Updated on 4/14/15 by Drew Prindle: Article now includes new Indiegogo funding stats
With less than a week left in its campaign, the Flow Hive has broken the most-funded project record on Indiegogo, raising over $10.3 million from nearly 30,000 backers. The project has surpassed the previous record holder, the Sondors Electric Bicycle, by over five million dollars. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse the project page yet, Flow is an innovative new type of beehive that allows owners to harvest honey by simply turning a tap.
This is huge. As you may have heard, bees are in trouble right now. Honeybee populations have been in rapid decline across the globe for years, which is no small problem. If these fascinating little insects were to die out entirely, it would have serious ramifications, because bees pollinate such a significant percentage of food crops, according to UN estimates.
Faced with this looming “beepocalypse,” humanity has addressed the problem in two ways. The first is an increased effort from the scientific community to pinpoint what’s causing this widespread die-off; the second is more and more people taking up beekeeping in their backyards, offering the insects a place to colonize in urban and suburban environments.
The only problem is that beekeeping isn’t exactly an easy hobby to pick up. Taking care of a colony and harvesting the honey it produces is a fairly labor-intensive activity. First you’ve got to protect yourself from stings and put on a suit, then you’ve got to smoke out the bees and keep them from attacking you when you crack open the hive. After that, you’ve got to gently brush off any bees clinging to the combs, cut off the wax caps, and put the rack in an extractor to spin out the honey. Needless to say, there’s a bit of a barrier to entry.
But the world needs all the citizen beekeepers it can get, so in an effort to help make beekeeping easier and more accessible, a pair of forward-thinking Australians invented the Flow Hive, an innovative new kind of beehive that requires minimal maintenance and allows keepers to harvest honey without disturbing the colony.
Thanks to its clever design, the Flow Hive does away with many of the complicated parts of hive upkeep, and makes honey extraction as easy as turning a tap. It’s built with pre-made honeycombs that are angled downward, so when you remove the internal gate, gravity causes the honey to flow down and out through a spout.
Brilliant, right? Who wouldn’t want fresh honey on tap in the backyard? These guys have basically devised a way to incentivize beekeeping.
There’s about six days left in the campaign, and while all the early-bird backer rewards have been snatched up, you can still get your hands on a Flow Hive for a pledge of about $350.