Honey bees pollinate more than half of the world’s fruit and vegetable crops. In fact, they are honored by many entomologists as one of the most beneficial of all insect species – and that’s before they produce 200 million pounds of honey annually. Aside from the threats of habitat destruction, pesticide use and climate change – a huge threat to the honey bees are wasps. When wasps raid beehives, the honey bees are no match for the larger, more powerful wasps. And a single attack can usually take out an entire hive.
“I read an article here in South Korea, talking about the issue and how honeybee colonies were being threatened,” says lead designer Sungchul Yang in Seoul. The article said biologists were working on the problem. And I wondered why they hadn’t looked to designers to solve it.”
The ‘6.40mm’ is a specially designed hive to keep bees safe from wasp attacks. The secret lies in the hive’s tiny entry holes, which are big enough for bees but too small for wasps. The girth of the average bee is approximately 6.40 millimeters – hence the name of the design – which is only about a third of the size of most wasps.
With this simple yet ingenious solution, the designers from Seoul and Hong Kong believe they are can make an effective intervention in this cycle of destruction.
“Designers look at everything we know, everything in life, and we know how to fix problems,” says Yang. “We think this is kind of a first step for us, as designers, in joining the world community of design.”