As part of their Microbial Homes initiative, designers at Philips have come up with an ingenious urban beehive that would allow everyone from suburban families to studio apartment dwellers to keep and raise bees. The beehive consists of two parts: An entryway and flowerpot that attaches to the outside of a window, allowing bees to come and go as they need. And a glass enclosed honeycomb on the inside that allows users to see and interact with the beehive from within their homes. This piece also allows for easy, no mess honey collection. The beehive also comes with a smoker to calm the bees if and when the hive needs to be cleaned.
It may be easy to scoff at the idea of keeping bees in a studio apartment, but the more I think about this the more I think about the common ant farm. If you told someone, “I’m going to give your kids a colony of ants to play with,” you’d say it was preposterous. But when designed within an inclosed plastic frame it seems perfectly reasonable — even delightful. I don’t see a huge leap between the common ant farm and the concept urban beehive. The only difference is that the urban beehive would be useful — giving the user an endless supply of fresh honey and helping boost bee populations, which are threatened by Colony Collapse Disorder.
If Philips decided to actually release the urban beehive, the company should market it to suburban homes as well as urbanites. The urban application requires an indoor and outdoor piece, which is complicated by having to put a hole in a glass window — if you rent, forget about it. However, suburban home owners could easily put this in their backyards on a free-standing pole, eliminating the need for the indoor/outdoor complication. Suburban families have embraced bird houses and bat houses, why not a well-designed, attractive and easy to use beehive?