For over a decade now, predators, pesticides, and colony collapse disorder have been causing the world’s bee population to steadily decline. This drop doesn’t just affect bug and flowers, however — it also drastically limits our own food supply, as bees are responsible for pollinating nearly one-third of all of the world’s crops. Luckily, a new company called BEEcosystem is attempting to tackle this massive problem by way of a new modular honey bee habitat. What’s most exciting about these hives is their versatility: size and location will no longer be an issue, as individual modules can be added together quickly and easily installed inside.
The sleek, hexagonal “HexHive” is currently being billed as “an observation honeybee hive designed to make pollinator education more accessible to everyone, from hobbyists to agri/ecotourism and institutional educators.” The design is elegant and simple, consisting solely of a wooden frame and a plexiglass window for unobstructed observation. To mirror the development of actual bee hives, each module is meant to be mounted on a vertical plane, but don’t worry: once you magnetically combine a few of them, you’ll start to see the massive aesthetic appeal of the resulting honeycomb-style display.
To allow the colony to expand into a new module, all you’ll need to do is remove one of four side vents from the piece they’re already in and connect the two together. Each HexHive also includes a transfer tube and window connection unit so the bees can freely come and go from their homebase, allowing them to pollinate and explore the world as they please. This tubing also makes the installation process much easier, as beekeepers were previously required to drill holes into their homes to accommodate setups like these.
The hives were given their hexagonal shape for both physical appeal and functionality. More specifically, each hexagon is made up of six “foundationless” top-bar style frames. This type of framing helps “the bees to naturally build their comb downward from the suspended wedge-angled bars,” so the hives look as natural as possible despite their being in a manmade habitat. Each hexagon includes a few accessories for upkeep, including a cleaning drawer, a nighttime cover, and a hive top built specifically for mason jars (which also happen to be very trendy at the moment).
The company hopes that the design will become a major conversation piece in educational centers, hotels, restaurants, and even private residences. On top of that, the HexHives should help raise public awareness of the global bee crisis and build the genetic diversity of local colonies.
BEEcosystem’s creators, Dustin Betz and Mike Zaengle, have spent years working to link design with environmental consciousness. When they were working for the now defunct GreenTowers, LLC, the two built various projects that taught consumers to be more aware of the planet’s ecosystems and the human food supply. While the duo is mainly focused on BEEcosystem right now, they are always interested in coming up with new eco-friendly designs.
Though the founders of BEEcosystem would love to see their invention in each and every home, the company website specifically warns that their hives require a much bigger time commitment than something like buying a bottle of honey. To own a HexHive, you must be prepared to educate yourself on beekeeping and perform regular maintenance for the health of your colony.