Reimagining the Observation Hive
BEEcosystem is an observation honeybee hive designed to make pollinator education more accessible to everyone, from hobbyists to agri/ecotourism and institutional educators. Indoor/outdoor wall-mountable and modular, this hive can grow along with your colony inside. BEEcosystem’s modularity offers a familiar ‘bee-space’ solution towards improving upon existing honeybee hive maintainability.
From our design perspective, we wanted to create an observation hive that intentionally provokes meaningful conversations about honeybees, especially engaging non-beekeepers and non-agricultural experts. In deliberately differing BEEcosystem from existing styles of observation hives, we celebrate a fusion of old and new ideas in apiculture: an emergent hive form, with a familiar removable top-bar hive frame functionality. In 2014, we field-tested the expandable top-bar observation hive design for 2 years, overwintering in the 4-season climate of central Pennsylvania, USA, before beginning to sell the BEEcosystem hive commercially in Spring 2017.
With a slim wall-mounted profile that can be incorporated into nontraditional beekeeping spaces and for new kinds of observation displays, each BEEcosystem unit or “HexHive box” contains six top-bar frames from which bees build foundationless comb.
Each hive is handmade using high-quality, eco-friendly materials, including Western Red Cedar for the hive, lid cap, bottom drawer, and modular panel. Poplar wood is used for the top-bars to create a natural environment for the bees to build their comb on. Red Cedar is the perfect wood for hives as it is durable, visually appealing, and sustainable.
In addition to using sustainable materials, BEEcosystem also places a strong emphasis on safety in its hive designs. Our hives are designed to be easy to manage and maintain, with features such as observation windows that allow beekeepers to check on the bees without disrupting their natural behavior. We also use non-toxic finishes and adhesives to ensure that our hives are safe for bees and beekeepers alike. Our commitment to safety and sustainability means that our hives are not only good for the environment but also for those who use them.
The BEEcosystem observation hive has been designed to help combat falling bee numbers by encouraging people to take up beekeeping and get educated about bees.
Stu Robarts – New Atlas
Acquainting people and the nature that sustains them, using a simple and elegant hands-on design
April Greene – PPDC
Conceived to bring people and bees closer together. To create a relationship. And to get people talking about bees and their how absolutely essential they are to pollinating our food supply.
Tafline Laylin – Inhabitat
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