A stylish new possibility for urban beekeepers

Philips has unveiled a sleek, in-home beekeeping system. Is this the future of urban beekeeping?
Written by Beth Carter, Contributing Editor

In recent years, honeybee populations have been on the decline. In fact, last march, the United Nations Environmental Program issued a report dubbing honeybee disappearance a "global phenomenon."

The authors of the report, all bee-experts, cited several different possible reasons for the collapse of the bee population: habitat degradation due to development, insecticides, parasites such as the Varroa mite and air pollution, that interferes with a bees' ability to find scents.

As a result, urban beekeeping has become something of a DIY method of helping the bee population through hobby. Though it is illegal in some cities, places like New York have seen colonies popping up on rooftops and in backyards since the city legalized the practice last year.

Philips, the Dutch home-electronics company, wants to join in the trend unveiled "The Urban Beehive" at this year's Dutch Design Week as part of their Microbial Home project, recently covered on SmartPlanet.

The glass pod is split between inside and outside a window, with a flowerpot and entry passage outside and a tinted-glass shell filled with honeycomb-textured frames inside.

The glass exterior filters light to let through the orange wavelength which bees use for sight.

The user can then harvest honey by releasing smoke and opening the top of the capsule.

"This is a sustainable, environmentally friendly product concept that has direct educational effects," says Philips. "The city benefits from the pollination, and humans benefit from the honey and the therapeutic value of observing these fascinating creatures in action."

Is this design a viable method for home-friendly beekeeping? Tell us what you think.

[Via Co.Design]
Photos: Philips, Antaean/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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