We've written before about the Open Source Beehives Project and its efforts to stave off the "beepocalypse," the spreading epidemic known more formally as colony collapse disorder. The project brings together designers and hackers from the U.S., Spain, and elsewhere to develop "intelligent beehives" that rebuild bee populations and allow better study of conditions inside hives. The OSBP wants people to download its designs, print out parts, and become part of a beekeeping network.
It needs a few dollars to grow, though, which is why it just launched a Indiegogo campaign. The money it raises will go towards developing a new sensor board (a "bee shield") and getting more hives up and running. In return, OSBP is offering a range of nice perks, including the chance for 10 people to become beta-testers of a new hive. Other prizes include the Colorado Top Bar and the Warré hives made from eco-plywood for a $500 donation or the "Open Source Beekeeper Deluxe" engraved, limited edition hive for $625.
"Both our hives have been designed to create an ideal environment for bees to thrive, and now we're developing sensors to embed in the hive and monitor colony health," says Tristan Copley Smith, who is helping run the campaign. "This will allow us to document exactly what types of chemicals or environmental factors are causing the bee problem, and hold those responsible to account with hard evidence."
Copley Smith thinks it's the agricultural industry that is over-exploiting bees, but he says citizens are now responding. "We can see this with recent public pressure on Home Depot to stop selling pesticides, with citizens lobbying to legalize urban beekeeping, with wild flower seed distribution efforts, and the growing trend of backyard beekeeping. Citizens are showing a real compassion for bees that is non-existent in corporate culture."