It's no secret that we're facing a bee and plastic epidemic. Bees are primary pollinators: with estimates suggesting that without them, one in every three portions of food that we eat could disappear. While the devastating effect of plastic pollution is obvious for all to see.
Mexican honey brand Son de Miel, digital marketing agency Flock-Linked by Isobar and production company Praxlab have created a product that calls for the reduction of plastic pollution and simultaneously helps to preserve bees.
Last Straws aims to work with the most important bee species in the world for human food, known as the Apis Mellifera, by creating a beehive prototype out of collecting reused plastic straws.
By creating artificial honeycombs with the straws, they can act as repurposed bee cells - which are coincidentally the same diameter as the diameter of the honeycomb cells. Not only does this initiative encourage consumers and restaurateurs to reduce their use of plastic straws, but it also means that beehives can last a lot longer as well as reduce the work required by bees for construction, so that they can focus on the colony’s reproduction instead.
David Zacarías, GCD at Flock Linked by Isobar said, “The drastic reduction of pollinators, such as bees, puts 75% of the crops in the world at risk. The Last Straw project goes beyond the creation of the beehive – it invites people to stop using straws altogether. Dozens of restaurants in Mexico have already engaged with this initiative, pledging to stop offering straws to their customers, and thousands of people have given us their “last straw” for the creation of the prototype”.
Gabriela Esqueda, from Son de Miel said “There is an ancestral relationship between bees and humans, particularly with bees that live in beehives. For us, Last Straw is an invitation to change our consumption habits as we stop using straws, and, at the same time, to look for options to help the beekeeping crisis”.
The team found that most straws are made from polyethylene plastic, which is the same material used in the manufacturing of artificial beehives. And means that bees are more likely to accept and adapt to this material. In addition, to avoid any presence of external microorganisms that could affect Apis Mellifera, every straw is sterilized before being used in production.
After just a few days of implementing these new beehives, the bees displayed signs of acceptance to the materials used and their application. After the trial stage, the goal is for the final prototype to be available free of rights so that it can be replicated anywhere in the world under the concept of open source. The blueprints for the hive and honeycombs will be available for download at Last Straw.