Crowdfunding a smart, open source beehive to monitor hive-collapse

Tristan writes, "The Open Source Beehives project is a partnership between the Open Tech Collaborative and Fab Lab Barcelona crowd-sourcing a solution to the bee colony collapse issue.

The team have developed two 'printable', flat packable beehive designs that can be downloaded and CNC routed from a single sheet of plywood. The project aims to facilitate backyard beekeepers concerned about colony collapse while reenforcing local bee populations in both urban and rural areas.

The project just launched a crowdfunding campaign to bootstrap development of a sensor board that will monitor and publish data on conditions in the hive on the Smart Citizen platform. With enough adopters, the team hope to solve the mystery of whats causing colony collapse with hard data, and hold those responsible to account.

Open Source Beehives (Thanks, Tristan!)

Notable Replies

  1. It seems like any and all useless vanity projects are eligible for indiscriminate fanfare in the name of "Saving the bees"

    (Which aren't actually in need of saving, BTW)

    What will collapse is that cute plywood box - After a year of being rained on.

    The gents behind this project seem whip-smart. Unfortunately, this project has everything to do with technology and design, and nothing to do with bees, beekeeping, or bee health.
    Edit: Didn't we already do this dance last November?

  2. "Crowdfund an open-source beehive" sounds like it came out of a Web 2.0 Random Headline Generator.

  3. This seems like a pretty cool concept, however I'm concerned by a few practicalities. I am a beekeeper, though a relatively new one.

    • Beekeeping is wonderful, but very challenging. If you're interested, join a local backyard beekeeper group near where you live. You will find your fellow beekeepers to be an invaluable resource.

    • The featured hive will rot on the top and bottom very quickly. Hives are usually roofed with metal or plastic, and supported with a durable stand. The outer walls are typically painted or stained. Exposed plywood won't hold up. You can fix that here by adding a roof, cinder blocks on bottom, and paint on the outside.

    • The hive pictured looks really small. When bees fill up a space, they tend to swarm, leaving the hive. That's why most hives are expandable. I don't think this hive is large enough or expandable.

    • Bees cover the inside of the hive with propolis, which is made of tree sap. It's very sticky and difficult to remove. They use it to seal gaps and mummify intruders, like mice. This may be a concern with their sensors, which could get coated quickly.

    • Most bee hive designs are already free of patent, and plans are freely available. You can make a top-bar hive from a single plank of wood and a saw. Plans are here: This is a great book, and highly recommended.

    If you're thinking of getting into beekeeping, join a local group. It's a lot of fun, and highly recommended! The classes tend to be very full of happy mutants.

  4. Hey, but it's Open Source! So you can add to the design, and make it bigger and less crappy, and no-one will sue you! Or something.

  5. So, giant laser-bees, then?

Continue the discussion

13 more replies