In response to the criticism by the Milkwood blog I believe that The Flow Hive is revolutionary. It’s analogous to Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth’s improvement upon European hive techniques with his invention in 1851 of the Langstroth hive.
While honey bees offer an essential pollinating service providing humanity with 40 percent of the food we eat, all of the cotton we wear, powerful pain medicines and 20 million kilograms of beeswax, beekeepers take 1.25 billion kilograms of honey away from bees each year.
Most people do not realize that it takes 12 honey bees a combined flying distance of over 9,600 kilometers — and their entire foraging lives — to produce one teaspoon of honey weighing 21 grams.
An important consideration for all beekeepers is which season they harvest honey from their hives. I support a spring honey harvest. The Flow Hive will assist beekeepers with minimal intervention. Most years there are ample blooms providing hives with additional resources to rebuild honey reserves for the forthcoming winter. I do not support autumn harvests because it leaves hives bare for the winter ahead. Bees evolved to eat honey not supplemental beekeeper food, laced with corn syrup and vitamins.
Today, many beehive foundations are made of plastic. One of the main benefits of the Flow Hive is preventing beekeepers from exposing their bees to airborne pathogens and unnecessarily smoking them to pacify while working in their hive. The reality is that bees require no human intervention into their hives in order for them to carry out their daily activities. Honey bees are in fact socially complex, self-sufficient animals.
Beekeeping is about good husbandry. In order for beekeeping to work successfully there’s a required give and take. Honeybees are awesome animals with highly developed brains equipped with emotions. Any system that only takes will ultimately fail, and that is as applicable to beekeeping as it is to forestry and fisheries.
Dr. Reese Halter is a distinguished conservation biologist and author of The Incomparable Honeybee and the Economics of Pollination.