The latest buzz on urban gardening? Urban beehives, of course! These 7 bee-friendly beehives may be designed for city slickers who think Honeycomb comes in a box, but they’re ideal for anyone who wants to invite a little urban wildlife into their nature-challenged neighborhood.
The Beehaus might look a little like a very large breadbox but it’s really more like a honeypot – just add bees! Designed to suit the needs of both bees and beekeepers, the Beehaus comes with a 10-page instruction manual that covers pretty much any eventuality an urban beekeeper might face.
Most images of the Beehaus show it in yellow with gray trim but buyers can actually select from a range of bright, flowery colors. The Beehaus is a thoughtful update on the classic man-made hive, a design that really hasn’t been significantly updated since the 1920s. With that said, the Beehaus isn’t cheap: one UK site has it listed “from £495.00” but each kit includes everything you need to support a healthy honeybee colony. You can even order a beesuit and bees.
The Bikube Urban Beehive By Adam Weaver addresses an interesting hypothesis: city bees are doing well compared to their country cousins thanks to urban gardeners, who grow a bewildering variety of flowers yet use less pesticides than most farmers. City beehives are different too, witness the Bikube which is designed to attach to a home or apartment’s exterior wall. The attachment side is actually the Bikube’s only flat side: its other surfaces are curved to direct rainwater off the hive.
D.I.Y. HONEY is a design project from Austria’s Lena Goldsteiner. This acorn-shaped bee condo takes its inspiration from Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. The support mechanism resembles that of a hanging basket, though one wonders how the bees will react to wild weather, winds and storms.
The BeeCrib may not be as stylish as some other urban beehive designs but it makes up for that by being easy to assemble: no tools, no glue, no problem! Designers from the Bachelor of Design Innovation program at New Zealand’s Victoria University Wellington set out to create a top bar style beehive, the parts of which can be easily shipped in flat-pack format.
(images via: Linda Raharuhi)
The ultimate goal of the designers was and is to support urban beekeeping and thus boost the numbers of honeybees. The overall simplicity of the BeeCrib should appeal not only to new hobbyists but also to open source manufacturers who can ensure easy availability and low cost.
Mason Bee House
While harvesting honey from your urban beehive is sweet payback for the work put in making your winged guests comfy & cozy, other types of bees are worth supporting too, honey or not. Take the Mason Bee: slightly smaller than honeybees, non-stinging Mason Bees visit up to 1,000 flowers daily – 20 times as much as the average honeybee! The Mason Bee House is built from biodegradable bamboo and its network of hollow tubes perfectly suits the nesting needs of Mason Bees.
The Warré Beehive
(images via: Bee Happy)
The Warré Beehive, invented by Abbé Émil Warré, is a simple and practical design that seeks to approximate as closely as possible the natural conditions under which bee colonies build hives in the wild. With that said, the design also works well for novice and/or urban beekeepers due to its simplicity and practicality. The so-called “People’s Hive” resembles a stack of boxes – when more space is needed, another box is added to the bottom of the stack.
(images via: The Beekeeper’s Digest)
Some Warré Beehives are constructed with viewing windows at the front that allows beekeepers and their guests) to monitor the progress of honeycomb-building from the outside. The bees don’t seem to mind being watched and will happily build their honeycombs right out to the clear glass pane.
The Urban Beehive by Philips
(images via: Nanaimo Green Developments)
The Urban Beehive from Philips is a two-part affair that “aims to bring fresh honey right to user’s living rooms.” Now don’t panic – although the portion of the Urban Beehive that contains the honey may be in the living room, the bees aren’t thanks to an ingenious mounting system that keeps access to the hive strictly on the outside.
(image via: Treehugger)
The Urban Beehive is as sleek and modern as they come, and that includes the gracefully curved integral flowerpot that provides hard-working bees with a quick sip before landing. The device also features a built-in smoke activator that comes into play when collecting honey from the hive. While only a concept, the warm reception given the Urban Beehive during its debut at Dutch Design Week bodes well for both bees and bee-lovers.
(image via: Serious Eats)
Are you catching a buzz yet? Urban beekeeping can be hugely rewarding, eminently fulfilling and just plain fun but it’s no casual endeavor. Being a bee boss demands time, care and patience – the lack of any of which can turn the sweet taste of success to the bitter sting of defeat… especially if you step on a bee barefoot. Respect the hive and you both may thrive!