In case you haven't noticed, bees are having a rough year. Make that decade. Thanks to rampant pesticide use on commercial crops, bees are dying by the hundreds of thousands, and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Well, certainly not the EPA or USDA (two agencies that should be mortified by recent bee deaths), but there are some doing what they can to help local bee populations survive. A recent resurgence in backyard beekeeping is helping, in a small way, to protect and preserve local hives so that there are still pollinators around to help gardens and flowerbeds look their best. If you've ever been interested in backyard beekeeping, here are six beautiful hive designs for you to consider.
Urban Beehive by Philips
Traditionally, beehives have been little more than wooden boxes with multiple internal screens upon which bees can deposit honey. The Urban Beehive by Philips is a much more modern, sleek version of the beehive, especially designed to give city dwellers the joy of watching bees at work. The pod-like hive attaches to a hole cut into a pane of glass. Once affixed, the glass covered pod on the inside of the window would allow you to peer into the hive while the white entryway on the outside would allow the bees the freedom come and go. Best of all, with the pull of a small cord you can have all of the fresh honey your heart desires.
Elevator ‘B’ by University of Buffalo Students
When left to their own devices, bees will build a hive just about anywhere, even an abandoned and decaying grain mill. When a hive was discovered in just such a structure near the Buffalo, NY, waterfront, UB’s Ecological Practices Research Group created a contest. Students were challenged to create a structure that would help the bees continue to thrive amid the city. The result is the Elevator ‘B’, a sparkling waterfront skyscraper of steel, glass and cypress. It was purposefully built to mimic the silo where the bees were found, and they moved in quite happily!
BuBees Beehive by Steve Steere
Just because something’s modern doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. After all, the ultimate goal when choosing a beehive design is making sure it’s somewhere the bees will want to live! Designed by commercial artist and Art Center College of Design graduate Steve Steere, the BuBees is a top-bar beehive made from salvaged wood from his oceanside neighborhood. Painted with non-toxic milk paint, there are two solid boards that run the width of the hive. These boards can be moved to make the space smaller or larger depending on how many bees adopt the hive. A viewing window lets beekeepers see inside the space, which can accommodate thousands of the pollinators.
DIY Mason Jar Beehive
Mason jars are a staple of the self-sufficient lifestyle. They can be used to serve, grow, or preserve many things, but this is the first time we’ve seen them used as a home for honey bees. This tutorial from RemoveandReplace.com shows how easily you can turn some scrap wood and quart-sized big mouth jars into a unique hives that allow you to watch the bees as they bottle your honey!
To-Bee by Bar Lavi
Unlike others featured on this list, the To-Bee by Bar Lavi, a student of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, employs a bookshelf design. “The primary component is the cylindrical tube-like area (on the left side) where the bees construct their honeycombs,” explains Home Harmonizing. “…this tubular structure is in turn connected to a hollow, pipe-like component, which also has a flat facade fixed to its top. This pipe can be used by the bees as a sort of ‘escape pod’ from the tube, when they need to fly outside in search of pollen.”
Urban Beehive by Rowan Dunford
The key to encouraging more people to become beekeepers is making it easy. To that end, Rowan Dunford, a recent graduate of the Aukland University of Technology, created the simple Urban Beehive. Although built on the traditional Langstroth Hive, Dunford’s hive also incorporates the added benefits of the Top Bar Hive, bringing a more manageable approach to hive maintenance. “Designed for flat-pack assembly, the outer assembly consists of two-part plastic moulded ends and treated plywood sides,” reports Curve. “The plastic molded lid provides a secure roof for the hive, protecting it from the elements. However, this lid can be removed to allow multiple hives to be stacked on top of one another, enabling the colony to grow.”