Don't Go With the Flow, Go With the Wax: A Take on the Flow Hive

Over the past several years there's been a steadily growing awareness that a problem exists with our honeybee populations. Although not quite a household term, what has been called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has evoked enough concern that a chorus of observers have suggested in various ways that if honeybees go the way of the dodo bird, so do us humans.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I was taken by the pictures of barefoot young girls collecting clear but unfiltered honey in big glass jars just by turning a crank. The backyard chicken crowd wants bees too! But what about the suits and face mask? Chickens don’t sting. Rather than sign up for a Flow Hive, I bought a copy of Dewey Caron’s Honey Bee Biology and actually read a good portion of it. New respect for Bee Keepers and Honey Bees but plans for the backyard hive are on hold. Apiary equipment is really expensive and so is a new Queen Nuc delivered to your door.

How many of the Indiegogo Flow Hive contributors have zero beekeeping experience and believe the pictures.

Glad to hear about your hesitance as the Flow™ hive does make it all seem a bit too simple, doesn’t it? As you can tell, I’m not really a fan of turning a beehive into the equivalent of a bread maker (or as others have put it, a beer keg).

And thanks for the book reference. I hadn’t come across that one and will have to check it out.

Thank you for a great and useful piece I can bombard my well intentioned but easily confused friends, with when they keep sending me that dam flow video!

Well said!

Haha! Glad you liked it! Let’s spread this info around, eh?

I am a backyard poultry owner, and would like to add bees to the mix. I have a lovely mason bee house, which is now home to some carpenter bees. We had a crazy winter in Portland OR, and I watched my plum tree bloom way early, with nothing there to pollinate her. I think honey is nice, but I would like to do my part in helping bees. What would be the first step after reading everything I can? In Portland there are a lot of resources, but I would like to do this right.

Hmm. Well, if you just want to help bees (and other insects?) then one thing that can be done is to plant natives to supply nectar and pollen for the wild pollinators. As a plus, perhaps such plants could end up with similar early bloom times to your plum tree and attract said insects to your area to assist with pollination? Just a guess. A good resource on that (for just North America, I think) would be Attracting Native Pollinators by Storey books.

Other than that, I would say to get in touch with the local resources that you mention. I used to be a part of the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative, and there was plenty of people there willing to help, and who had knowledge catered to the specific area. Beekeeping can be a whole other thing in comparison to backyard chickens, so I tend to think it’s best to get some initial exposure and experience before committing to your own hive(s).

As a side note, and not that the honey was my reason for joining up with the Co-op, but I still find it hard to believe that the honey we got from our first round of extraction was the best honey I’ve ever tasted. I was told that it was probably because of the wide range of plants that people kept in the city and which the bees fed on, as well as because of a wild area nearby which provided for a diverse collection of natives.

I hope that helps.

Thanks for your article that I fully agree. So sick of seeing that Flow Hive advertisement and people that know nothing about bees saying- but it’s ‘cool’. When I try to bring out some of the points that you have, I get, you need to move with the times, blah blah blah. They have no clue about taking care of honeybees…

There’s certainly no shortage of people who believe in that myth of progress, is there? Although I read all the “print” material, if by “advertisement” you mean one of their videos, I actually don’t watch film or video so haven’t seen the advertisement you might be referring to. Probably saved me from smacking my hand against my forehead.

Great article - another voice for the bees!

Sweet! Those look like some nice top bar hives you’ve got there!

And if you recall, I was the stranger who almost paid you a visit a year and a half ago. Perhaps next time!

Hello, thanks for this. I linked to it with a little commentary on my blog Kitchen Counter Culture which I’d like to show you. Thanks!

Wow, those were some very pointed words. Glad to see it resonated with you. As well, I hadn’t thought about it all in the way you touch on, but which certainly makes sense.

What a great article all humanety should plant flowers and trees that feed the bees. If you like the bees and are concerned plant things that feed the bees thanj you so much for this article what would be the easiest way to start a bee hive :slight_smile: I want to help by becoming a bee keeper

Great to hear your interest. If you’d like to get started though I’d say the best thing is to get in touch with a local beekeeping group where you can get a bit of exposure to things before dedicating yourself to your own hives. Beekeeping can be pretty involved and it’s not the kind of thing that you can easily teach yourself, even with a big pile of books. Sometimes you can find a beekeeper who is willing to teach a bit for some volunteer work. All the best.

Thank you, Allan, for this lucid piece. Have posted it on our fb account; very grateful to have someone else’s article to draw attention to. Our own blog post brings together some of the voices heard when the contraption first appeared. Would be happy to add yours.

Thanks for the great info. It completely changed my thinking, on the possible use of the Flow hive.

By all means, go ahead and add it. It’s licensed under Creative Commons anyway (the CC is at the bottom of the page), so all I ask is a link back to the original article.

And thanks for your link as well. Those are some very interesting hives you have there.

Glad it could shed some light. All the best with your future beekeeping otherwise.

I gave a lot of thought to beekeeping when I retired, read everything I could, and attended meetings of the local beekeeping group. Haven’t actually made the first step yet. Still, my first reaction to this notion is that a lot of people are going to think this is so easy and end up starving their bees. An appalling device.