IKEA Is Encouraging People To Build Custom Bee Homes For Free
In celebration of World Bee Day, which is held annually on May 20th, IKEA offers a free open source design that allows everyone to build a bee home. Bees are a crucial part of our ecosystem because they are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. In fact, one third of the food we consume on a daily basis relies on pollination by bees. Aside from humans, animals also feed on these plants that mostly rely on bees for pollination. Without bees, plants and crops wouldn’t survive. And without plants and crops, humans and animals will not survive.
Sadly, bee population is declining in abundance due to several factors. The decrease in population is happening primarily because solitary bees are losing their habitats to farming and urbanization. Moreover, climate change and the excessive use of agricultural chemicals also contribute to the bee population decline. For this reason, people have been building and putting up houses for solitary bees. Ideally, a house provides a safe space for bees to protect themselves from predators and harsh weathers. Solitary bees can also use these tiny abodes to store pollens and lay eggs.
IKEA’s Space10 offers an open-source approach to allow everyone to design a bee house for free
But here’s the problem – not everyone has the knack for DIY construction. Furthermore, there are several elements to consider a building a bee house. It should have a solid outer structure which will protect hole-nesting bees from moisture and bad weather. The nesting holes should be made in the proper size range. The holes must not be too large for predators to enter and not too small so bees can easily access the house. In addition to these, the location of the house should also be taken into consideration. There’s a proper design and placement depending on the location, whether it would be on your garden, balcony or rooftop.
Luckily, IKEA is giving an open invitation for everyone to build their own customizable bee house for free. SPACE10, IKEA’s external innovation hub, works together with design studio Bakken & Bæck and industrial designer Tanita Klein to bring an open-source approach where anyone can design, customize and fabricate a beautiful house for solitary bees.
Create a bee house in 3 easy steps – design, download and fabricate
The open-source design introduces a pre-designed structure that already features all the necessary elements that make up a suitable bee house. All that’s left for you to do is to specify the height, the number of storeys and the position where you intend to place the bee house. After confirming the details, you can download the design files for free. You can then forward the design files to your local CNC-machine owner to build your design using digital fabrication.
“I want people to design a dream home for bees that provides the perfect environment for their offspring, while at the same time being incredibly easy to design, assemble, and place”, designer Tanita Klein explained. “It was important for me that Bee Home is aesthetically pleasing and almost feels like you’ve added a sculpture to your garden or your balcony. This project really exemplifies how design can do good for both people and their environment.”
Unlike honey bees, solitary bees do not produce honey. And they don’t live in colonies as they are wired to live on their own. This makes them less hostile than honey bees since they don’t have any honey or a queen to protect. So, it is entirely safe to build a bee house in your garden or anywhere near your house. Not to mention, the only maintenance it requires is a quick cleaning every three years.