Weighing in Before the Holidays
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
By: Dick Rogers
Everybody knows it’s best to weigh in before the holidays and that is just what Bee Care Center demonstrative hive bees are doing.
The Bee Care Center demo hive was moved from its decorative hive box with windows to a more traditional white hive box on November 24. With a temperature high in the 70s°F, it was a good day to transition the bees to their new winter home which is better insulated with no windows where it should be easier for them to regulate the hive temperature.
A scale was installed under the hive allowing for remote monitoring. Other sensors installed in the hive were brood temperature and relative humidity, and outside the hive are rain gauge and temperature sensors. Data from the scale and other sensors upload and are displayed on a monitor inside the Bee Care Center. Our demo hive is now truly a “Smart Hive.”
Why scales? Hives should not be opened in cold weather to check the colony and food supply. So one of the best ways to gauge what’s going on inside the hive is by remotely monitoring weight change and brood temperature as well as other hive conditions. The sensors allow inferences about honey stores, mortality, brood development, and bee activity.
Smart Hives help to track seasonal environmental conditions inside and outside the hive as well as dramatic weight and temperature changes which can signify situations needing beekeeper intervention. All Smart Hives in our system, almost anywhere in the world, can be monitored from any internet connected computer, device, or mobile phone. We will eventually have Smart Hives in California, Indiana, North Carolina, New York and Ontario. Have a look for yourself at http://www.arnia.co.uk/, and login to account BayerBeeCareNA as user: BeeGuest, and password: BeeGuest. The system is still being fully configured, so keep checking back for the latest data updates.
About the author:
Dick Rogers, research manager for the North American Bayer Bee Care Center, has been keeping and studying honey bees for over 40 years, and has been a professional entomologist for over 35 years. His B.Sc. is from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and his M.Sc. is from McGill University in Montreal. He is a former member of the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists, Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, the former International Commission on Plant-Bee Relationships Bee Protection Group, and is a current member of the American Beekeeping Federation and North Carolina State Beekeepers Association.