Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, has plagued beehives around the world, threatening about $15 billion worth of agricultural production. While there are suspicions, there’s yet to be enough research to lead to significant answers and solutions. The Open Source Beehives, or OSBH, is trying to change that one beehive smart-sensor at a time.
On Friday, the OSBH, a group comprised of four ecologically-minded beekeepers, innovators, and open-source advocates, closed its IndieGogo campaign to fund the research and development of smart beehive sensors. The total raise was $63,057, which is about 315 percent of their goal.
“I think it’s an issue that a lot of people care about,” Aaron Makaruk told AgFunder. “People are really hungry for a solution that they can be a part of and implement, and it says a lot about what people’s priorities are.”
Developing sensors that include a variety of data points such as geolocation, humidity, temperature, bee numbers, pesticide sensors, and even the colony’s mood, the OSBH plans to integrate its data into a platform whose data is open to all. Makaruk says the team is exploring how to work with the creators of Smart Citizen, an already populated data platform, to further the impact of beehive sensors.
Makaruk was quick to point out that the OSBH is not the first to come up with high-tech beehive sensors; groups such as HiveTool and Hackerbee have also put beehive data to use. In line with the mission of many others, OSBH wants to help find the cause of CCD, and believes that open sourced information and citizen science can lead to both answers and solutions.
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“Your contribution will help us develop sensors to enhance our hives,” says the OSBH campaign site, “connecting them to the Internet to log data about what is causing the bees to disappear around the world. This data can be used to study colony health, build hard evidence against the causes of the problem, and generate policy change and informed solutions moving forward.”
Makaruk said all shipments of gifts from the campaign will be shipped out within a month, and that the team will begin their work on the smart sensors in May. In the meantime, OSBH is asking those with OSBH beehive designs to send in pictures, videos and any documentation of the existing hives. The winner will receive a Smart Citizen Kit.
PHOTO CREDIT: OSBH Facebook