Creating a Beehive Co-op

bee hive

Harvesting Honey without disturbing the bees with Flow Hive

We have bees.  Not an infestation, but an actual honey beehive that we have setup in our backyard.  Luckily, it’s legal here, because we’ve had some problems.

Last year, I spotted the Flow Hive Indiegogo crowd funding campaign and I was in love. Unfortunately, it seemed like a lot of money to invest and we don’t know anything about keeping bees.  The Flow Hive seemed to make it really easy though!  A couple of our friends were also interested, but skeptical – Elise’s yard was too small and Randi wasn’t sure it was worth the investment. When we realized we were all interested, and live very close to each other, we realized that doing it jointly might be a good idea.  We could share the costs, the work and the benefits. At $699 plus shipping, that was a lot to spend on trying to make honey.  Alicia and I knew nothing about raising bees, but we are big fans of their benefits as pollinators and we love honey. Our friend Elise was equally inexperienced, but it turned out that Randi used to work with a bee lab in college and knew how to take care of them. Score!

Our three families joined in together and backed the Flow Hive Crowd Funding Campaign back in April 2015. We agreed that Randi would take the lead, but that we all wanted to learn from her about taking care of bees. She felt her skills were rusty, but knew that she could call on more experienced bee keeping friends. I’m not sure we would’ve been willing to start this adventure without her stepping up – Thanks Randi!

Flow Hive

This is the model we ordered complete with a brood box.

Originally, the hive was going to be located at Randi’s home, but due to the adventurous curiosity and mischief of her toddler, they asked if we could host the hive instead. We checked with our neighbors and our kids and agreed to host the hive in our backyard. The Flow Hive, is a standard Langstroth Hive brood box with a special honey box on top which enables us to harvest the honey when it is ready without disturbing the bees. The Flow Hive, combined with the needed beekeeping gear and tools and the bees themselves has brought the total to over $1,000.  Together we are sharing in the risk and the adventure of making our own honey and supporting local pollinators.

Going in on a joint venture with friends has risks and rewards. It’s important that everyone be good communicators and willing to be honest and talk to each other about the good and the bad. We’re hoping there will be a lot more good than bad, but it’s important to have your lines of communication open!

We ordered the hive back in April 2015, so it was a long wait until it shipped from Australia in March 2016.  We also had to order the bees in advance, but that is a topic for another post.  Thankfully Randi has connections in the beekeeping community around Boston, as we learned you need to order your bees well in advance. The next step was the building of the hive. 

Flow Hive flat packed in shipping box

One of the three boxes that the Flow Hive came in.

Stay tuned as we share our adventure of raising bees with you.

Happy Greening!

Jon

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