Beehives have been in decline over the last 50 years, with massive die-offs in the last decade. Organic farmers have been working to support bee health in myriad ways, but more innovative solutions are needed. Inhabitat reports that a company called Beecosystem is encouraging every day citizens to take the pollination chain into their own hands.
The Beecosystem was created by Dustin Betz and Mike Zaengle, who designed a modular beehive that can be installed pretty much anywhere, and they're encouraging people to install them right on the walls of their own homes. The interlocking pieces connect to a tube, allowing bees to enter and exit if you choose to watch them grow from your couch, but the hives can also be installed on the outside of your house.
As the hive grows, more of the hexagon shapes can be added and interlocked, much like a honeycomb. Powerful magnets hold the shapes together, and make it less complicated to slide them into and out of place—which is helpful if you're nervous about manhandling a bee's house. There's a feeder attached, in case the bees need some extra nourishment, and a detachable bar frame for when you need some extra nourishment and are ready to harvest honey.
The original version of the Beecosystem from 2015 opened from the back. The new edition opens from the front, which is very helpful for beehive maintenance. They do require some active care, but Betz and Zaengle don't want that to discourage anyone from diving into starting an apiary. They have a new initiative to go with the new hives called the Beekeeper Ambassador Program which will establish bee care experts who are available to help newer Beecosystem users get started.
“We feel the Beecosystem hive can add tons of value to eco- and agri-tourism businesses,” said Betz. “And the Ambassador Program will allow more of those businesses to purchase our product without having to have someone in-house manage the hive – this network will also help to educate the next generation of beekeepers, and greatly increase the reach of our social impact.”
They're also moving into the service industry. There's a new hive in Clift hotel, San Fransisco, owned by beekeeper Roger Garrison. Many hotels are connected to eco-tourism and customers who want to support local, eco-friendly services, so the Beecosystem creators believe having a visible presence in these lodgings will mean spreading education about bees to folks who will bring an interest (and perhaps a hive) home with them. Besides, what's more connected to the local community than the insects who keep the flowers pollinated?