ande

It's the beekeepers dream.

30 posts in this topic

Hi Markor58,

 

Welcome to APN.

 

Are the videos, to which you refer, of people using the self-tapping beehive....or are they theoretical assessments of the technology?

 

If they are people who have purchased or built the hives, that's one thing.....and worth knowing about....particularly for those who might have been contemplating buying one.

 

If they are not, however, speaking from direct experience of the new hives, then what they have to say might be interesting from a discussion point of view - but that's it.  The internet is absolutely full of people's opinions about everything.......and most of it is nonsense.   As entertaining as nonsense can be, it's still nonsense.

 

Gary

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Hi Gary – thanks for the welcome!

 

No, these are actual reviews by people who have these hives in their hands, either purchased and in use or borrowed just to have a look at the thing in real life.

 

To save you the hassle of looking for these reviews, there are a couple of minor flaws and one quite big one. There were some questions about build quality, apparently on models being manufactured in the States. More importantly, the idea that you just turn a tap and honey flows out is not quite that simple, because in reality you have to take the front off the hive box, then insert a long metal bar which could easily get lost, and turn the bar to break the comb in order to release the honey. Breaking the comb is not that easy -  one reviewer had to use a pipe wrench to turn the bar.

 

Those are the minor flaws I can think of off the top of my head. The major flaw is readily apparent to any beekeeper even without using the hive, and it involves the idea that you should never actually have to open the hive. To this end, there is a small window in the side of the hive so you can see the comb. This presupposes that people look through the window, see that the comb is capped, and merrily ‘turn the tap.’ However, just because the one frame of comb you can see through the window is capped does not mean that the others are. They could only be partially capped, or none of them at all could be capped. This is important because you should only ever extract capped comb. If the comb is not capped, then the water content of the stuff inside it is still too high to be honey and it will ferment. It is nectar mixed with some bee enzymes which has still not matured into honey. That’s fine if you want to make mead and you put it in a container with a proper pressure release valve, but if you think you’ve got honey and put it in a nice sealed jar, then the contents will ferment and the jar could well explode. Not good.

 

The only way you can be sure that all the frames not next to the window are capped is by opening the hive, just like a normal beekeeper with a normal Langstroth hive does, which makes this whole very expensive set up a bit pointless. Yes, you don’t have to extract the honey using a conventional centrifuge, but there are other cheap low-tech ways to extract honey that don’t involve paying $600 or whatever it is for one hive box.

 

Hope that’s explained my position on these – based not on theorizing, but on practical experience.

 

By the way, I posted a question to the iAVs site a couple of days back about setting up a system here in the Andes, so hopefully we can talk about that soon as well!

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BTW, building one of these hives yourself would be quite a chore - the frames involve a lot of small-tolerance little plastic bits which I think would be beyond the capability of the average DIYer. Rather than being held captive by an outside manufacturer, I would prefer to make my hives myself, using wood and wax from the bees, a bit of wire and a few nails, the way I have for 15 years now.

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Hi,

 

Thanks for a very informative post. 

 

The only bees that I have experience of are the little Australian Stingless bees that we have.....and, even then, it's only a nodding acquaintance.  They're another very expensive bee-keeping exercise but Her Serene Highness decreed that we were going to have native bees and, sure enough, I went off and got them for her.  The upside is that the only sting associated with theses bees is the upfront, once-only purchase price.

 

While I wasn't planning to buy a self-harvesting beehive (we eat very little honey), I certainly won't be now that I know some of the technical issues associated with their manufacture.

 

The big learning, however, occurred with the bit about capped honey.  I never knew that.

 

Thanks for the detailed explanation of why these are not a good idea.....and for the lessons around how hives work.

 

The hives still stand as one of the all-time great success stories in crowdfunding.   I have a colleage who can rant about the natural injustices of crowdfunding for hours without taking a breath - and that's his pin-up example.

 

 

Gary

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We have stingless bees here too, down in the Amazon basin region (the Oriente as its called), and some people sell their honey which is supposed to have medicinal properties. It's a very liquid honey which I'm not too fond of. The bees also live in the ground, so no need for hives at all! However, the bees I keep are the famous killer bees, more correctly known as Africanized honey bees, so I definitely need to work them with protection. On the other hand, they're much more capable of looking after themselves than the European bees, so I don't have do do any of the varoa fumigation and other chemical treatments that US and European beekeepers do - which incidentally is another problem with the flow hives - you still have to open them up for treatments if you're using European bees. I think the guys who invented them are more engineers than beekeepers, and the hive is an ingenious bit of engineering. But it's also reinventing the wheel, and in the case of Langstroth hives the wheel has been around for over a century and works just fine, thank you. Nevertheless, as I said in my first post, they showed initiative, came up with an interesting even if flawed idea, and made a truckload of money, so kudos.

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