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SUSTAINABLE BEEHIVES

OpenSource Beehives is a collaboration between OKNO and Fab Lab Barcelona.
The approach is to work on an Open Structures version of a Warré beehive model for sustainable beekeeping. We start to fablab this model early april 2013 and it is installed in Brussels and Valldaura (Barcelona) in spring 2013.

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The story behind the concept
The project ‘Guerilla Beehives’can have an exemplary meaning for the audience if it comes to the public perception sustainability. It is a collaboration between the arts, design and science.
This is the end of the anthropocene. We imagine an ecosystem where all actors collaborate to keep up the resilience of the system. As artists, gardeners, makers and thinkers, we collaborate with animals, plants, insects and bacteria. … (read more…)

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Wednesday 12/06/2013 I’ve started a new colony in the Warré hive. It was a precarious undertaking. Due to bad spring weather, nature is a month late. I controlled all the hives on swarm cells, but in none of the 5 hives the bees had the tendency to swarm yet, no new queens in the pipeline! Thus I had to make an artificial swarm which can create its own queen.
First I adapted 2 capped honeyframes from the size of a Kempische hive to the size of a Warré hive – I had to make the frames a lot smaller. As I had to cut into the honey cells, this became quickly a very dirty setup. … (read more…)

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During the past three years, Okno has been exploring the potential of sensor-equipped beehives. Making use of innovatory technologies, we are studying bees as biomarkers providing information about the ecosystem they are part of. The collected data are stored in online databases, mapping the urban landscape and raising awareness of this shared living environment, and are used for the creation of ecological works of art. Earlier this month, Annemie Maes from Okno was organising a bee monitoring workshop at Valldaura Self Sufficient Lab in Barcelona. … (read more…)

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April 10/11/12 2012 part#1 of the Bee Monitoring sessions was organized at Valldaura. The first part of the project focuses on the monitoring of beehives through sensors while exploring different materials and appliances of the beehive itself. The idea is to consider the bees themselves, and their behavior and reactions, as sensors of the environment that inform us on the quality of air, water, the diversity of plants … sensors of nature and a healthy environment. The current interns prepared for the wokshop by building a natural structure with the local materials. This structure will be used to give shadow to the area where the first beehive will be placed. It will be extremely important … (read more…)

WarreNesting

I first visited the fablab february 2013 and met John and Jon. We discussed the ‘opensource beehive’ design and the sensors to be implemented in and out the beehive. We were looking into different possibilities for the finalisation of the OpenStructures beehive. New ideas for visualization of the data came up. One of them is to work with the OpenStructures grid design that is embedded (2cm) in the outer side of the hive and to fill it with a fosforescent resin (maybe pvc with plant pigment). The t° sensors inside of the hive can be connected to a led-light, and the light of this led can be distributed through the fosforescent design, thus the t° sensor-data will be visualized by the … (read more…)

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specificities of a warré beehive
All info on sustainable beekeeping following the Warré method: beekeeping for all . More info can be found here: warre biobees.
Plans for building a Warré hive can be downloaded here : warre beehive plans. The site is a sort of manual if you want to keep bees with the Warré method, it provides a lot of information on specific tools, plans for hives and even a life, and techniques for using the … (read more…)

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Mapping the foraging areas at Valldaura:
Calendula officinalis, Malva, brassicaceae, Quercus ilex, Arbutus unedo, erica, blackberries, Hedera helix, Ruscus aculeatum, Lobularia maritima, Sambucus nigra, wild mint, cherries, apples, strawberry tree, Rubia peregrina, Ruta graveolens, Asphodelus fistolosus, Diplotaxis erucoides, almond, apricot, Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major, wild lavender, Viburnum (tinus), Foeniculum vulgare, Populus nigra (good for propolis), Celtis australis (edible), Chelidonium majus (stinkende gauwe – medicinal), Fragaria vesca, Urtica (netel), Bursa pastoris, Hypericum perforatum, Thymus, Rosmarinus, Asparagus acutifolius, Melissa, Santolina chamaecyparissus … (read more…)

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In a few days the OpenSource Beehives workshop will be hold in Valldaura. Meanwhile, Jonathan Minchin, John Rees and Ferran Masip, three students of the FabLab Academy, have been working for weeks on the actual physical beehives and the sensors that will be inside them. It’s been a process of research to find and create the best prototype, modeling, printing and milling the parts for the final assembly; while circuits where printed, soldered, and lots of programming and testing was happening. There will be – at least – three final beehives, one to be placed in Valldaura, one to be placed on the rooftop of Iaac, and another to be shipped to Belgium, at OKNO. … (read more…)