Save the Bees ! Flow-Hive is a Crowdfunding Success but Not All are Buzzing…


Picture Credit: HoneyFlow

Flow-Hive from New South Wales start up HoneyFlow was the brain-child of the third generation beekeeper family, the Andersons. And their invention represents the sixth most successful crowdfunding initiative ever. Father-son team Stuart and Cedar reported, “the Indiegogo campaign was launched in February, 2015, with the humble goal of US$70,000. That goal was reached within minutes of the campaign going live.  Within 15 minutes, the campaign had attracted US$250,000 in pre-orders and was soon breaking Indiegogo’s website and a slew of crowdfunding records. ”

  • They surpassed their goal of 70,000 in less than 10 minutes and raised $2.1 million in one day, setting a record for the most funds raised in 24 hours.
  • The fastest to reach $1, 2 and 5 million, becoming the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo.
  • The most successful crowdfunding campaign ever launched outside the US.

The Flow Hive has already raised over $12 million and counting. Perhaps folks genuinely want to help the bees and think this gadget is the answer. Meanwhile, this is a testament that urban beekeeping is thriving. But HoneyColony, Bee Culture Magazine and others argue that Flow-Hive is animal husbandry with a negative twist due to the heavy use of a plastic frame, the lack of bee-keeper engagement in maintaining a healthy colony, and the failure to respect the true craft of beekeeping. “One wants to see this be successful, easy to use, and contribute to the world of improved beekeeping,”  adds Kim Flottum, beekeeper and editor of Bee Culture magazine. “But there’s the concern, far in the back of my mind, that it may appear to make things too easy, fostering not improved  beekeeping, but reduced attention to maintaining healthy bees.”  As anyone who knows how threatened bees are should also note that they are threatened by systemic pesticides and loss of habitat.


Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, CCD causes significant economic losses because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by western honey bees. A family of pesticides called neonicotinoids have emerged as the key new factor which has caused a doubling in hive deaths in the last decade. In early 2016, the EPA admitted that neonicotinoids weaken, disorient and kill honeybees. Imidacloprid as particularly harmful and is used on over 30 million acres nationally- showed clear damage to hives and honey production as it has been identified by the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) as having “high acute risks”. (of course, when you try to hyperlink to these sites, you find the articles about the suppliers dropped into the Memory Hole.) And a NBC reporter Anne Thompson filed a courageous story FOUR years ago detailing findings by Dr. Christian Krupke from Purdue University who remains active in entomology research and the seed-induced CCD disaster .

“Biotechnology companies are keeping university scientists from fully researching the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically modified crops. “No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions,” a number of agricultural scientists wrote in a 2016 statement submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The problem, the scientists say, is that farmers and other buyers of genetically engineered seeds have to sign an agreement meant to ensure that growers honor company patent rights and environmental regulations. But the agreements also prohibit growing the crops for research purposes. So while university scientists can freely buy pesticides or conventional seeds for their research, they cannot do that with genetically engineered seeds. Instead, they must seek permission from the seed companies. And sometimes that permission is denied or the company insists on reviewing any findings before they can be published, they say.”

And, in a wholly uncovered field of investigation, it turns out Bayer infuses its Advantix pet collars with imidactoprid so pet poison is another element of this “allegedly” carcinogenic chemical which scientists are forbidden to research.

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