Choosing A Habitat. Part 2
The western honeybee evolved over millions of years, typically in the cavities of mature trees that were once part of our ancient woodlands. These covered over 70% of our landscape. an provided complex ecosystems for a wide range of creatures, including honeybees.
Unfortunately, this extensive tree coverage which provided huge habitat choices to a rich multitude of creatures is no longer. There is very little ancient woodland with the characteristic honeybee cavities left today, and honeybees are bereft of natural nesting choices.
Nowadays many people just assume that honeybees live in bee hives and need attending to by a beekeeper. Unfortunately, conventional beehives have been designed for the convenience of the beekeeper and honey removal. Modern hives rarely provide all of the beneficial properties seen in a tree cavity that are so intertwined with the biological needs of the honeybee.
This presents a formidable educational challenge and fills us with gratitude for the growing numbers of people who simply wish to host honeybees to make a small contribution to address the severe loss of the creatures' natural habitat choices
Below are some examples of available nest options, highlighting some of their bee supporting features. It must be noted that these habitats are primarily designed to provide a bee appropriate nesting space for a colony of bees to exist undisturbed as they would in nature and are not designed for harvesting honey.
Lockdown Pallet Hive
As the title suggests this tree hive is made with timber from a couple of pallets and was designed by Jonathan Powell during lockdown.
Eco Tree Hive
The Eco Tree Hive is designed and installed by Simon Kellam of Just Bee Eco Hives. Weighing approximately 20kg, it's very practical to put into suitable domestic gardens, field borders, woodlands and parks. More information about the ethos behind it all and ordering can be found on the Just Bee Eco Tree Hives website.
This distinctive looking Rocket Hive is designed and made by Matt Somerville of Beekind Hives. The suspended log is about 2m off the ground which not only allows you to look up and observe the bees different rhythms of life but also to remove the base and look up at their amazing comb and watch the bees working away without causing them any stress.
Freedom Log Hive
Matt Somerville of Beekind Hives also makes and installs log hive to go directly in a tree. These log hives are made from Larch or Douglas fir. They are between 18″- 20″ in diameter and approx 32″ long.
The service includes delivery and advice for the best location, preparing the hive to attract a swarm, and installation into the tree.
These log beehives are made by Oxfordshire based wood craftsman Steve Gidson who loves working with sustainable local timber.
Futher details about design, delivery and installation options can be found on Steves website logbeehives.co.uk