Honey on Tap from Hive: Flow Hive Makes Beekeeping Simple and Safe
Many people have tried beekeeping, or have thought of doing it in their own backyard. However, harvesting the honey from a conventional hive is very complicated and messy. The old way involves removing frames from the hives, removing the bees wax frames that contain the honey. Then, the wax cells have to be spun in a centrifuge to spin out and separate the honey.
With a drum role, cheering and some crowd funding, enter Flow Hive, a nifty Australian invention that literally adds a pipe and tap to a hive to release and collect the honey. It is good for the bees as it causes minimal disruption and it is fabulous for the beekeeper as it is so simple.
It is relatively expensive to convert old hives to the new system, but is a great idea for those wanting to try beekeeping.
An Australian father-and-son team of beekeepers, Stuart and Cedar Anderson, based need Byron Bay, New South Wales Australia, developed and refined the new system over the last 10 years.
The heart of the system is the high quality BPA-free plastic combs that can be twisted to open and close the cells releasing the honey without having to remove the frames.
One minor disadvantage is that all the honey from a single from a single frame has to be drained completely rather than collecting a tablespoon on demand for your breakfast toast.
Once drained the cells can be rotated back into their horizontal position ready for the bees to start filling once again.
The bees complete the partly formed plastic honeycomb cells with wax. They fill the cells with honey and cap each cell with wax. Turning a knob rotates and splits the cells vertically inside the comb. This beaks the wax seals and forms channels which allows the honey to flow down and collect in a sealed trough at the base of the frame. Inserting a pipe allows the honey to be slowing collected into a large jar or other container.
During this process the bees suffer minimal disturbance on the comb surface. Once the honey has drained, the cells can be rotated back to their original position. They bees dutifully realise that something has happened. They remove the wax caps, repair the wax around the cells, and start adding more honey to the cells.
Another major advantage of the new system is that the honey collected, does not have to be centrifuged, filtered or processed before use. This is a real bonus for amateur beekeepers. The process also minimizes the disturbance of the bee colonies when collecting the honey.
Happy Bees and Happy Beekeepers!
© 2015 Dr. John Anderson
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