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question for Jacqueline on Flow hive

 
Doug Barth
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Hello Jacqueline. What is your opinion on the flow hive? I remember you talk about not owning the give up is good but letting the bees choose their comb size is important. I bought one but I'm having second thoughts.
 
Michael Doughty
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I too have seen the hipe on the flow hive. As pictured, I don't see how that much honey can be taken from such a small hive without starving the bees. I am guessing they must feed them a lot of sugar water, which, in my opinion is not what the bees need to stay healthy. It's too new not covered her book, but Jacgueline talks a lot about natural bee keeping.

Michael O. Doughty
 
Maren Domke
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Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
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I, too, am quite interested in the flow hives. I think regarding the amount of honey taken, this is up to the beekeeper, the same as with any other hive. I have friends that when new to beekeeping took too much honey and struggled to keep them alive over winter. At the moment I'm not in the position to have bees, but I'm trying to learn as much as I can for when I finally will have my own hive!
 
David Livingston
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For those who missed it here is the thread on Flow hives
http://www.permies.com/t/44308/bees/Flow-TM-Hive-innovation-finally

David
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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Location: southwest Washington state
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I just went through all the posts on the Flow Hive and have to give y'all a hefty credit for thinking broadly and not jumping on the bandwagon on the first pass.

I'm not a fan for these reasons:

1) I don't like plastic in the hive. The Flow Hive is not just a plastic foundation, the cells are built out to the full depth as well.

2) All the bees have to do is fill it and cap it, but from a side observation window, it's hard to tell if they've capped the whole sheet. To tell that, you'd have to open the hive and look. Otherwise you may be removing nectar that hasn't been turned to honey yet and that won't stay honey, it will ferment (ie, that's how you make mead).

3. I strongly oppose the idea that you can just get a Flow Hive, put bees in it and turn a dial to extract their honey. Bees are SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX than that. I find it very disrespectful to approach bees by looking at what we can get from them. Reducing them to the daily source of honey for your pancakes is (dare I be so bold) abhorrent to me. This idea is what gets humans into trouble over and over. Say I keep six cows in my pasture where they eat grass... but I bet I could fit 50 cows in that same pen and feed them hay instead of having to grow grass. Or how about I boost that to 100 feedlot cows and we feed them leftover bagels and day old Entermans coffee cake (true story) instead of appropriate food? And then we birth feedlots.

That's what I see the Flow Hive as promoting -- bees as another indentured servant whose role is to serve human needs. My first question is always, "Is this something the BEES need? Does this make their lives better? (and I mean from the bee's point of view, not "bee view as humans imagine it"). If it's not good for the bees, I won't use it.

4. What we need is beekeepers who first LOVE their bees and are willing to do anything to give them lives that allow them to express their bee-ness. The primary relationship ought to be based not on taking more from them, it ought to be based on a concerned and caring relationship with them.

Okay, I'm stepping down from my soapbox now.

Jacqueline
 
Ernie Schmidt
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Location: Olympia, Washington
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Jacqueline, don't ever step down from your soapbox
 
Meghan Orman
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Love the response Jacqueline. Here's a reflection I formulated in response to Flow Hives as being a symptom of a much deeper systemic problem... Would be curious to hear your thoughts on this reflection! There seem to be many parallels between your views (especially the last few) and some ideas I express below.

Following the introduction of the Flow Hive concept, I have definitely come to appreciate all of the talk about bees & their precious contributions to life on earth! When I first heard about the Flow Hive concept, I too was very excited. Not only would this product spread interest in beekeeping, I thought, but it would also be far less stressful on the bees. Win-win, right? After much reflection, I now think my original thoughts on the matter were somewhat shallow and deluded in a sense; and I believe they are thoughts which signify a much deeper systemic problem we, as humans, face.

The main marketing agenda for this product is to produce "honey on tap" without opening (and therefore stressing out) the honey bee hive. This product is a response to the question: "How do we get honey from bees with less stress on the hive?" (a question inspired by, I think, our philosophically-deflated Western education). This question assumes that we should be in the hive in the first place, and that our current harvesting and consumption of honey is sustainable (to say the least).

The question that I want to look at really closely and deeply is: What is it that we are seeking from honeybees in the first place? Is honey all we're looking for? If so, then I think this means/ends "relationship" is in large part a symptom of the larger systemic issue that humanity faces today.

When we subjugate nature to our needs without consideration of other species and forms of life, not only are the detrimental consequences to those species and life forms embarrassingly obvious; but, what's more, is that in the process we forget one very important experiential truth: we ARE nature. When we ignorantly suppress other life forms and species for our own "benefit" (the idea what has been "beneficial" in human history is also up for debate), we also blindly subjugate ourselves to alienation and separation from our deepest nature. If we see honeybees as merely a means to an ends, then this is also how we'll view ourselves. If we remove them from their natural state and give them monotonous plastic foundations as their homes, then we weaken their immune systems and their potential for progress as a species.... And the same goes for us humans.

Rather, I would like to view honeybees as not a means to an end or end in themselves; but rather as a vital strand holding together this symbiotically beautiful web of life on earth; and I would like to view humans as the same. Neither is intrinsically more or less important, and the whole "means/end" paradigm can dissipate into a mutual expression of life and creativity on earth. What is important is not humans or honeybees, but rather the relationships that exist between them (and all living things on earth) - the very relationship the Flow Hive intends to forgo. Relationships are crucial to existence and thriving on earth, whether they be the relationship of hive to hive, human to hive, or human to human; they are the fabric of our existence, and what hold time & space together. I think we should nurture them as much as humanly possible, and in return, we nurture ourselves as individuals and as a species. Thus, I'll keep my foundationless frames and my wooden box hive, and cherish my relationship with these -and all- loving creatures.
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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Meghan, you are right on point in how I feel about bees and their mission in the world. It's not about the honey!

Honey is a perk, a food that can be both healthy and spiritually rich, but more than honey-for-eating, I am interested in our relationship with bees. What do I learn being around hives? Does it make me a better person? Does that lead me to be a smarter and more compassionate beekeeper? How does that expand my awareness to see how, where and why all these life forms fit in the world and how I fit with them?

Your thoughts speak from the same place as mine and I loved reading this. It flows over to questioning so many other practices we humans have introduced into the world, like where we fit, how far up the hierarchical ladder do we need to be? What is the role of compassion and love and how does that inform all our actions?

All this around a simple little flying insect who, once considered in this context, has a lot to do with our human evolution.

warmly,
Jacqueline
 
Meghan Orman
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Thank you, Jacqueline. I love these questions, and will keep them with me as I move forward with beekeeping; I never want to lose the child-like wonder and curiosity these creatures invoke in me... "What do I learn being around hives? Does it make me a better person? Does that lead me to be a smarter and more compassionate beekeeper? How does that expand my awareness to see how, where and why all these life forms fit in the world and how I fit with them?"
 
Tom Scialla
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Location: The great state of Georgia
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Jacqueline Freeman wrote:I just went through all the posts on the Flow Hive and have to give y'all a hefty credit for thinking broadly and not jumping on the bandwagon on the first pass.

I'm not a fan for these reasons:

1) I don't like plastic in the hive. The Flow Hive is not just a plastic foundation, the cells are built out to the full depth as well.

2) All the bees have to do is fill it and cap it, but from a side observation window, it's hard to tell if they've capped the whole sheet. To tell that, you'd have to open the hive and look. Otherwise you may be removing nectar that hasn't been turned to honey yet and that won't stay honey, it will ferment (ie, that's how you make mead).

3. I strongly oppose the idea that you can just get a Flow Hive, put bees in it and turn a dial to extract their honey. Bees are SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX than that. I find it very disrespectful to approach bees by looking at what we can get from them. Reducing them to the daily source of honey for your pancakes is (dare I be so bold) abhorrent to me. This idea is what gets humans into trouble over and over. Say I keep six cows in my pasture where they eat grass... but I bet I could fit 50 cows in that same pen and feed them hay instead of having to grow grass. Or how about I boost that to 100 feedlot cows and we feed them leftover bagels and day old Entermans coffee cake (true story) instead of appropriate food? And then we birth feedlots.

That's what I see the Flow Hive as promoting -- bees as another indentured servant whose role is to serve human needs. My first question is always, "Is this something the BEES need? Does this make their lives better? (and I mean from the bee's point of view, not "bee view as humans imagine it"). If it's not good for the bees, I won't use it.

4. What we need is beekeepers who first LOVE their bees and are willing to do anything to give them lives that allow them to express their bee-ness. The primary relationship ought to be based not on taking more from them, it ought to be based on a concerned and caring relationship with them.

Okay, I'm stepping down from my soapbox now.

Jacqueline


1. What is wrong with plastic? I know that you're entitled to your opinion as to whether or not you like it. However, is there anything actually wrong with plastic? What is wrong with the cells being partially pre-formed? This seems that it would save the bees time and energy and would make it easier for them to store honey?

2. I am guessing that you would figure out a way to tell when the section was all full. It can't be that tough. How do you do it with a regular hive?

3. Just because you can turn the dial and take all the honey doesn't mean that you have to take all the honey. You can take one section, or all the sections. I would just make a schedule where I take one section worth at one time, then wait a bit, then the next, etc etc. You don't have to rob every drop every time you take honey.

4. I don't think that Flow Hive would be responsible for people not loving their bees. They build a new kind of hive. That is all.

I don't know enough about bees to make an accurate opinion. I just haven't seen what I would consider a problem for anyone who wanted to own this kind of hive. I am going to get one and try it out. If it works out well I might get a bunch. I have never raised bees before, but I want to now!
 
David Livingston
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Hi Tom
I have three resevations about the use of plastic
1 Poisons psudoendomorphins etc leaching into the honey
2 Cost its about 300$ for a super thats about 40 jars of honey before you are ahead when I can build a warré box for less than 20$
3 Not sustainable

nevermind possible effects on the bees .

Also its quite difficult sometimes to see if all the cells are capped inside a hive when other frames and bees are in the way .

David
 
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