Five years ago, honeybee colonies started dying off. No one knows why. Some theories point to the impact of pesticide use or the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, which is transmitted by a Varooa mite. Whatever the cause, it’s bad news for bees and the crops they pollinate. Oddly enough, bees are doing better in cities than in the countryside--which may shed light on the cause of their disappearance--and some urban dwellers have begun keeping bees to help stem their decline. Seizing on the trend, Philips recently unveiled an at-home hive, allowing anyone--anyone, that is, who isn’t deathly allergic to bee stings--the ability to harvest fresh honey from their window.The concept is part of the Dutch electronic company’s Microbial Home design, an eco-system concept unveiled at this year’s Dutch design week. (Click here for an earlier post on the kitchen component, which is powered in part by human poop.) Pressed against an opening in a window, the Urban Beehive splits the difference between inside and out, with a flowerpot and entry passage outside and a tinted-glass shell, filled with honeycomb frames, inside. Honey can be harvested by releasing smoke into the hive and opening the top cover.
Beekeeping is still illegal in many cities. New Yorkers are in luck; the city legalized the practice last year, and beekeeping classes are available here.