Ben Logan pitching at 5x5 Night in September 2015

Ben Logan was the winner of 5×5 Night in September 2015

It is no secret that the fate of the honey bee is tied closely with our own. One third of all the world’s food is dependent on pollination by the the honey bee.

“Honey bees are the pillars of our food system,”said Anna Marie Fauvel, a representative of the Michigan Beekeepers Association and faculty adviser for the GVSU Beekeeping Student Organization.

The honey bee population is currently in crisis, with hive populations declining at an average annual rate of 33% since 2006.

Fauvel emphasis that the current state of the honey bee population is dire. “We are losing hives now not only in the winter, but in the summer.”

If the honey bee population continues to decline, the cost of pollination services will rise, resulting in higher food costs for consumers across the board and a significant depletion in the availability of fruits, vegetables, nut and seeds.

One entrepreneur in Michigan is creating a solution. Ben Logan is manufacturing innovative beehives out of his barn in Lapeer, MI. In a time when beekeepers are experiencing annual colony losses from 25%-40%, implementing Logan’s hives could lead to a 5% increase in individual beehive populations.

The 28-year-old Oakland Community College graduate spent several years building animal housing for hobby farmers when he became interested in beehive design.

“Beehives went along with the product line,” says Logan. He spent two years researching hives before developing his own model earlier this year.

The Langstroth beehive, developed by Lorenzo Langstroth in the 1850’s is the most widely used model today. Langstroth’s design is still largely held as the standard. Logan’s hives incorporate several innovative elements that serve to ensure the health, happiness and safety of the bees; they are stack able for safe transportation, thermostatically ventilated to keep the bees at a comfortable temperature and are designed to keep Varroa mites–a parasite that is fatal to bees–from infiltrating the hives. Logan’s hives are also less labor intensive for beekeepers. Most beehives are still constructed out of wood, which requires upkeep and is likely to carry invasive species and rot. Logan’s hives are 100% plastic, meaning that they are recyclable, simple to maintain and easy to mass produce.

For Logan, inventing his hives was not easy. He developed the tooling himself, and, up until winning a $5,000 at 5×5 Night in September, all of the money invested was his own.

“Doing this and learning things take time,” says Logan. “Winning the $5,000 keeps me moving forward.”

Logan aims to have a model ready for sale and on the market later this year.

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