We usually associate bees with being the producers of honey, but did you know that bees are quite important to our ecosystem? This is because in addition to producing honey, bees also help to transfer pollen from one flowering plant to another, thus helping to maintain the cycle of life.

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But did you also know that bees are facing a crisis where their populations have decreased by quite a huge margin? In fact, just over in Europe, there has been a 20% decrease in bee population since the 1950s, but thanks to the work of HIIVE, they have developed a 3D printed beehive that they believe could prove beneficial to the species compared to other man made hives.

According to its creators, their design is better insulated which means that it can better maintain heat during the winter but also keeps it cool during the summer. The better insulation can help bees thrive as they would need to spend less energy trying to maintain their temperature. The offers better ventilation which can help deal with problems like mould, and has been designed to look as natural as possible.

HIIVE’s design is actually part of the Forward AM Innovation Awards that was launched by Sculpteo and BASF a couple of months ago. These awards are seeking 3D printing ideas that could be used for a better tomorrow, and HIIVE’s design is one of many taking part in this award.

There is a prize worth a total of 185,000 EUR and the finalists will be announced on the 28th of April while the competition’s winner will be announced in June.

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