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Open Source Beehives Designed To Help Save Honeybee Colonies 172

Lemeowski writes "Honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate, with a third of U.S. honeybees vanishing last year. Since bees pollinate many fruits and vegetables, the disappearance of honeybees could cause the United States to lose $15 billion worth of crops, and even change the American diet. The honey bee disappearance is called Colony Collapse Disorder, a serious problem of bees abruptly leaving their hives. A new open source effort called the Open Source Beehives project hopes to help by creating "a mesh network of data-generating honey bee colonies for local, national, and international study of the causes and effects of Colony Collapse Disorder." Collaborators have created two beehive designs that can be downloaded for free and milled using a CNC machine, then filled with sensors to track bee colony health."
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Open Source Beehives Designed To Help Save Honeybee Colonies

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  • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @08:22PM (#45666091) Journal

    The cause is known but for some reason some countries refuse to take the necessary action - ban the harmful pesticides, fungicides and stop over-working the bees.

    Here in Britain we have a history of allowing poisons - MDF, air pollution, pesticides, Asbestos, trans-fats, BPA, a whole slew of nasty shit that are called food additives, if banning anything causes some company to lose money then it isn't banned.

    http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/scientists-discover-another-cause-bee-deaths-and-its-really-bad-news.html [treehugger.com]

    When bathing in a bath of poison, switching to a different bath design is not going to help.

  • by ApplePy ( 2703131 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @08:40PM (#45666275)

    It's real simple: monoculture and chemicals -- agricultural chemical warfare.

    Hobby beekeepers are not having this problem in the cities. It's the commercial guys out where the spray'n'pray farms are who are losing bees.

    The only reason that *everyone* doesn't know this yet -- is because the makers of said chemicals (cough Monsanto cough and others) have heavily invested in creating confusion around the issue to hide the fact that it's THEIR PRODUCTS killing the bees.

    There is nothing further to investigate. We don't need any goddamn sensors in the beehives. We don't need to spend any more tax dollars or time researching this. We need to start banning some shit. Now. Yesterday.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @09:27PM (#45666657)

    Given the importance of bees in our agricultural system, I'd think that a little caution would be prudent. There's no need to ban substances outright on a permanent basis, but a 2-3 year moratorium would allow us to see whether it solves the problem and decide whether the ban should be made permanent.

    The "let's do nothing until we're sure" strategy isn't really the way you want to play the "preserving a resource we need to produce our food" game.

  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @10:01PM (#45666887)
    Seeing a lot of comments espousing the sentiment that we already know the answer, so this won't help. They each claim a different answer. Which one is having the most impact? Is it a combination? Is there something out there we are using that is doing damage we don't yet see? Are any proposed ideas problematic?

    The fact is - more research always helps - so long as it is not taken as an excuse for inaction when known issues are present. Glad to see work is being done to further understand the problem, and I hope the diverse reasons cited in the comments for this article are taken seriously and addressed before it is too late.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2013 @01:23AM (#45667955)

    Yeah, but to be fair, a lot of our crops aren't entirely native to this continent either.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.