Living with bees is not about hardware, hives and management techniques any more – it is ultimately about the survival of life on earth.
In the last few days, the media worldwide have become positively besotted with a new invention that has a powerful lure: it makes removal of honey from a hive so easy that, in the words of a press release, ‘there is … the potential for remotely activated or automatic honey extraction’. There is also the implication that it helps bees, by allowing the beekeeper to ‘harvest in a bee-friendly way’. That’s what we all want, is it not: to be bee-friendly and less disruptive?
Let us pause for a moment: does taking honey need to be disruptive, even under current practices? Responsible beekeepers have long found that sharing genuinely surplus honey is one of the many ways in which they can sensitively interact with the bees in their care. It need not be in any way disruptive, either for the bees or the beekeeper. Of course, we are not referring here to large scale commercial beekeepers, whose harvesting techniques can be brutal. The Flow Hive will not appeal to such operators, being too expensive and complex. In other words, the bee-friendly sales pitch is aimed at would-be beekeepers who want honey but no hassle.