Beekeepers know the difficulties involved in harvesting honey; hassles of a hazmat suit, smoke guns, hot knives, and a wax centrifuge. Now, an Australian beekeeper, Stuart Anderson, and his son Cedar have invented what they call the “Flow Hive.”
Flow Hive is a device that lets beekeepers dispense honey directly from a tap without actually disturbing the bees. The Andersons claim to have spent a decade designing and prototyping this device. With Flow Hive, it’s just as easy as turning a door knob.
According to the firm, “Our new invention that allows honey to be harvested directly from the hive without opening the hive and with little disturbance to the bees.” The main part of the Flow Hive is the “flow frame,” which is a prefab honeycomb that bees fill just like they would any other comb. The flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with honey and cap the cells as usual. When you ‘flip the switch’ it’s a bit like a tap, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels allowing the honey to flow down to sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive while the bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface. The firm further added, “A flow hive is our term for a standard beehive using a brood box with one or more Flow Supers for honey storage and extraction.” When the honey has finished draining you turn the tap again in the upper slot to reset the comb into the original position allowing the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it with honey again.
Flow Hive will be launched on Kickstarter on February 23. According to the company, it takes from 20 to more than 120 minutes to completely drain a hive based upon the viscosity and temperature of the honey while each frame is capable of cranking up about 3kg.