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The buzz on beekeeping for urbanites

The buzz on beekeeping for urbanites

An Auckland graduate’s novel approach to New Zealand’s ailing bee population and pollination rates could see more buzzing added to the urban rumble.

Rowan Dunford’s Urban Beehive was  invited to exhibit at Auckland’s Better By Design CEO Summit earlier this year.

The beehive, made of plastic mould and plywood in the top bar method, is hoped to encourage urbanites to engage with beekeeping as a hobby and in doing so, encourage the bee population – vital to food production.

Through intensive pollination of crops, honeybees contribute more than $3 billion to New Zealand’s GDP.

The inventor hopes his design will be seen as “an entry level beehive” for people who want to become hobbyist beekeepers, but with an emphasis on sustaining the honeybee population, which has decreased due to the Varroa parasite, among others.

Dunford, a recent AUT graduate, wanted to take a solutions-based approach to his design and found that the declining bee population issue was one that he “could sink his teeth into". 

The design in still in the prototype stage, though he hopes to begin testing in the spring.

Dunford is adamant that the design is commercially viable although he is still looking for financial backing.

When asked if he would like his neighbours covering their back lawns with the Urban Beehive, Dunford laughed.

“It’s not going to suit everybody’s situation, but the aim was to create a product that allowed people who want to get into beekeeping, to be able to. But no, it’s not like keeping a pet.”