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Engineering Honey Update #1 – Kick Off

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Why sponsor a beehive?

OK, where do we bee-gin? Maybee it’s because we’re such hive achievers in our buzziness sector?!?

But seriously, beekeeping has become increasingly popular in recent years, as people are becoming more aware of the crucial role bees play in our ecosystem.

Bees are vital pollinators, facilitating plant fertilization vital for food crops. They also bolster the local environment by supporting tree and flower growth, providing food and habitats to diverse species, enhancing biodiversity, and reinforcing ecosystem health and resilience.

Without bees, most plants wouldn't be pollinated, leading to a decline in food crops, reduced biodiversity, and destabilisation of entire ecosystems.

By supporting the operation of some hives we can make a positive impact on the local environment and try to produce some delicious honey along the way!

Design Decisions

Well, we’re engineers. We couldn’t leave the construction to chance, so took a deep dive into beehive design and bee keeping methods, aligning to our brand principles.

Collaborative. The bees are providing so much direct and indirect benefit, we wanted a hive design to work with them, and minimise the potential for harm and stress.

Commercial. As a start-up business we always need to bee frugal! We wanted to invest in a hive that offers resilience and longevity. This is a long-term project.

Practical. While working with bees is a bee-autiful way to spend time, we’re all pretty busy with our day job. We wanted a hive that the bees could maintain without needing regular human help – after all, we’re new to this, while the bees have been at it for 130 million years!

After careful consideration, we opted for the top bar design.

The Top Bar

A top bar beehive is a simple type of beehive, with horizontal bars from which bees build their own comb.

In contrast to designs that use synthetic comb, the top bar hive allows occupants to build their honey comb naturally, with the freedom to regulate spatial function, temperature, and humidity.

It’s thought that allowing the bees to create their own comb, and their own honey, may well boost the natural resistances and remedies they’ve evolved over millions of years to combat pests and diseases.

Less intrusion and smoking is required to establish and remove comb, which is less stressful and injurious to bee and beekeeper alike. The use of smoke causes the colony to eat it’s honey reserves, so this is also negative for productivity.

The top bar design can be made using robust natural materials, so the life cycle of the hive is greatly increased, and eventual disposal will be largely biodegradable, unlike many hives.

Traditional beekeepers will contest that top bar honey harvest is less compared to other more intensive designs, but we are prepared to accept this in order to meet our ethical and sustainable design spec.

That’s a Wrap

Hope you enjoyed this instalment of bee talk, we'll be posting more about our journey into honey production over the coming year.

Our director Ash Cowdrey is helping to maintain the hive – we tried to convince Jim Fris-bee to get involved, just for the pun, but he wasn’t having it.

Feel free to ‘bee-mail’ Ash directly to hear more, or maybe to arrange a visit to the hive!

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