Since I have been keeping bees, I have found that the cost of bee keeping is quite high. I then started to look at how we could make bee keeping cheaper for the amateur bee keeper. I was also interested in how beekeeping could be made more sustainable, with less reliance on materials made elsewhere.
I have been working with bamboo for the past 12 years and believe that it is one of the most sustainable materials in the world. It grows rapidly, produces strong fibre and structural material, and can be harvested over many years. There’s an abundant supply of bamboo in the Bellingen Shire, freely available. Bamboo seemed like a potential alternative to the pine commonly used for making bee frames. If I was able to make bee frames from a locally available resource, I would also be reducing the environmental impact of transporting pre-manufactured bee frames.
With this in mind, I have started to design, make and use bamboo bee frames. I have had varied success but have now come up with a design that I think will yield the same weight of honey per frame as the standard frames, with similar ease for spinning and de-capping. There definitely needs to be more field trials and experimentation done before I’m fully confident about my designs, but I believe these bamboo frames have great potential for sustainable backyard beekeeping.
Photo is the first prototype, the design has since been refined and is still going through designs variations