Can A Smart Beehive Network Of Open-Source Hives Help Stop The Bee Apocalypse?

Ben Schiller | Fast Company | November 18, 2013

The Open Source Beehives Project aims to lower the barriers to backyard beekeeping with simple, low-cost hive designs. With bees dying by the millions, they need to spread the buzz.

Bees have been dying in the millions--and that's a problem, because we really need bees. Up to 100 crops (worth an estimated $30 billion) rely on bees for pollination, and that's before we consider all kinds of other flora and fauna. We can't live without bees.

Exactly what causes Colony Collapse Disorder hasn't been established conclusively, though there are two main suspects, according to a recent USDA study. One potential culprit is a parasitic mite called Varroa destructor, which sucks a fluid from bees' circulatory system and carries a virus. The other is the growth in the use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Since 2006, when neonicotinoids started to be deployed widely, beekeepers have reported losing 30% to 90% of their hives.