Growing bees indoors has never really been an option before, but an American startup called Living Interiors is changing that with their revolutionary new product – the BEEcosystem.
The BEEcosystem is a hexagonal cedar observational hive, that is “Small enough to be manageable in non traditional beekeeping spaces,” but also large enough to produce cut-comb honey. The viewing window on the hive allows people to see the bees at work on the hive.
That’s sort of like a fish tank for bees, but the BEEcosystem is a lot friendlier to the winged insects. It is a wall installation that can be placed indoors or outdoors, and it comes with a red light filtering cover that helps maintain the bees’ natural cycles irrespective of artificial lighting in the room. It even comes with a transfer tube setup for sliding windows, so bees can leave or enter the hive as they please. The hive is modular, which means new ones can easily be attached as the colony expands.
The BEEcosystem is incredibly user friendly too – the honey bees come pre-installed so all the end user needs to do is mount the hive on a wall using the wall bracket provided. The unit is pretty easy to maintain as well – it has a cleaning drawer that collects debris from the bottom of the hive, while keeping the bees safely away. A top feeder allows bees to be fed when certain flowers are in bloom.
The BEEcosystem is meant to create a “tangible way to connect people with honeybees.” Co-founder Mike Zaengle said that the product is mainly designed for residential, urban living. “BEEcosystem works well for renters because it features a window exit unit that fits into practically any sliding window,” he explained. “There’s a tube that the bees crawl through to get outside to fly, then they return through it to get back to the hive. You don’t have to drill a hole in your wall; you just need to mount a bracket. It’s very non-invasive.”
“This will be the first display hive we know of that will ship with the colony of bees already installed,” he added. “With other hives, the beekeeper purchases a package of bees that are delivered through the mail, and then pours them into the hive—which can be very intimidating for a first-time beekeeper! With BEEcosystem, your hive installation is simplified.”
Mike insists that the product is very safe, especially because honey bees are relatively docile. And the best thing about the hive, according to him, is that you can harvest your own honey. “You don’t even need a centrifuge to process it,” he said. “Like other top bar style hives, you can simply take a knife and cut a chunk of the honeycomb out.” Each hive can produce about half a kilogram of raw cut-comb honey.
Mike and his team have produced three BEEcosystem prototypes, and are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise more funds. Each hive is currently priced at $450 – that’s a tad expensive, but worth it, I suppose, if you’re going to have bees in your home. Shipping starts in December. Interested?