If there was ever an item that was sure to top every food-loving, backyard-gardening, home-cooking locavore’s “I gotta get one of these” list, the Flow Hive has to be it.
The Flow Hive is a “revolutionary beehive invention, allowing you to harvest honey without opening the hive and with minimal disturbance to the bees,” according to its creators. Basically, it’s a backyard beehive that puts fresh honey on tap. The bees do the work in the hive, and all you have to do is turn the spigot. Fresh honey should flow out of the tap and into your Mason jar.
Developed by Australian father-son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson, the Flow was a crowdfunding hit when it debuted in 2015, raising more than $2 million in just three days on Indiegogo. There are now 51,000 Flow Hives in use across more than 130 countries, according to the Andersons, and their product has won a variety of awards for innovation and design.
The Andersons are now back with an updated version, the Flow Hive 2:
The Andersons say they "redesigned the Flow Hive from the ground up with lots of new features, inspired by feedback from our customers." And it didn't take long to generate buzz: The Indiegogo campaign for the Flow Hive 2 is 18,983 percent funded.
Flow Hive 2 features a body made of laser-cut sustainable Western red cedar. Inside each hive is one or more Flow Frames, which the Andersons describe as "the most revolutionary beekeeping invention since the Langstroth hive was designed in 1852." The frames are a partially pre-made honeycomb matrix, "which the bees complete with their own natural wax, fill and cap, as they would a conventional frame."
When it's time to harvest the honey, the beekeeper inserts a Flow Key into the top of the frame and turns it, activating the hive's dispensing mechanism. "The wax parts of the cells crack and the hexagons are split, forming channels, and the honey runs down into the trough, out through a tube, into the beekeeper's chosen receptacle," the Andersons explain. "After a few hours, the bees notice the honeycomb is empty underfoot and they chew away the capping, repair the cells and refill them."
The well-being of bees is a core focus, the Andersons add, noting the hives are designed to minimize turmoil inside. "The bees remain undisturbed on the surface of the comb," according to the Flow Hive site. "If there does happen to be a bee down an empty cell, it won't get injured as there is enough space between the comb walls."
Upgrades to the Flow Hive 2 include an adjustable stand (making it easier to set up on uneven ground), a tray to trap pests, deeper handles, a ventilation-control system, a harvesting shelf and observation windows on both sides. Beekeepers can reportedly harvest around 6 pounds of honey per frame. The Flow Hive 2 costs $932, but it's priced at $699 on Indiegogo "for a limited time."
Here's a walk-through video detailing the hive's features:
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it originally appeared in February 2015.