By now, most of us know that bee populations are in decline around the world, which spells trouble for the pollination of crops we depend upon for survival. It may seem like there’s still plenty of space out in the country for bees to thrive, too, but cities are often their ideal habitats due to their locations along waterways and in prime riparian areas. That means us urban dwellers should be doing all we can to accommodate bees and other beneficial insects.
Growing gardens full of bee-friendly plants is one great way to do that. Another is engaging in some small-scale urban beekeeping. Starting a honeybee hive can be a daunting prospect for beginners, especially if the only space they have is a small backyard or balcony. Now, a new kit called the B-Box aims to make it as easy and compact as can be.
Designed to be safe, simple, interactive, and city-friendly, the B-Box is an innovative hive design featuring patent-pending technology that lets you monitor your bees and harvest honey without disturbing the hive. The only entrance and exit for them is at the top of a long chimney about 7.2 feet above the ground, keeping them safe and well away from any people that might be around. That means no protective clothing is needed to approach the hive.
It works using a special lever you pull when you want to access the honey. Bees can then exit the honeycomb chamber, but can’t enter. After a few hours, the chamber will be completely empty of bees, so you can pull out just one of the 16 mini-frames full of honey at a time, which are just the right size for use by an average household. Plus, this modular system also makes sure there’s enough honey left for the bees themselves to use. You can also collect beeswax, nutrient-dense bee pollen, and royal jelly from the frames.
The whole setup is small enough that it requires no more than a square meter of space, so as long as you have even the smallest of outdoor areas, you’ll be able to use the B-Box, too.
The product’s Indiegogo page reads: “B-box is, at its core, a bee hive. We aren’t pretending otherwise! But the traditional beehive we all think of today was invented over 150 years ago for professional use. It’s time that home beekeeping caught up with modern technology! That’s why we’ve re-engineered the traditional beehive to be more people and bee friendly — not to mention better adapted for domestic use.”
“In traditional hives, you have to disrupt your bees to check on their health. Imagine if a giant suddenly took the roof off your house! With B-Box, regularly agitating (and sometimes squishing) your bees is no longer necessary. Polycarbonate walls (the same material as shatterproof windows and eyeglass lenses) are hidden below the warm and cozy wood exterior panels of B-Box, allowing you to observe your hive anytime you like! See them at work, storing honey, and building honeycomb as you please. This also means you can monitor your bees’ health without disturbing the hive.”
The B-Box just completed a successful round of crowdfunding, raising over $200,000. Pre-orders have closed, but the unit will likely be available to the general public by early 2020.