Join the hive, save the bees

Open Source Beehives
Catalonia (Barcelona)

Fancy printing your own hive in 30 minutes? Jonathan MinchinTristan Copley Smith and Aaron Makaruk have come together to create a buzzy giant hive of makers, beekeepers and citizen scientists – with the aim of discovering the reason bee populations are declining throughout the world. 

With their Open Source Beehives you can make your own printable ‘smart’ beehive, track colony health, foster and monitor local beekeeping, and promote international bee recovery by joining the global and open network. 

“We use sensor enhanced beehives and data science to study honeybee colonies throughout the world. All of our technology and methods, from the hive and sensor kit designs to the data, are documented and made openly available for anyone to use.”

Our friends the bees are in scarily rapid decline worldwide due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon caused by pesticides, parasites, loss of habitat, environmental stress, industrial beekeeping and malnutrition. If we don’t do something about the dying populations, our supermarkets are going to look pretty barren in the not-so-distant future.

Two designs are currently available for anyone to download are the Colorado Top Bar Beehive and the Barcelona Warré BeehiveBoth can be cut from plywood using a CNC router machine (a computer-controlled wood cutting machine) and slot together without needing things like screws or glue. They are designed around natural beekeeping methods, which reduce exposure to artificial materials and lower stress factors on the colony.

This is then coupled with a sensor kit which will monitor the hives and upload the data direct to a phone via an app, allowing the monitoring of bees in real time. The data can be uploaded to the online repository called the Smart Citizen platform, so that the data is shared with other hives across the globe, creating an open source network of information.

“Bees keep ecosystems connected, they transport information and nutrients between plants in order to give us more than 30% of the food we humans eat. If they disappear, we are lost,” explains Tomás Diez, Director of Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. “OSBH is trying to understand what is killing bees in a massive citizen science experiment and by enabling anyone to start beekeeping in their cities. The new sensor device even helps them to be happier.”

AtlasAction: The project now has more than 60 hives either built remotely or ordered in over 20 countries. Want to join the hive? Download your beehive design here. If you have skills in electronics or programming and are interested in helping develop the sensor kit, contact them here.

OSBH was mapped by Tomás Diez in his AtlasChart Top 9. Check out these other projects that have come out of Fab Lab Barcelona: 10 projects that change everything.

Submitted by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (10 April 2018)


Student at Bournemouth University and intern/accidental activist with Atlas of the Future, Matthew spends his time promoting the solutions of tomorrow and staying out of his overdraft.

Project leader

Jonathan Minchin, Tristan Copley Smith and Aaron Makaruk

Creative Commons License



  1. BeeTheUino

    Great project! Please check my ideas

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