More and more bee enthusiasts are taking on small-scale, natural beekeeping, whether it's in dense urban areas like New York City, Tokyo and Hong Kong, or in more open spaces like one's own backyard. For the novice beekeeper, the myriad of methods and hive designs can be bewildering. Plus, can better hive design help mitigate phenomena like colony collapse disorder? To that end, it's gratifying to see that beekeeping's evolution and the health of bee populations can be tackled from a design angle -- as student designer Tom Back's Thrive Hive does with its intriguing straw-covered, barrel-shaped bottom.
The Thrive Hive is based on the top-bar style of hive design, which means that bees attach and hang their combs off the removable bars, as opposed to the more commercially-used Langstroth hive, which features full four-sided frames. In addition, the Thrive Hive's form is modelled on a hollow trunk, mimicking the conditions in which wild bees often build their hives.
The Thrive Hive uses traditional hive-weaving techniques, furnishing better protection and insulation during cold winters, combined with a strong structural framework that bees and beekeepers can easily adapt to. All of these features translate to healthier colonies, especially at a time when bee populations are declining worldwide.
Though Back's design is yet to made available commercially, this hive design will be exhibited at Tent London from September 22 to 25, and could very well inspire hobby beekeepers to create beehive designs of their own.
For more information on the different types of hives, check out Sami's great post on top-bar hives, Warré hives and other natural approaches, his experiences as a beginner beekeeper, as well as the other links from our archive below.
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