Gallery: Stackable Urban Beehive is Perfect for Beginner Beekeepers


Seeking to help restore the world’s declining honey bee population, designer Rowan Dunford has created a simple, stackable beehive that makes it easy for anyone to raise bees. Dunford’s aptly named Urban Beehive is user-friendly, inexpensive, and can be flat packed to ship. Dunford’s straightforward design takes the guesswork out of raising bees, so it’s perfect for the beginner beekeeper.

Rowan Dunford‘s Urban Beehive kit is shipped flat and can be set up in a snap, IKEA furniture-style. Each modular unit is stackable, which makes it easy to expand from a small hive up to a larger colony. Bees enter the hive through a slit along the lower back of the hive, and they can begin building inside the cube. Dunford’s beehive comes with the option of customizable flair – the end caps are available in five different colors, so you can coordinate them to suit practically any urban terrace, yard or patio.

Dunford’s Urban Beehive seeks to spur individual citizens to help the dwindling bee population by taking matters into our own hands. Bees pollinate flowers and allow plants to propagate, so their importance to the environment cannot be overlooked. The Urban Beehive is a simple and easy way to support the longevity of bees that fits smartly into any garden.

+ Rowan Dunford

Via Design Milk


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  1. luisa1978 October 9, 2013 at 9:05 am


    I would like to share some comments here because I have concerns about the disease management side of this design, a part from other disturbances to the colony.

    I offer the designer to come to my apiary in Scotland where I manage 150 colonies to take notes on how bees go about things and what works for them.

    Just to say bees decline is serious and complex matter, and even if all of us want to help, is necessary a minimum of knowledge before offering solutions.

    This is a visually attractive designed by a human with IKEA like tastes, but the bees haven’t been considered at all

    Comments from the bees side:

    This design makes it difficult to spot disease and launch an action plan, this really doesn’t help to raise the number of bees

    There is a very high risk of disease spreading because the colonies are so close, this really doesn’t help to raise the number of bees

    Also the bees are likely to attack, decimate and rob each other colonies and to end up in the wrong hive.

    There is a high risk for a newly mated queen to get confused about what hive to go.

    Also all the tower of colonies will be disturbed even if having to work with only one

    The design hasn’t considered the bee space and the colony will brace comb and propolise all the gaps

    Not sure I get the design plan right, first glance it seems a really small hive, a colony will find is too small very soon once the good weather comes

    (need to see more detailed hive design plans to understand how the multibox system works on a single colony)

    Kind Regards,

    Luisa Gonzalez

  2. Chris McCarron July 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    That’s a brilliant idea!

    I’m looking to get into the hobby and was thinking of getting a far larger set like the one seen here:

    If I’m honest, the IKEA one above may better suit my needs.

  3. John Minton July 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    This is neat looking, but it\\\’s just the hive. There is nothing complicated about a bee hive box to begin with – it\\\’s complicated to RAISE the bees and keep them alive. So does this really help the dwindling bee population? Not so much I\\\’m afraid. But I do hope it gets some people interested in raising bees!

  4. masti May 3, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Hai all I am starting bee keeping for the first time in our area of around 69 km with lush greenery and part of it is forest in maharashtra india if any one can help me for traditional beehive making just now I got 10 bee hive from khadi gram udyog mandal who is govt organisation to createmployment for small farmer. You can send me your valuabel suggestions to
    Harish doshi 91 9869612236

  5. midas March 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I am all for innovation but please don\\\’t let people think that honeybees are in decline in urban areas, The number of hives in London has doubled in the last four years and some now fear that the main problem is not having enough nectar and pollen for them. The modern urban beekeeper takes a stake in the environment in which their bees live which means planting for bees. There are big pressures on nectar and pollen in London and other valuable pollinators such as bumblebees get bounced out. They need our help. 34% of people go into beekeeping without ANY training so if you get funky hives like this make sure you know what you are doing!

    Angela Woods
    London Beekeepers Association

  6. Yolanda Bertaud March 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I am not too keen on the idea that this design uses plastic for the beehive, may cause some harm to the bees that are already stressed and dwindling in population. Has this product been tested?

  7. mrspie January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    In urban areas, honeybees are not really necessary for pollination, and the decline in commercial beekeeping stocks is not much of an issue (especially in North America, where they are an invasive species). It is native bees that are in distress, and weird new beekeeping equipment is not going to help them (may even hurt them, since many compete with honeybees for nectar and pollen).

    Also, ordinary beekeeping equipment could not get much simpler, and this system is way more complicated and locks you into one supplier. I always recommend that my beekeeping students choose standard equipment that will last long and can be repaired easily.

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