A Smart Smart City for Honeybees
Makes Modern Technology Accessible for the Bees

The main idea of this project is to reinvent the beehive by exploring natural sustainable materials, modern mechatronics and internal topologies of the hive that allow to combine this modernization and innovation of the beehive to be combined with a significant increase of accessibility and inclusiveness in beekeeping. This way honeybees are supported in their survival, bringing significant profit to the ecosystems around these beehives and to us humans who depend on their ecosystem service, e.g. their pollination. See below a list of specific topics that are addressed within this project.

My research in the EU-FET project HIVEOPOLIS is in cooperation with the following international and interdisciplinary team of partners: Prof. Francesco Mondada (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH), Prof. Jean-Louis Deneubourg (Université Libre de Bruxelles, BEL), Prof. Tim Landgraf (Freie Universität Berlin, D), Prof. Verena Hafner (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, D), Aleksejs Zacepins (Latvia University of Life Sciences & Technologies, LVA), Sergey Petrov (Pollenity, BGR). In my lab, Mag. Martin Stefanec, Dr. Martin Kärcher, Dr. Matthias Becher, Dr. Ronald Thenius, Mag. Martina Szopek, Mag. Asya Ilgün and Mag. Daniel Hofstadler conduct significant work in this project.

From the Initial Idea to the Final Concept

Starting from how nature organizes and structures its agents, a design concept was developed that leads from the key aspects of this initial idea to a design, concerning form and function, that allows to pursue the specific project objectives under the constraints that are imposed on the one hand by material properties, by specific technological necessities, and by biocompatibility aspects that are concerning the acceptance of the futuristic hives by their inhabitants, the bees.

Hive, Hype, Hyphen!

In the EU project HIVEOPOLIS a new generation of beehives is 3D-printed from sustainable materials. Based on this structure a fungus grows on organic waste material to ultimately create a sustainable, organic and natural home for a honeybee colony, which resembles their natural housing, a tree cavity, in form, function and microclimate

Is the Brood Good?

HIVEOPOLIS hives are equipped with new sensors and actuators, technologies that allow us to have a live view into the different parts of the colony. This allows the beekeeper to inspect the health of their colonies but also to support them by providing them with additional energy for brood rearing and additional information about food sources and predictions about the upcoming weather and food supply situation.

Code Red

Honeybees cannot see well in most of the red parts of the light spectrum, to very far red parts they are even blind. Thus, we observe our bees in red light, so that for them everything is normal, just like in their normal cozy and dark hive. This way we can observe natural behaviors.

Growing Like a Champ

No other organism grows faster than a honeybee larva. Within its first 4.5 days (of its 5.5 days of larval stage) it increases its body mass 1000 fold. Constant supply with proteins, carbohydrates and warmth makes this possible. This is why the bees fly so busy from flower to flower. We develop technology allowing to monitor this growth.