London designers create bespoke beehive
07 September 2016
Eat Natural announces a partnership with Something & Son, who have created a completely unique ‘smart’ beehive for the 21st century.
This comes complete with natural wood fibre insulation, upcycled pallets from Eat Natural’s ‘makery’ in Essex, and technology from Arnia which will enable scientist’s unprecedented access to never-seen-before data from the honey bees.
The beehives are a major component of Eat Natural’s impact investment initiative this year called ‘Pollenation’, designed to protect and promote the British honeybee. Honey is at the heart of the Eat Natural business, as it can be found in almost every single product they make from their ‘Makery’ in the heart of Essex. Eat Natural is working alongside The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), who are established partners of the Arnia technology, and commissioned Something & Son to design and create the hives with this novel technology built into it.
Simon Petty, of Something & Son, who designed the hive himself, says “beehives are traditionally quite boring, aesthetically drab objects. We’ve taken the needs of every beekeeper in the UK and ensured that those needs are met, but in a completely revolutionary way. Bees will stay cool in summer and warm in winter. We can track their every waking movement using remote technology. We have included sliding brass brackets to rest the frames on the outside of the hive whilst the colonies are checked. It’s made from disused pallets which would otherwise have gone to landfill. The whole hive sits on legs to raise it off the ground, and is beautiful to look at. The hives are finished in beeswax and linseed oil, which makes them smell beautiful and provides a natural resistance to rot and decay. It’s a beehive for every modern beekeeper and we can’t wait to get it out into gardens around the UK to see what people think of it.”
The hives are made by Nick Buttle at Peak Hives in the Peak District, himself a beekeeper for 12 years and now a professional artisan beehive maker. He says, “it takes around one day to make one hive. The process is to edge glue the boards together so they could become larger pieces and then rip them down and plane them up into the correct component sizes. Then these pieces were put into a special 'jig' to rout out the handles and then into another jig to create the 'box' joint which allows the pieces to be joined into a super or brood. Glue was used to assemble the hives and this was then cleaned off, and the finished piece is sanded and treated. The hive parts were made in batches of ten at a time. It’s been an incredible project to be part of.”
Praveen Vijh at Eat Natural, whose brainchild this project is, says, “when we started this initiative we knew we had to create a desirable, modern, state of the art product and I believe we have more than achieved that with our hives. I am thrilled with the results, and cannot wait to see them dotted about in gardens up and down the British Isles.”
Eat Natural is rolling out Pollenation in various stages. There are currently 25 hives which are now being tried and tested by BBKA members, before a wider consumer recruitment campaign kicks off in Autumn 2016.