A community garden in Angus is looking to help reverse the global decline in honeybees – with the help of a 3D printer.
Sustainable Kirriemuir has been awarded the world’s first log hive made using the technology.
It’s been created by the LACRIMA Foundation, a conservation charity based in Edinburgh and is made up of recycled wood.
Only two 3D-printed hives have so far been made, but developers hope to roll it out on a wider scale in time.
“We constructed the hive the way they [bees] originally lived in the nature,” said Vince Moucha, founder of the LACRIMA Foundation.
“This is their natural home, they lived for millions of years like this before humans came 10,000 years ago and forced them into small, man made, square boxes.
“This is not a natural environment for them to live.”
Sustainable Kirriemuir, an environmental organisation, was awarded the hive, which has been installed in a tree in the Angus town.
Volunteers say they’re buzzing to receive it. “It’s a great celebration! It’s March now, we won’t see any activity until May,” said Kirsty Bogle, a member of the group.
“We would hope, fingers crossed, a local swarm will spot it and think ‘there’s a good home’ and adopt it.
“Honeybees are pollinators and so the benefit to the plants and the garden is enormous.
“Everything grows better when there are honeybees pollinating. We’d expect to see the garden thriving even more.”
It’s hoped the invention will help tackle the decline of bees. One of the main reasons is a loss of habitat, partly down to climate change.
It’s believed each hive can last up to 30 years. Developers have carried out two pilot programmes and say both have been successful.
“We are expecting the honeybees to adopt it as their new homes, to live there, and their health will improve,” added Mr Moucha.
“The studies from different universities and from different sources.
“It’s proven when the honeybees are left unmanaged, they can survive absolutely perfectly with no problems.”