Beekeeping Just Got Easier With On-Tap Honey Flowing Straight From the Hive

The new harvesting invention takes some of the hard work out of keeping bees.

Beekeeping Just Got Easier With On-Tap Honey Flowing Straight From the Hive 6 VIDEOS

Feb 20, 2015·
TakePart fellow Jessica Dollin studied journalism at the University of Arizona. She has written for the Phoenix New Times and HerCampus.

Beekeeping is a tedious process involving hours of work, but a clever father-son duo in Australia has devised a way to get honey on tap directly from the hive.

The Flow hive provides bees with partially formed honeycomb cells that they complete with their own honey and cap with wax. Instead of removing frames from the hive and scraping honey from the comb, the Flow hive allows the beekeeper to turn a knob that vertically splits the cell inside the comb and forms canals so the honey can flow through the tap.

A Indiegogo campaign that aims to raise enough money to commercialize the product launched on Feb. 22.

“Extracting is probably the hardest part of beekeeping,” Katie Zeman, a hobbyist beekeeper said. The process can take three to four hours per hive, yielding more than 50 pounds of honey—but that work can be rewarding. “People who do beekeeping—they do it because they enjoy it and they like it, and it’s a meditative process,” she added. “I could see how it might take the enjoyment out of the process for the beekeeper.”

Still, the Flow hive could help reduce labor costs for small companies that produce honey for retail sales, and it allows the sweet stuff to be extracted without harming the eggs that are incubating in the wax or causing accidental deaths. Even taking the top off a traditional beehive can disrupt the symbiosis in the colony. The ease of the Flow hive could help make backyard hives more popular too.

Bees can use all the help they can get. Pesticides, parasites, and insufficient nutrition have led to worrisome rates of bee die-offs in the last decade—and that’s bad news because those pollinators play a vital role in food production.