How Green and Blue Make a Bee House
The Green&Blue range of solitary bee houses, Bee Bricks and Bee Blocks, are designed and made in Cornwall by our little team.
The Green&Blue range of solitary bee houses, including the Bee Brick, was the brainchild of co-founders Gavin and Kate Christman, who met whilst working at Dyson and who moved to Cornwall in 2005 and set up Green&Blue, inspired by the natural world and with a desire to protect wildlife.
After several years of research and development, prototyping and testing, the Bee Brick was launched in 2014 and went on to win the Soil Association Innovation award later that same year.
Each Bee Brick and Bee Block has its own mould which is made from a combination of wood and rubber. The development of these moulds and the process was a result of all sorts of ingenuity, optimism, and sheer determination and experts from the rubber industry have been blown away by the process we've invented and the way we're able to use their products!
Concrete is mixed in batches each day by our 'concrete boys' Chris and Charlie, using the best quality cement which allows us to use 75% recycled material from the Cornish china clay industry in our concrete mix. Each mould is hand poured and vibrated and then wheeled away to dry for approximately 24 hours, either in our drying cabinet or just air-dried, depending on the time of year and outside temperature. To achieve the different coloured solitary bee houses that we make, we add natural pigments to the mix, meaning deep cleans of the mixer and the moulds!
The following day the Bee Bricks and Bee Blocks are wheeled to the de-moulding table and each one is individually removed from its mould, a fairly laborious process but meaning each solitary bee house is carefully handled and treated throughout the process. Once de-moulded the Bee Bricks and blocks are placed onto milk trolleys which means we can move them easily around the workshop, something we often need to do to give ourselves space to move, and these trolleys are then left to await the next part of the process, grinding.
At the start, or end of the week, depending on how busy it's been, the cast range of solitary bee houses is moved ready for grinding which is where we grind down any rough corners and edges to give those perfect neat lines and sharp sides, ready for Sophie from the team to add the finishing touches. This includes a soft sand, a wipe here or there and then boxing the Bee Bricks ready for shipping.
So there you have it, that is how the Green&Blue team design and make our range of solitary bee houses, including the Bee Brick.