Oh, that controversial Flow™ Hive
We have posted about the Flow™ Hive in the past. We are trying to not be overly skeptical, because we welcome innovative thinking in the world of beekeeping, but this article points out some of the concerns many of us are having both with the concept and the marketing of the technology.This article: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/14/dont-go-flow-go-wax-few-word-saving-bees-and-usThe Flow™ Hive Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/flow-hive-honey-on-tap-directly-from-your-beehive
1. They market it is a means to reduce disturbance of the bees. This is a feel-good red herring. It implies that without honey harvesting, the bees are hardly disturbed as they go about their business. As any beekeeper will tell you, if you are "keeping" (read: caring for) your bees properly, you will be disturbing them from time to time. The disturbance associated with harvesting the honey is merely one of those times.
2. As the article points out there is a larger story of industrialization and automation associated to this innovation. Historically, beekeeping doesn't lend itself to industrialization. This has been a blessing for honey bees. There have been innovations that have improved automation of all the elements surrounding actually keeping the bees, but beekeeping itself is largely unchanged from what it has been for over 150 years. Conversely, the rest of agriculture has been utterly industrialized, and the results have been disastrous. The side-effects have also been disastrous for honey bees. This is not even a controversial position. So, with the Flow™ Hive, we get a bit nervous about industrialization crossing that boundary and into the hive itself.
The attached article nicely summaries some of these and other concerns. All that being said, we are still reserving judgment to see how this all pans out, but at the moment, we are not the most optimistic. This is not helped by the fact that the marketing is a smidge disingenuous. We'll see. Maybe this is the greatest innovation since hives were redesigned after the discovery of "beespace" (google it). Maybe in 5 years all of our hives will be outfitted with this technology. But today we (and many other beekeepers) remain skeptical.