This week, we start our multi-part series on hive types other than the standard Langstroth. We start with the Flow Hive.
In this episode, we talk with Stewart Anderson, who, with his son Cedar imagined and then created the Flow Hive, certainly the most cosmic jump in the technology of honey harvesting developed since the first mechanical honey extractor conceived by Major Franz Elder von Hruschka in 1865.
It started on a hot summer day 16 years ago when Cedar had spent a long day cranking his extractor harvesting his honey crop. Cranky bees, humid tropical weather and lots of work made Cedar ask his dad if there was some way to harvest honey without having to open a hive. So that evening they spent a couple of hours trying to figure out the equation that would change honey harvesting forever.
They actually figured out that to make that happen they needed to make the honey flow vertically in the hive to be collected at the bottom, somehow. That simple discovery had to overcome opening ripe honey cells, dealing with the cappings, reclosing the cell, removing the now disrupted capping wax, and seeing if the bees would reuse the cells. Or even abscond.
Their website photos show how they made that work and work well, with plastic frames inside the Langstroth deep hive body that could be offset with a crank on the outside of the box, offsetting the cells in the frame so the honey drained to a pipe below, to empty into honey bottles outside. Harvesting honey without opening the hive.
But getting there took them a score of years, figuring out how to manufacture the frames needed, to make them fit, how to make it all fit, and how to market this. Their first intentions were to make this a tool for commercial beekeepers in their home country of Australia. But it turns out, it was the perfect tool for the hobby market, and, to their surprise, these customers wanted the whole hive, not just the deep super with all the gadgets inside. Life then got interesting for them.
Listen as Stu talk with us about his and more!
Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:
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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"; Musicalman, "Epilogue". Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott
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