Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Sentinel Hives: Guardians of Honey Bees

Raised toward our $8,000 Goal
156 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 23, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

Thank you all for your donations!

October 03, 2014

Thank you all for your donations! We are 52% toward reaching our funding goal! We have raised almost $4,200 and a generous computer science and linguistics alumnus David Baggett has offered to match the first $5,000 we raise, so please keep sharing our project with friends and family!

We’ve received several questions about how the Sentinel Hives will work and how they benefit beekeepers. So we thought we would take a minute to explain.

The money we raise will be used to turn regular honey bee colonies into Sentinel Hives. Bee yards managed by beekeeping organizations or bee yards that belong to members of county bee clubs in Maryland may be selected for a Sentinel Hive. These hives will be outfitted with a hive scale to monitor colony growth via weight gain and weight loss and a trap that gathers some of the pollen bees collect to determine which plants the bees are pollinating. These Sentinel Hives will be part of a normal functioning apiary with three to seven other colonies in the same location. All of the hives will be sampled regularly to monitor for parasites and disease. By monitoring colony growth and disease, we will be able to alert beekeepers that it is time to treat for disease or harvest honey, and suggest other useful beekeeping management practices.  The timing of these practices is extremely variable, and differs from county to county and year to year because of differences in vegetation and climate.  Providing real-time information will assist all beekeepers in keeping their colonies healthy, because they can use the regionally specific real-time information to make informed decisions about colony management.

It costs $1,000 to set up and monitor each of these Sentinel Hives. If we exceed our $8,000 fundraising goal, we plan to expand the program to include more beekeeping groups within Maryland and surrounding states.

12 Sentinel Hives Funded

October 08, 2014

We’ve surpassed our goal, raising almost $12K thanks to our many donors and the substantial $5K matching gift from Dave Baggett. With your generous support our pilot program will set up 12 Sentinel Hives in Maryland and the surrounding states. Thank you!

We continue to receive lots of interest from beekeepers and beekeeping organizations. For each additional $1,000 we raise we can fund one more Sentinel Hive. Our campaign still has 15 days to go. Help us reach 20K and fund 20 Sentinel Hives to improve honey bee health by sharing our story with friends and family. 

In case you missed it, we were featured on NPR.

24 Sentinel Hives Ready to Go

February 05, 2015

We wanted to reach out to all our enthusiastic donors and let you know how excited we are about the upcoming start of the Sentinel Apiary Pilot Program. Thank you! Due to your generosity, we were able to order 24 hive scales. Letters of participation have been mailed to the beekeeping organizations. These Sentinel Hive systems will be in place by late March, so we can start collecting data to improve honey bee health this April.

Just in case you’ve always wanted to learn how to keep bees, we wanted to let you know we are now offering a beginners beekeeping short course at the University March 28-29th. Please check it out on our lab webpage.

This course will be a fun weekend of learning and making connections with others who care about bees as much as you do! We hope to see you there.

We've doubled our goal!

October 21, 2014

Wow, thanks to our generous supporters and donors we've more than doubled our goal, raising almost 17K for our Sentinel Hive pilot program. The University of Maryland has challenged us to reach 20K. We think we can do it, but the clock is ticking. Help us fund 20 Sentinel Hives by sharing our project with your friends and family:  

Double your donation thanks to David Baggett

September 29, 2014

Help us reach our goal and double the power of your donation. David Bagget has generously agreed to match donations up to $5,000.

We thank you for your generous support!

David Baggett, B.S. ’92 computer science and linguistics, is a member of the University of Maryland Board of Trustees and a member of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Board of Visitors.

Choose a giving level


Bee Enthusiast

Your donation helps fund disease monitoring



Funds disease diagnostics, helping honey bees stay healthy


Pollen Power

Your contribution funds a pollen trap, so beekeepers learn what flowers their hives visit


CheckMate on Mites

Your contribution will fund monitoring of varroa mites, a parasite that attacks developing bees. AWARD: Tour of lab, where we sample bees for mites


Pollen Analyst

Funds microscopic analysis of pollen, so beekeepers learn what flowers their bees are visiting. AWARD: Rooftop honey, produced by our UMD hives


Beekeeper SuperHero

Your donation funds a hive scale that tracks colony weight gains and losses, letting us know when hives grow or shrink. AWARD: Beekeeper for a Day; visit our UMD hives and view bees up close


Sentinel Hive Outyard

Your donation funds a dual Sentinel Hive system for two years. AWARD: Dr. vanEngelsdorp will give a talk to your organization, if travel expenses are covered

Our Crowdfunding Groups