Harvesting honey has been a sticky, messy job that’s changed very little from the earliest days of beekeeping. But it’s about to get a whole lot cleaner with the Flow Hive, an ingenious re-engineering of one of nature’s most perfect creations that makes getting that golden nectar as easy as turning on a tap.
Beekeepers Cedar Anderson and his father Stuart have, essentially, hacked the honeycomb—a nearly flawless geometric and structural achievements—to make it more mechanically efficient. In a nutshell, Flow frames have a partially formed honeycomb matrix within a transparent frame. Bees complete the comb, fill the cells with honey and cap them. To harvest the honey, the beekeeper inserts a tool into the top of each frame and twists, a move that splits each cell in the honeycomb vertically, allowing the honey to flow freely. It is collected at the bottom through a tube. Presto! Honey on tap.
Traditionally, the beekeeper must split the boxes of the hive, smoke the bees to calm them, remove the frames, cut the wax caps from the honeycomb, then extract and clean the honey. It’s a long, tedious process with a lot of heavy lifting, not to mention the occasional sting. Given how messy it is to harvest honey from honeycomb cells, it’s easy to see why apiarists swarmed to the Flow Hive when it hit IndieGoGo earlier this week. It took just five minutes for the Flow campaign to reach its modest goal of $70,000, and the campaign has now passed the $3 million mark.