We read an article recently that presents a unique approach to saving honeybees, and gives them a better quality of life. It involves 3D printing, which has worked its way into our world in a solid way over the past decade or more.

No design project is too challenging with a 3D printer. You can create and produce almost anything you can conceive of with your imagination, and in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

A German company called HIIVE is using 3D technology in the wilderness to make better homes for bees without harming the environment. In the face of honeybee depopulation, the aim is to create better hives for honeybees in the hopes of putting a dent in such devastating bee problems as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

HIIVE builds a better home for honeybees, and it also takes the needs of beekeepers into consideration, for a win-win-win experience. The hive is also attractive, and would make a beautiful exotic addition to any garden.

This unrelated 2:05-minute video by J Group Robotics has nothing to do with the HIIVE project, but we are including it because it also discusses 3D printing in relation to beehives:



Before humanity domesticated the western honeybee (Apis Mellifera), this incredible insect lived in tree cavities. We have blogged several times about bees and trees before, like in this post.

There is something very special about tree cavities because they have a special microclimate that is great for bees, as well as for beneficial symbionts that live with the bees in the tree cavities. The environment inside a HIIVE replicates the conditions of a tree cavity, thanks to 3D printing.

The company is also developing a sensor kit and companion app that can be used with HIIVE. Their low-energy sensor can track important parameters without disturbing any bees. They are also working on a swarm alarm. This will alert HIIVE owners when they can expect a swarm.

Their 2022 goal is to move HIIVE into mass production, so they have launched a crowdfunding campaign. If you'd like to check it all out, and maybe decide to support their vision for honeybees to have natural homes, or are interested in beekeeping, you can learn more about HIIVE at the link here

Philip Potthast is one of the co-founders of HIIVE. You can click here to read his interview to find out why this industrial designer has a love-hate relationship with 3-D printing and check out some images of these unusual natural looking hives that are made of recycled raw materials. The article also reveals how this type of hive survives extreme weather, and which companies HIIVE works with to create these hives.

What do you think about these beehives by HIIVE?