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Can Fake Outdoor Trees Help Save Honey Bees?

A Facebook fan recently suggested that our fake outdoor trees could help the declining honey bee population. He commented on an article about how man-made honey bee hives are based on an old design, and they’re not the best environment for bees to thrive:


 “Despite the importance of nests to honey bees, the hives we build them bear little resemblance and have few of the properties of the natural tree nests European honey bees evolved with. In the 21st century, we’re still using hives designed in the 1930s and 1940s, based on ideas from the 1850s. Natural nests were only scientifically surveyed as recently as 1974 and research into their physical properties only began in 2012.”


To Save Honey Bees We Need to Design Them New Hives


John W. on Facebook said:


…We have been creating artificial trees for decades…. They could easily be modified to suit the design parameters that are described in this article. A company like International TreeScapes, LLC are world wide leaders and could do this as a student design project….


After that comment, we had to look into the matter further. We admit it never occurred to us that fake outdoor trees could help the bees! It may be a real possibility, though. It’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor:


“Managed honey bees are the most valuable pollinators in terms of agricultural economics. These hyper-efficient insects can provide pollination to virtually any crop.


Almonds, for example, are almost entirely dependent upon honey bee pollination. Without honey bees, the harvest of blueberries, squash, watermelon, and other fruits would be greatly reduced, driving up prices and disrupting the marketplace.”

 – The Value Of Pollinators To The Ecosystem And Our Economy


Man-made hives lack properties that honey bees prefer in their natural environments. The artificial hives are shorter and wider than those in nature, and they have large entrances that allow beekeepers to reach the bees and honey. 


Current methods of beekeeping are helping to spread a devastating parasite known as Varroa Destructor. Honey bees need high humidity environments, but the parasite prefers the low humidity environments found in man-made hives.


Honey bees prefer tree hollows that offer tall, narrow space, and a small entrance near the bottom. This helps to keep the hot air inside the hive, giving them the humidity that they need.


The bees then “strip off outer layers of bark to smooth the walls, then seal and coat them with propolis or ‘bee glue’ made from tree and plant resins in preparation for building wax honeycombs.” – Types of Natural Beehives


TreeScapes can easily design and create fake outdoor trees that have the dimensions and features that appeal to honeybees. We already create specialty products, like treehouses and cat trees for pets, so why not bee trees? The challenging part would be making these spaces accessible to beekeepers.


We currently lead the industry in the use of faux trees, plants, and hedges to hide electrical equipment, conceal structural elements, and provide discrete storage. These designs could be modified to meet the beekeeper’s needs.


Another option is to create these trees solely for the purpose of rewilding honey bees. The main purpose would be to increase natural honey bee populations. Beekeepers could then harvest the honey once the colony moves on or dies naturally.


California apiculturist Michael Thiele is doing just that:


“Thiele’s method consists of hollowing out logs and strapping them high on tree trunks to mimic bees’ hives before they were domesticated. He also sometimes suspends them from barn rafters or perches them high on wooden tables for a similar effect.”

‘Rewilding:’ One California Man’s Mission to Save Honey Bees


We’re still considering the best ways to accomplish this, and we welcome your feedback! What design would you use for fake outdoor trees to help save the honey bees?  

Contact TreeScapes:
artificial foliage - carnival cruise ship

Artificial Foliage to Beat Summer Heat

Beat the Summer Heat Using Artificial Foliage

Artificial Foliage Palm Tree with mister water spray
Palm Tree Misters by International TreeScapes

Our artificial foliage for exterior trees & plants is made with the heat in mind. We have locations in San Diego, Las Vegas, and Miami, so we’re VERY familiar with summer weather – sometimes all year round! Luckily we have some incredible ways to add shade, privacy, and even smart tech to your backyard or outdoor space. 


Artificial Foliage Uses

    • Privacy: Hedges, green walls, and dense foliage trees can block out the sun – and nosy onlookers. Keep your space your own personal, private paradise! We can also conceal privacy cameras and motion sensor lights within trunks or branches. 
    • Cooling: We have many options to create shady spots in your yard, but you can always expand on these exterior trees & plants by adding concealed misters.
    • Tech Integration: You have your ideal refuge from the sun – so why not make it fun? Integrate some concealed speakers or screens to add surprising functions that no one will expect!
    • Speaking of Fun…we can also create custom made treehouses and play areas. Little ones will delight in having their own space, and you’ll love the hours of safe, fun entertainment it provides. We can even assist with custom cat trees for your feline friends!
Left: A fabricated palm tree with hidden misters gives homeowners cooling relief from the dry heat.

Artificial Foliage in Real Life

Artificial foliage palm trees Carnival Cruise lines
artificial foliage - carnival cruise ship

Artificial Foliage Options

    • UltraLeaf-X foliage is Ultraviolet “UV” Inhibited
    • UltraLeaf-X/IFR foliage is Ultraviolet “UV” Inhibited and Inherently Fire Retardant (IFR)
    • Exterior palms’ trunks are good for 15 years or longer and are built with IFR materials
    • “Giant” tree fronds are available in both “split” and “standard” leaf


These creations withstand harsh weather conditions without loss of shape, fullness, or color. And when we say “harsh”, we mean it!


Our UltraLeaf-X foliage stands the test of time against extreme temperature, sunlight, humidity, wind, rain, snow, and ice. This prevents our trees and plants from becoming discolored and tattered. We offer the industry’s longest lasting, highest-quality exterior creations.


Our products are also Inherently Fire Retardant (IFR). You don’t need to worry about fire hazards, even on the hottest, driest days. You can have peace of mind knowing that you’re conserving water and helping to keep your home safe.


As for watering, pruning, fertilizing, and dealing with pests? Not a problem! You can skip all of that and just enjoy your beautiful, realistic looking trees, plants, and flowers. This makes artificial foliage ideal for dry climates where water conservation is a must.


Seniors, allergy sufferers, and “set it and forget it” types will all love how hands-off and easy it is to maintain gorgeous foliage in any weather. It doesn’t matter where you live, or what season it is – our artificial foliage makes it easy to enjoy your perfect backyard all year round.

Above: Our faux palm trees on Carnival cruise ships give guests a tropical island feel, even when they’re on the water. They also offer plenty of shady spots to cool down and enjoy the sea breeze.
Right: Our artificial Banyan tree provides shade and a scenic background for the Wegeforth Bowl amphitheater at the San Diego Zoo!
Artificial Foliage - Banyan Tree at San Diego Zoo
Banyan tree, seal, & zoo performers at Wegeforth Bowl, San Diego Zoo
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