In a bid to get more people reconnected with the nature of their food, Living Interiors' new modular observation beehive helps to highlight the critical importance of pollinators to our food system
As a backyard farmer, I've been really jazzed to see so many new solutions crop up in the homegrown food sector, especially those that focus on some of the unsung heroes of the food chain, the pollinators. We've covered stories like the DIY 'printable' beehive, the Flow Hive, and the Aker opensource urban farming kits, the Pollinators' Paradise, bee hotels, the Buzzbench concept, and even art hives, but as far as I could find, we haven't ever written about observation hives, so the BEEcosystem is a first for us.
An observation hive is a fully functional beehive that includes a see-through portion for observing the activities inside the hive without disturbing the bees. There are a number of different designs of observation hives already on the market, as well as plans for DIY versions, some of which are meant to be kept outside, and some of which can be mounted inside a building (although with a tube leading outdoors, so the bees can exit and enter the hive). The BEEcosystem, from Living Interiors, can be installed either indoors or out, and their modular nature allows for expansion of the hive as it grows.
Living Interiors, which is part of Green Towers USA, makes and installs various types of furnishings that include living elements, including aquaponic systems and indoor gardens, and with this latest design, aims to make beekeeping more accessible by moving the beehive from the backyard into the living room.
The BEEcosystem is a hexagonal cedar observation hive that is "small enough to be manageable in even nontraditional beekeeping spaces" while also being large enough to produce cut-comb honey, and includes a red light filtering cover so that the bees' natural cycles aren't interrupted when viewing hive activity after dark. The hives are designed to be modular in nature, so that additional hives can be easily attached as the colony grows, and units for indoor mounting will include a transfer tube setup for sliding windows, which allows bees easy entrance and exit from the hive without having to put a hole through the wall (something that some other observation hives require).
"We warmly welcome all experienced beekeepers to help us in building a vibrant BEEcosystem community, one that works together in helping to educate people everywhere about the irreplaceable importances of all pollinators. For the inexperienced but intrigued, by choosing to become a hobbyist beekeeper and practicing beekeeping at home, you too can further contribute to aiding our pollinator allies—increasing the local honeybee genetic diversity in your area, and helping bring awareness to this critically important issue in your own home, neighborhood, and community." - BEEcosystem
The BEEcosystem isn't cheap, but neither are any of the other pre-built observation hives, and if you'd like to get in on this pollinator project, a pledge of $450 or more to the Kickstarter campaign will reserve one for you.