Open Source Beehives let Citizens Save Bees from their own Backyards

by , 03/11/14

crowdfunding, beehives, honey bees, colony collapse disorder, bee decline, urban beekeeping, crowdsourcing, open source, beehives, beekeeping, bee colonies

A new crowdfunding project aims to put the power to fight colony collapse disorder in the hands of everyday people. Now, anyone can log on and download a simple design for their own internet-connected beehive. These hives do more than provide a home for local bee populations — they also give scientists new tools to monitor global bee health using specialized sensors which track geolocation, humidity, temperature, bee numbers, and even the mood of the colony. The hope is that being able to crowdsource this data will help scientists better understand why bees are declining and how to protect them.

The Open Source Beehives project is headed by a team of technologists, ecologists, and bee experts based in Denver, Barcelona, and Brussels. The unique hives they’ve developed are very different from your typical industrial hive, which is built to maximize honey production without any concern for the health of the colony. The open source hives are created specifically to create a low-stress environment that allows bees to thrive. Not only that, but the beehives themselves have a small eco footprint; it takes just one 4’x8’ sheet of wood to cut all the parts.

Related: CNC Flatpack Open-Source Beehives Monitor the Health and Behavior of Bees

After being unveiled to the world at the Denver co-working hub Green Spaces, Open Source Beehives officially launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, where supporters can receive instructions to build their own high-tech hive for $15, or buy a a premade kit for $280. For apartment-dwellers or those who live in areas where urban beekeeping is frowned upon, you can also support the project by purchasing a miniature model beehive or “adopting” a beehive in Denver or Barcelona. (The team will even send you personal email updates about how your bees are doing!) Since its launch just one day ago, the project has raised nearly $1,000. There’s still quite a way to go — the project aims to reach $20,000 in the next 30 days.

+ Open Source Beehives

Related: 5,000 Honey Bees to be Equipped with Sensors to Study Colony Decline

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  1. ozero October 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    In your video, you should point out that the wood cannot be pressure treated or treated with any chemicals (I guess linseed oil is ok). Bees will chew on the wood. They will also seal any holes all by themselves. Do you suggest how to get the bees? If you leave it up to nature, there is a fair chance they will be africanized. I have 2 hives just for myself. I\’ve had 2 others die (natural death, I think) but am interested in this idea of a high-tech hive that might help find some answers. I live just a few miles from a big bee business – people who truck hives all over the country, but I haven\’t heard that they are hurting yet.

  2. hkl27 April 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Anything being in the UK?

  3. ceasons March 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    have plenty of yard space but no skills at building ANYTHING and how do you attract the “right” bees? Wasps are a issue for me yearly and I feel bad killing these as well as I assume any insect that flies can pollinate but I can have them building hives into my house and fighting getting stung. I dont want to encourage aggressive bees but know we need to save our bees! any suggestions?

  4. sammybarb March 26, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Great!! I will do these this Spring!! I have always wanted to, but now that it’s this easy, I will definitely get into beekeeping!! Bees are so great for the environment!

  5. Rosemarie Buchanan March 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Also, as I live on Vancouver Island, wasps can be a problem. Is there a secret for keeping wasps out of the fancy digs you built for the bees? I know wasps help pollinate, too, but bees are much friendlier. I also have mason bees living under the cedar siding on my 106 year old home. I’ve never seen a conflict between mason bees and the other bees, but would mason bees likely want to take up residence in that fancy beehive of yours?

  6. Rosemarie Buchanan March 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I’m no luddite, but there is no way I can afford the equipment. Are there easy-to-follow printed instructions which can be downloaded?

  7. Ozebee Swarmpatrol March 16, 2014 at 1:37 am

    great idea but hives may be a bit difficult to make without the sophisticated equipment! is very much on the same wavelength and promotes the saving and timely relocating of swarms and wild colonies.

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