The new design worked great and the bees thrived. Soon it became apparent we needed to develop a whole new system including tools, accessories, instructions and even a smaller Harvest Box for bees or capped honey storage (in case needed for winters) and for breeding, swarms and splits.
We began manufacturing the Beepods in 2009 just in time for the Home and Garden Expo.
Born of a wayward photoshoot at Growing Power in 2002,
Charlie Koenen's journey with bees has been a series of happy accidents, hard knocks and divine intervention.
While doing marketing for Growing Power, Charlie met Jesse Spanaus and they managed the original apiary and started teaching the beekeeping classes. It was during one of the winter workshops that they met the little nuns from Mt Calvary who needed bees for their garden. They're who really got Charlie committed to designing a new hive that was easier on the bees and easier on people.
It took several years to become an over night success. Working late nights with an expert craftsman, David Hinterberg, at the family quilting machine manufacturing plant, we produced several versions of the hive before arriving on the aesthetic design of today. Each prototype had to run for a full four seasons to work out the flaws. Jesse and Charlie started Beepods and with David's help, arrived at the first cradle design production hive in time for the Milwaukee Home and Garden Show 2009.
Form follows function until it doesn't. Because we had access to large format CNC milling machinery, we could keep tight tolerances and problem solve features to create the best home for the bee colony.
One night while drinking beers, waiting for glue-ups to dry, we found a closeup image of a bee head online... and had an epiphany... make the hive LOOK like a bee's head. We could mass produce soft curves with exacting detail. We created the cradle with observation window and an inner chamber with ventilated top bars, sliding end bars and an internal feeding system.Underneath, a screened bottom with sliding vent openings.