Local Bee, a UK-based startup, dedicates its mission to the revival of honeybees in their natural habitats, a population currently teetering on the edge of extinction due to environmental shifts.
Will Jordan, the start-up’s creative mind behind hive designs, is set on a quest to innovate and provide sustainable alternatives for traditional beehives. A typical natural beehive, generally fashioned out of a hollowed log, is burdensome due to its size and weight. Jordan envisioned an artificial hive solution that could retain the insulation properties of the log while being lightweight enough for easier installation. Additionally, Local Bee aspires to utilize a material that has minimal impact on the environment.
To solve these challenges, Local Bee, in collaboration with the Magical Mushroom Company®, found an innovative answer in nature itself: Mycelium. This organic substance, with its unique ability to mimic the cavities of trees, provides excellent insulation and breathability, crucial factors for maintaining a healthy hive. Furthermore, mycelium, combined with substrate derived from recycled agricultural waste, allows for hive parts such as bee-congregating inserts to be manufactured with less environmental impact.
Mycelium’s lightweight property provides an added advantage. The resulting hive components match the thickness of traditional log hives but are significantly lighter, simplifying installation and ensuring longer stay in trees.
The newly developed hive designs have the beekeeping community buzzing with excitement due to their functionality and aesthetic appeal. The “Eddie,” a national hive predominantly made from cork, cedar, and mycelium, and the “Harold,” a transitional hive aimed to rewild honeybees, stand as notable examples of Local Bee’s innovative creations.
The hive components, mainly made from mycelium, can be fully replaced if bees abandon the hives. This extends the lifespan of the hives while maintaining their cleanliness and healthiness. Additionally, the mycelium inserts, made from agricultural waste, are grown in a week and are completely compostable within 40 days.
The cycle of use and reuse makes the hives truly sustainable. Once replaced, the used mycelium sections, often coated in propolis and beeswax byproducts of bees, naturally biodegrade. The mycelium expedites the decomposition of these used parts, adding nutrients to the soil and ensuring a circular life cycle for the product.
To top it off, the mycelium inserts designed for the Eddie and Harold hives are flexible in their application. They can be resized to fit any national or Langstroth hive, adding versatility to their list of advantages.