Now that the one-month countdown to summer has officially begun, it’s time to take stock of all the things we need to live our best lives outdoors. Umbrella? Check. Picnic gear? Check. Bees? Not quite. While we may have never considered them a backyard essential before, it’s important to start thinking of them that way. Bees are vital for all life on our planet (nearly 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants depend on them), but they’re under increasing threat of extinction. Thanks to IKEA, they’re going to thrive this season.
The Swedish retailer’s research and design lab, Space10, has teamed up with Bakken & Bæck and designer Tanita Klein to launch Bee Home, a habitat for solitary bees, which don’t produce honey but are great pollinators. The structures look like little apartment complexes and they’re super low-maintenance—they only require cleaning every three years.
Here’s how it works: Starting tomorrow (May 20), you can customize your Bee Home online, selecting the size, number of stories, and platform type, depending on if you’re putting it on a roof or balcony or in a garden. Once you’re done designing, you can download the assembly instructions for free and take them to a local workshop (find the closest one near you here) to have the home constructed out of dried hardwood like oak or cedar. After it’s built, it’s ready to go outside. Psst: Planting some native wildflowers will help attract inhabitants. A single structure could give life to hundreds of solitary bees, which makes for healthy blooming trees and flowers all summer long.
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