Pauly’s Flow Hive tattoo will amaze you

His mum isn’t a big fan, but pastry chef and new Flow Hive beekeeper Pauly Phillips-Orlandi of the ACT, Australia, reckons his Flow Hive tattoo is the bee’s knees.

“It took seven hours,” Pauly says of the flamboyant design which depicts a Flow Hive, bees and a smoker, and which will embellish his right calf forever more.

“But I’m really happy with it,” he says. “I was blown away when he’d finished.”

Paul found himself drawn to beekeeping when Flow Hive popped up on his Facebook news feed and decided then and there to support the revolutionary honey harvesting system’s crowdfunding campaign.

For Paul, Flow Hive’s most appealing quality was how gentle the harvesting process was on the bees. It’s very important for Paul that his bees enjoy their time with him, and not only because he wants them to be happy, but because he’d like to make it to his 30th birthday.

“I’m highly allergic to bees,” he says.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Paul must be either very supremely brave or slightly insane to pursue a pastime that could kill him. But to him, it’s just about having fun.

“A lot of people said, ‘You’re crazy’,” Paul admits, but makes the point that people take all kinds of risks to do the things they enjoy.

“People jump out of planes for fun,” he says. “I wanted to do beekeeping.”

So, Paul linked up with a beekeeping mentor who showed him how to handle his Italian bees in a calm and steady way to reduce the chance of the bees becoming defensive and stinging him.

“It’s about being very gentle. Don’t walk in front of the hive, make sure you don’t drop them,” he says.

“Flow technology is much gentler on the bees so there is less risk of being stung while harvesting honey from a Flow Hive,” said co-inventor Stuart Anderson.

“However, it does not eliminate the risk entirely and brood inspections and other aspects of beekeeping still require the hive to be opened."

Pauly’s Flow Hive tattoo will amaze you
Pauly inspecting his bees at his home in the ACT, Australia

Stu said he was amazed and flattered by Paul’s choice of adornment, but added, “We do not recommend that people with severe anaphylaxis follow in his footsteps.”

But Paul insists he takes all best practice precautions and he feels confident he can pursue the hobby safely.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, but if you’re gentle on them, they will be gentle on you. My bees are so lovely. I can keep the hive open for half an hour for a brood inspection and they won’t try to sting me, no smacking me in the face or anything.”

Paul also very wisely took a beekeeping course with his local beekeeping association, read up on beekeeping and has a message stitched to his beekeeper suit alerting helpful passersby to his allergy and to the EpiPen he carries with him at all times.

“I have a particularly strong one that will go through my suit,” he says. “The message on the suit basically says stick it in and drive me to hospital.”

Not all of Paul’s hobbies are so potentially fatal, but many of them are represented in full colour on his skin, including an electric mixer and tableaux of cheese-making and cured meats!

And if that wasn’t enough, when Paul got the tatt, he lived in suburban – wait for it – Queanbeyan (pronounced queen-bee-yan).

You couldn’t make this stuff up!


We’ll just make it very clear right now that in no way does Flow Hive endorse beekeeping for people at risk of anaphylactic shock or in any way suggest that the Flow Hive honey harvesting system provides any defence whatsoever against bee stings and the consequences of anaphylaxis. We are glad that Paul has learnt bee sting first aid, and recommend that all beekeepers do the same whether they react to bee stings or not.

"Ask two beekeepers one question, get three answers."

At Flow, we love to hear from all kinds of beekeepers using all types of methods, but their views are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by Flow. We advise reading widely, connecting with your local beekeeping association and finding a mentor as you delve into this fascinating hobby.