I have a lot of friends with backyard beehives. I've watched the busy workers through little windows and seen a "bee vacuum" in action to collect a renegade hive. A lot of work goes into maintaining bees and harvesting honey. The bees aren't thrilled about the honey-collection process and the humans generally end up with a few stings.
The Flow Hive, a new beehive design, intends to make gathering honey a low-stress proposition for both beekeepers and their flying friends.
The Flow Hive uses special frames with partially formed honeycomb cells. The bees settle in, complete the comb and fill the cells with honey. A tap on the outside of the hive splits the cells when it's turned on. The honey flows through channels and drains out of the hive. Turn the tap off and the cells are once again in their original spots, ready for the bees to refill.
This hive idea could help introduce new amateur beekeepers to the hobby, but it doesn't mean the hive will be a completely hands-off affair. Bees will still need care, which includes opening up the hive for periodic health inspections. The Flow Hive certainly simplifies the honey collection process, though the creators still recommend that new keepers have a bee suit or veil on hand in case the bees get aggressive.
The Flow Hive is scheduled to go live on Kickstarter on February 23. It will be available both as a full hive system and with the frames sold separately for use in existing bee boxes. Pricing will also be revealed at that time.