeepers dispense honey directly from a tap without actually disturbing the bees. As anyone who’s watched the videos knows (or tried themselves), harvesting that stuff is full of hassles: an elaborate Hazmat getup, smoke guns, hot knives, wax, a centrifuge. With Flow Hive, it’s just turn knob, collect fresh honey. The Andersons say they spent a decade designing and prototyping this thing, and it’s finally ready:
The workhorse of the patented “flow frame” is a prefab honeycomb that bees fill just like they would any other comb. “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,” the site explains. “The bees are practically undisturbed.” Once the hive’s drained, you turn off the tap, returning the channels to their closed position.
Flow Hive already has endorsements from a dozen or so apiculture VIPs, who’ve described it with words like “the Holy Grail of beekeeping.” But the contraption is crazy enough to make some dubious of whether it’s for real — as one commenter wrote on YouTube, “No uncapping, no centrifuging, to collect filtered honey straight from a active hive? I am not saying not true but I am very skeptical.” Another on Redditor was disturbed by the honey’s clarity: “When you harvest honey from a traditional hive there’s all kinds of shit in it like pollen, honeycomb, dead bee parts. You often have to filter it multiple times.”
The Andersons did say their system has “no need for filters,” or much else, apparently, but are otherwise mostly just keeping everybody in the dark until February 23, the day they will launch the Flow Hive Kickstarter.