Back in 2015, Australian father and son team Stuart and Cedar Anderson came up with a revolutionary honey-harvesting invention they named Flow Hive. They are now launching Flow Hive 2 on the North Coast, which is a redesign of the Flow Hive Classic, with 14 new innovations, all designed to improve the beekeeping experience and make the Flow honey harvesting system even easier on both the bees and the beekeeper alike.
Flow Frames, the award-winning component which distinguishes a Flow Hive from a conventional Langstroth hive, provides bees with a partially fabricated honeycomb matrix which they complete with their own natural wax. When the honey cells are capped, the honey is ready.
Conventional honey harvesting involves opening the hive super (the top box where the honey is), levering out the frames and carrying them to a honey shed or kitchen. Then the caps must be cut off with a hot knife and the honey squeezed or spun out using a centrifugal extractor. It’s a hot, sticky, messy business involving lots of heavy lifting and plenty of bee stings.
But with a Flow Hive, the beekeeper can, from outside the hive, simply insert a tool into the frame and turn, activating the mechanism. The honey cells split vertically and the hexagons form channels, allowing the honey to flow down into the trough and out into the jar. It’s fresh, pure, totally untreated honey on tap without even the need to filter.
Feedback for the game-changing invention has been overwhelmingly positive and a global community has sprung up around the invention, leading to an estimated 10 per cent increase in the number of backyard beekeepers in the US and, according to ABC News, sharp increase in beekeeping club memberships in Australia.
‘We’re really pleased by how we’ve been able to not only bring about a resurgence in beekeeping, but an interest in responsible stewardship. Bees are fascinating creatures and the honey is really just the sweet reward for taking really good care of them,’ Cedar says.
Having such a strong and engaged community has allowed the company to look beyond the bottom line, with bee advocacy and pollinator education an increasing part of the work they do.
‘This has all come about because of our love for the bees and an acknowledgement of how important they are, not only to the food we eat, but to all life on Earth,’ Stu says. ‘If we look after them, they’ll look after us.’
Late last year, Flow launched a limited edition ‘pollinator house’. Made from bamboo and upcycled timber offcuts from the creation of Flow Hives, and designed as homes for solitary and native bees, 800 units sold out in just days. All of the profits will be released later in the year to fund initiatives that support habitat for pollinators.
It is important for anyone interested in looking after bees, regardless of the hive they use, to recognised the importance of maintaining a healthy hive and the possible problems involved in the health of bees. People who look after bees need to be adequately educated on how to care for them.
According to the NSW DPI Bees Factsheet ‘any beekeeper or person working with bees, hives, apiary equipment or apiary products has a responsibility for managing biosecurity risks that they know about or could reasonably be expected to know about’ and ‘people dealing with bees should know how to minimise the impact and spread of brood disease, for example, by ensuring good hygiene is practised when handling apiary products.
Registration is compulsory for all people who keep bees. Even if you only have one hive you must register with the NSW DPI.
Pests and diseases such as: American foulbrood, European foulbrood, nosemosis, small hive beetle, or chalkbrood must be controlled.
Byron Community College offers a course on how to manage bees.