Do Something!

Get off your ass and improve this planet right now! It needs you. Yes, I’m talking to you! Even if you fail, you inspire others to action and their success will be the interest paid for your efforts. You can only fail by not trying.

I don’t hack or keep bees. What can I do?

  • Use honey instead of sugar. It’s better for you and, unlike all other sources of sugar, it is totally carbon neutral.
  • Buy local honey. That lady at the farmer’s market is competing against cheap honey illegally imported from China. Learn about this here.
  • Stop using insecticides. They kill bees. There are better ways to control bugs that sting.
    • Remove standing water that breed mosquitoes
    • Put up bat boxes. Bats eat their weight in mosquitoes each night
    • Clean up food from picnics that attracts wasps and yellow jackets
  • Stop using herbicides.
    • See those yellow Dandelions in your yard? Bees love them and their young leaves make great greens.
    • See that white clover in your yard? It makes some of the best honey. And it is injecting nitrogen into your soil which helps your grass to grow without additional fertilizer.
  • Hey, stop using so much fertilizer. If the insecticides and herbicides in run-off don’t kill the fish, the fertilizer will. It causes algae blooms to occur which die and are then consumed by bacteria which sucks all oxygen out of the water…and that suffocates native fish.
  • Plant flowers or trees that provide nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) for bees. Urban development and monoculture farming methods has resulted in the loss of bee friendly habitats. The following flowers, fruit, and vegetables are inviting to bees. There are many more beside these.
    • Comfrey
    • Sages
    • Thyme
    • Marjoram
    • Rosemary
    • Lavenders
    • Lambs Ears
    • Geraniums
    • Snapdragons
    • Sweet Peas
    • Foxglove
    • Blackberry
    • Red & Black currants (Black currants makes the best jam in the universe! IMHO)
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • Apples
    • Pears
    • Beans
    • Peas
  • Learn about bees and their plight. It’s your plight too, bubba.
  • Contribute to this site. No, I don’t mean ‘send money’. Post a response, design an original cyberpunk bee logo for this site, write a FAQ, suggest how to improve this site, translate pages into another language, invent an electronic queen tracker, what ever…
  • Write a review or an article for your local paper on the plight of the honey bee
  • Convince others to use open source software whenever possible
  • Raise your daughter to be a hacker

I want to learn how to program the Arduino and build one-wire sensor networks

Easy. If not easy, at least challenging. Visit the following websites (see hacking links), purchase a kit, and just do it:

  • Sparkfun
  • Adafruit
  • Hobby Boards – great source for one-wire sensors
  • Make Magazine website

I want to learn how to keep bees

See “Beekeeping, How to get started” in the FAQ.

Wish list directed at Hackers

  • Collaborate with a beekeeper. Build a pry scale or an environmental monitor and share it with a beekeeper. They might even share their honey with you.
  • Reality Bee Tee Vee. Unlike people from the mid-West who love the big sky and wide open spaces, bees like it cozy…actually claustrophilic. Anything large than 3/8 of an inch makes a bee uncomfortable and the space is likely to be covered in propolis or wax comb. So to place a camera inside a hive requires a really small camera. I’ve seen small ‘spy’ video cameras but I doubt they would work with such a short depth of field. I’ve seen USB microscopes for under $40 that do have incredible magnification and a short fields of view. Anybody want to try to hack one to pieces and see if it could be made to reside inside a hive?

Wish list directed at Beekeepers

  • Collaborate with or hire a hacker. You might offer to pay for the parts or pay in honey. The two of you might even go out together to get matching bee tats!

Wish list directed at Uber-Geeks

I know there are people out there with degrees in things I can’t even pronounce. To save the bee, we need to know what is killing the bee and in order to know that, we need to monitor the bee. We need a Help-I’ve-Fallen-And-I-Can’t-Get-Up necklace for bees. Failing that, here some more ideas. What have you got? Let me know.

  • Low cost LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) bee tracker modulated and detected at the same frequency of bee wing beats. It has been done (minimally) once before. For a related project, wiki “Mosquito Laser”. Nathan Myhrvold believes he can build mosquito laser tracking and zapping from Blu-ray players, digital cameras, and other odds and ends from eBay for around $50! It seems to me that we should be able to track and count foraging bees if Myhrvold can do that to mosquitoes and zap them.
  • Inexpensive and non-invasive way to track the queen in the hive and monitor her activity. Is she laying? Is she preparing to swarm? Is she dead?
  • Odor or protein detection of bee pathogens. How about a continuous mass spectrometer for $50?
  • Automated acoustic analysis of hive activity. I know there are people out there with a lot more experience in this field than I have. Toss me bone, ok?