Stuart and Cedar Anderson, father and son, gave beekeepers a chance to upgrade their hives to to harvest honey from bees much easier with the Flow Hive, an award-winning invention.
Stuart and Cedar Anderson live in rural Australia and the world will remember him as the father and son who took backyard beekeeping to a different level. They spent a lot of time looking for a better way to harvest honey.
Harvesting the final product in a hot uncomfortable suit and smoking out the hive is not the most pleasant method, right? Some bees are killed in the process, too. That’s what makes the Flow Hive a must-have for every beekeeper.
The Flow Hive entered the market five years ago. Honey drips through a tarp and it’s a more convenient choice for beekeepers. Stuart and his dad set a goal of raising $70,000 to begin the process.
Well, they received this and much more within five months. After 15 minutes, the Andersons raised a quarter of a million dollars. At the end of the campaign, they had $12.2 million. Thousands of people got a chance to become beekeepers for the first time in their lives.
The Flow Hive won the 2016 World Changing Idea award. The second version was crowdfunded in March 2018, and it raised $1,500,000.
Beekeepers don’t have to wear their protective bodysuits. Removing the boxes isn’t necessary, too.
“People have been scraping frames and spinning honey for hundreds of years, and that works and that’s fine,” says Matt Bludorn, a backyard beekeeper and ER physician in Bryan, Texas. “But I think this works a little better.”
The Flow Hive and How it Works
Harvesting honey is much easier for those who own their Flow Hive. The invention uses artificial honeycombs. Bees fill these with honey and cover them with wax. There’s a window on the side of the Flow Hive, so beekeepers can pay close attention to their bees.
A beekeeper uses a lever to twist honeycombs full of honey. The honey is then poured into a jar through a tap.
“I think there is a human fascination with, ‘let’s turn a handle, press a button, and some produce will materialize,’” says cofounder Cedar Anderson. “There aren’t many things in the world you can do that with. We’ve designed a system that allows you to turn a handle and get beautiful produce ready for the table right from your very small footprint in your backyard or on your rooftop.”
Beekeepers get a different approach to nature. Organic foods are a real treasure and making your own honey feels great.
“Lots of people come to us and say things like, ‘We needed an excuse to get the kids off the iPad–they’re down there harvesting honey, and they’re learning about the world we all depend on,’” he added.
The Andersons made the first marketing move using an iPhone 4 and a time-lapse. The video had a million views in 30 hours.
“That’s when we knew that the world wanted our invention,” Anderson explained.
According to him, the Flow Hive will support bee colonies on a global scale.
“We know that insects, in general, are on the decrease. We know that the bees are struggling. We know that the way humans use pesticides and the way we farm isn’t the best for our pollinators and a lot of the insects.”
By 2018, half of the 51,000 Flow Hives were ordered by new beekeepers. Anderson is more than impressed by the effect his beehives have. There’s nothing better than fresh honey!
The number of people interested in local natural food is on the rise. Sadly, a great number of bee colonies have disappeared, and farmers are worried about their pollinators. In the US, several cities have lifted the ban on local beekeeping. New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington DC have taken part in the process.
“The rate of beginners getting into beekeeping has more than doubled in a decade,” says Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture.
According to him, many beginners abandon their hives. Well, beekeeping is not an easy process and it consumes one’s free time completely.
The controversy of The Flow Hive
The Flow Hive comes with a challenge. beekeepers have to work hard to keep their bees healthy. “Simply having bees isn’t saving the bees,” says Flottum.
Increased number of bee colonies increases the risk of losing nectar sources. Someone needs to multiply the pollinator-friendly flowers.
There are also people who say that the Flow Hive is a fad. Once the hype disappears, the beekeepers will move on.
“Keeping homicidal, venomous insects quickly loses its charm,” John Chesnut, a botanist who keeps hives in California’s San Luis Obispo County, “unless you’re deeply committed, and the Marie Antoinette-style make-believe farmers are just going to disappear in a season or two.”
Beekeeping requires long-term commitment, so don’t get into this if you don’t plan to stay around for a while.
Advocating for bee colonies, pollinators and the environment
The Andersons had a small startup, but BeeInventive developed into a big company. Today, 35 people work on the project, helping beekeepers connect with bees.
“You get this sense of a broader community,” says Anderson. “You’ll find that come Christmastime, your family is talking about politics, they don’t agree, but everyone agrees we need to save the bees. So we end up with this network now of 130 different countries with people talking about bees, and people joining forums, and people being incredibly passionate about the environment and about bees. I think it can only be a good thing.”
It’s a good initiative and maybe other people should consider doing the same.