Several months back, I was thinking as I was reading an article in the state beekeeper newsletter about the Vivaldi board. It’s a special ventilated roof that is supposed to keep bees healthier by reducing moisture during the winter months. Hive moisture is a killer for honey bees, much like if your house were damp and soggy all winter long. But I was surprised to see that the article didn’t really make any quantitative statements; it just said “this is better” and provided no proof. For some reason that bugged me, so I called up my buddy Dr. Dewey Caron, a world-renowned bee scientist I met by accident a few years back, and asked him if there were any journal articles or university studies on the subject. He knew of one that was barely relevant, from way back in the 70s, and suggested I do a study myself.
That got me excited, and after additional discussions with another apicultural scientist at Oregon State, Dr. Ramesh Sigili, we designed a 1-year research project where they will be technical advisors and I’ll be putting temperature and humidity data loggers into 16 hives and tracking hourly measurements, then comparing that to disease and mite infestation levels, for hives of four different roof types, to look for health connections.
With the miracles of modern technology, the equipment isn’t very expensive, but I need a lot of it. So I’m starting a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter right now. The way Kickstarter works is that if you don’t reach your funding goal, you get $0 and your backers get refunds. It’s an all-or-nothing model… a little scary, but a great way to be sure that a half-funded project doesn’t flop. Click here to visit the site, where you can find a lot more information about the project, and if you feel inspired, you can even donate to my project (and get some sweet rewards, too). I’ll be fundraising through March, so in early April, I’ll let you know how it went.