“SAVE THE BEES!” is a common theme these days, it’s great to see people interested in the little animals crucial to our foodsupply around the globe.
The wrong bees?
Yeah that’s right! Honey bees will be fine. They have a whole crew of beekeepers and researchers providing support to them. Wild bees however, are on their own; they fly solo.
Wild bees are going extinct, with special regard to the solitary bees. The solitary bees are crucial for earth’s ecosystem and everything in it. One solitary bee can pollinate 120 times more flowers than a honeybee. If they die, they will take us with them.
Learn more about the solitary bees
Solitary bees are very effective and efficient pollinators. Instead of stripping all of the pollen and nectar from one blossom, the solitary bee skips from flower to flower and branch to branch. this back and forth motion creates optimal cross polination.
Solitary bees visit between 20.000 to 100.000+ blossoms per day.* That’s a lot of pollination!
*A single honey bee pollinates 50-100 blossoms per day.
Why are solitary bees declining?
Many species of solitary bees have declined because of a lack of suitable habitat. A lot of places a native bee might have made her home or found a snack are being destroyed. Part of the problem for our wild bees is our human desire for neatness and uniformity. Pretty lawns with no bare spots. Non-flowering grass, or pollen-less flowers. Bees need to have something to eat and a place to live. Habitat loss, pesticides and decreased floral diversity all take a big toll on these little animals.
What can we do about it?
We can help! We can no expect that political and economic measures will avoid the extinction of the wildbees. There is not enough time. But planted areas in private and public spaces are crucial islands of food diversity for bees. Let’s start today!
Make cities bee-centered
Help them by giving them bee-friendly flowers for pollen, nectar and the leafs to seal the nests. To do this we came up with a system that attracts solitary bees and gives them shelter, food and a place to reproduce themselves. This is in an effort to prevent the solitary bees from going extinct.
How does it work?
The Urbeez is a 3-in-1 product.
Frist and foremost it provides shelter for the solitary bees. The cylindrical cut-outs you see function as a place to sleep for the wildbees. It’s best to place the Urbeez in a warm and sunny spot with at least one meter above the ground.
Secondly the cylindrical cut-outs also function as a place to hibernate and reproduce. The depth of the holes makes sure that birds can not reach in to catch them.
And lastly at the top of the Urbeez is a place for flowers. It’s best to mix small and tall flowers, this looks more voluminous and will attract the bees. Use unfilled flowers and a big variety between early-, middle- and late blooming flowers so that there are some all over the year.
What makes this system so interesting is that it is fully modular. The consumer has the freedom to choose wherever they want to place the Urbeez. It doesn’t matter if they want to fill in the whole frame or just a few spots, they can create every shape they want. Our system is not limited to houses, walls or buildings, but also applicable in public spaces.
The reasoning behind the construction.
Urbeez is designed to attract bees in cities, in an effort to make them more bee-centered. When it comes to attracting bees, shape and colour is a very important aspect. Simple shapes, such as triangles work pretty good in this matter.
As for colour; orange up to ultra-violet are the colours which are visible for the bees. Now if you combine those two; a triangle shape in a magenta colour, in contrast to a neutral background, that creates a strong stimulus for the bees.
We made a steel frame to put Urbeez in because of it’s strong holding against the outside of a wall. It’s also capable of withstanding all weather conditions. To attach the frames to the wall we use a strong screw thread which is easily attachable to walls and buildings, another option is to attach it to the gutter.
Materials and sizes
The Urbeez is made out of sustainable bio non-toxic coated wood. The depth of the Urbeez is mased off of the holes in which the bees lay their eggs. The holes are around twelve centimeters deep so the frame leaves plenty of space for it being attached to the wall while still being able to hold the Urbeez.
The inside of the Urbeez was initially planned to be made out of Plato wood, because wildbees love hard-wood. Because of the hydro-thermic modificationprocess the present properties of the wood will be enhanced without chemical additives.
However it would make the entirety way too heavy to have the inside filled with solid wood.
Future of this project
I see a future in this project, and because of that I’m still working on it as of today and do not consider it finished.
I plan to continue designing and create a market-ready DIY kit.
I want to create a DIY kit so people can put it together themselves. That way they’ll get the feeling they’re part of this project too.
The DIY kit shall of course contain the required materials for the Urbeez, nails and / or screws to put it together. A small package of correct seeds and a list of which seeds you should use for which amount of sun.
Furthermore I want to focus on details such as durability, what kind of material would be viable as of price, weight and the footprint it leaves behind.
Lastly I’d like to setup a cost plan to see the expected price and according to that make adjustments to the design where needed.