By Becca Husselbee
A company in the states is now trying to save the world one bee at a time by building custom-made beehive that can be installed in your own home.
Beecosystem is a modular observation honeybee hive designed by founders Mike Zaengle and Dustin Betz back in 2017 after two long years of research.
The idea was to make beekeeping and pollinator education more accessible to everyone whilst engaging a new generation of beekeepers, promote honeybee health, and to spark conversations about the importance of honeybees.
Founder Dustin Betz said: “I had worked in a honeybee research lab during university and had beekeeping experience, and me and Mike had always wanted to integrate apiculture into our earlier ‘living furniture’ custom design-build work.
“So in fall 2014 when we came across a competition specifically asking young entrepreneurs to pitch for-profit products or solutions that would aid in helping to address pollinator declines.
“We flew across the country to participate in the event and came away with a small grant that we invested over the following 2 years into prototyping and testing the earliest BEEcosystem observation hives.”
The hexagonal honey-comb design attaches to your wall and can be expanded by adding more magnetic boxes to your thriving beehive and could cost you up to £2,292.
All ‘HexHives’ include a transfer tube and simple window connection unit, so bees can come and go freely from their outdoor adventures in search of pollen and nectar.
Each BEEcosystem hive measures 21 inches in length by 18 inches in height as well as being 6 inches in depth from the wall and weighing around 30 pounds when adding the bees and honeycomb.
For those worrying about bees escaping from the hive, the boxes are fitted with spring-loaded safety closure hinges meaning that should the transfer tube ever become disconnected the spring-loaded hinges automatically seal off the honeybees to remain safely inside the hive.
Honeybees use sunlight to regulate their natural day-night cycles in what is known as a ‘circadian rhythm.’ This means that nighttime artificial lighting, whether indoor or outdoor, has the potential to confuse bees about what time of day it is.
The observation hive uses plexiglass that filters through only red colored light so that the bees are not disturbed by covering the glass with the magnetic semi-transparent red light-filtering cover, meaning you’ll still see your honeybees, but they won’t see you.
Bees can be sourced from a bee breeder and will arrive in a package explaining how to get them inside your hive. The queen will be the most important and first to go in with other bees eating the sugar fondant plug to free her from the package.
Some bees will always fly during installation but it is advised to brush bees back inside so that hopefully none are harmed in the closing of the hive and it is ready to be mounted to the wall.
Finally, bee keepers need to make sure to continually feed them sugar solution if they are starting from scratch in building their beeswax comb as worker bees produce the wax from special glands, and it takes a lot of calories for them to produce it.
You can also harvest honey from our bees but the founders suggest waiting until your second season so that your hive has established itself.