The Beestra feels like home to a bee
The Beestra is designed as a home for certain species of above-ground nesting native bees. These bees represent maybe 20-30% of the estimated 450 native bee species you should have around your home.
Normally, these bees nest in spaces in trees and hollow reeds and sticks. These are cellulose structures and that’s what the Beestra is.
This is high tech paper
As we say on the farm, the Beestra is ‘hell for stout’. It’s designed around Produce Box technology. These tough cartons are used throughout the country for packing field vegetables and fruits. They endure all sorts of weather and abuse and they get shipped long distance to your favorite grocery store. They are food-safe.
The paper is made of 40% recycled materials and is designed to be recycled after one year’s use. The structure is known as EB-Flute which means two layers of corrugation bonded together for strength and crush resistance. The outer and inner layers are built with a special mineral coating that makes it water resistant. It will get wet in a rain storm, but it dries out. Sometimes called “wax replacement”, this mineral coating can be recycled and that’s big improvement over the old fashioned “wax curtain” style of water resistance.
Inside the corrugations, we use a special non-wicking paper that discourages water transit and improves crush strength.
The blue and purple inks were a serious technical challenge. These colors must be safe for bees and humans, water soluble and yet capable of sticking to a mineral coating that resists water.
Enough of the plastic already
We spent over year designing and prototyping the Beestra. At every stage we made substitutions until we had a almost completely plastic free product. Remove the metal fasteners and you are ready to recycle or compost your year-old Beestra.
Inside the box, we use food grade paper straws in four diameters because bees come in many sizes. We secure the straws on a single face sheet of corrugated paper which spaces the bees and allows for ventilation.
Built for weird weather
According to a 2007 story in Forbes magazine's list of "America's Wildest Weather Cities" and the Weather Variety Index, Springfield, Missouri is the city with the most varied weather in the United States. That’s the town just down the road from us. We get extremes in wind, rain and temperature. That’s a pretty good test for the Beestra.