With increasing interest in urban beekeeping, it was only a matter of time before someone through away the rulebook and created a designer beehive.
Omlet, the makers of the world famous Eglu chicken house, have launched a product that they are calling the Beehaus.
Commentators in the national press have described the Omlet Beehaus as a “coolbox on legs”, “like an old Apple imac” and as “an object of desire”.
This new, contemporary beehive for the urban beekeeper, makes it easy for anyone – from amateurs to seasoned apiarists – to help bees find a home in urban gardens up and down the country.
The strikingly designed hive, is developed with the help of leading beekeepers to be a 21st century home for bees and has urban spaces very much in mind.
Beehaus has twice the room of a traditional hive (measuring about 1m wide and 0.5m high) and with plenty of space for the colony to grow, the likelihood of the bees swarming is greatly reduced.
Bees will travel up to 3 miles to collect nectar, so even the most unpromising gardens can still support viable colonies and produce their own honey.
With proper care and access to local sources of nectar, it’s quite possible to collect over 20kg of honey from a Beehaus hive in a good year.
Omlet co-founder James Tuthill said “Bees provide a wonderful service pollinating plants and providing us with honey.
“With the help of urban gardeners, bees can have access to a wonderfully diverse source of plants, resulting in fantastic flavorsome honey.”
The first Beehaus is to be installed on Natural England’s office roof in Victoria, London, overlooking Westminster Cathedral.
Dr Tom Tew, Chief Scientist for Natural England, said: “Bees provide us with honey but also play a vital role in pollinating plants – from farmland crops to trees, flowers and garden vegetables – bringing critical benefits to people and to the natural environment.
“There is no reason why our towns and cities should exist as wildlife deserts – wildlife can thrive when we design our urban areas with nature in mind and the Beehaus is a great example of how easy it is for anyone to bring the natural world closer to their doorstep.”
The Beehaus uses standard deep National frames (14″x12″) that allow the whole colony to live in a single brood box.
With two entrances – one at either end there is enough space to accommodate 22 frames, which is double the number of frames in a traditional National hive.
The entrance has a sheltered landing area that makes it easy for your bees to land and walk into the hive.
The beehaus also comes complete with a wasp guard, which restricts the size of the entrance helping the bees to defend the hive against wasps.
Using an innovative triple pocket insulation the design helps keep your bees warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
The mesh floor ensures your bees have good air flow within the hive. It also allows debris and mites to fall out and this helps keep your bees healthy.
Overall dimensions are approximately (inc stand ) 93cm tall, 114cm long and 72cm wide
A word of caution, please site the Beehaus on a firm stable base as the Beehaus can weigh as much as 136kg (300lb) in the summer when it has lots of bees in the brood box and lots of honey in the supers.
You may wish to check roof loads before installing.
Currently the Beehaus is available in red, green, yellow, purple and white. Prices are in the region of £500