Local Bee partners with MMC on its mission to rewild the honeybee
Local Bee is a startup that focuses on bringing honeybees back to their natural habitats in the UK - wild honeybees have come close to extinction because of the changing environment.
The start-up’s hive designer Will Jordan has a goal is to create more sustainable beehives through innovating with materials.
Natural beehives can take a considerable amount of time to produce, most commonly arriving in the form of a hollowed log. Heavy, hard to install, they are generally bulky items.
Will saw opportunities to improve the artificial hive but the problem, however, was how to find a material light enough but also thick enough to insulate bees during winter.
Local Bee also wanted to use a substance that doesn't use anything it can't put back to the earth.
Local Bee turned to nature with the Magical Mushroom Company® and Mushroom® Material to improve local ecosystems.
Mycelium mimics the cavity of the tree and it is a breathable material great for insulation and condensation, two key factors to a healthy hive. Better insulation makes for happy less stressed bees and improves energy consumption.
Mycelium was combined with substrate made from recycled agricultural byproduct by Magical Mushroom Company® at its Esher, UK plant, to create parts for the hives such as inserts where the bees congregate.
Mycelium is also incredibly light, allowing for the advantages in wall thickness you would achieve from a log hive but weigh much less. The hives can be easily be installed in trees and stay there longer.
The new hive designs have apiarists buzzing: they are highly functional and aesthetically friendly.
The Eddie is a national hive made from cork, cedar and mostly mycelium.
The Harold is a transitional hive, designed to rewild the honeybee.
Will chose mycelium components to make up the majority of the hives. These can be fully replaced if the bees leave the hives and swarm allowing the hives to last far longer whilst keeping them clean and healthy.
The inserts made by Magical Mushroom Company® from mycelium and agricultural waste were grown in a week to and are fully compostable within 40 days.
Best of all, the hive can be reused by replacing the mycelium sections. Used sections were covered in propolis and beeswax, by-products of bees that naturally biodegrades. The mycelium accelerates the decomposition process of used parts adding more nutrition to the ground, creating a circular life for the product.
The mycelium inserts designed for the Eddie and Harold hives can also be resized to fit any national or langstroth hive.
“ Turned the concept of a mycelium hive into a fully manufactured product ”
“ MMC’s understanding of the process turned the concept of a mycelium hive into a fully manufactured product. The knowledge and expertise of MMC helped Local Bee realise the sustainability goal of the project. ”
Will Jordan, hive designer for Local Bee