UW-Superior researchers have developed a windshield for beehives that can provide both insulation and ventilation, helping to prepare hives for winter.
This comes as bee populations are struggling across the country and in Wisconsin. Over the past decade, average winter hive loss in the United States is estimated at 30 percent, more than doubling the recent historic average.
And Wisconsin was one of the U.S. states that lost 60 percent or more of its honey bee colonies in the 2014-15 winter season.
This trend spells trouble for Wisconsin and the nation, as pollinating honey bees play a key role in agricultural industries.
Pollinator-dependent crops account for over $55 million in annual production for the state. And honey and beeswax together account for $3.5 million in annual production, per a 2016 report from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The WiSys Technology Foundation is seeking commercial partners to develop the new windshield design for mass manufacturing. The device is a curved installation that fits over a standard beehive entrance.
WiSys says early lab tests show a prototype can prevent 90 percent of 20 mile per hour winds from entering, without sacrificing passive ventilation or keeping bees from entering and leaving. Read the full story here.