Hacking A Bee Hive

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[Marc] created a self-contained monitoring platform that enabled him to record the temperature and humidity of his bee hives.’

The health of colony can be determined based on a few factors. One is temperature which is an early indicator of whether or not the bees are about to swarm. Once temperature spikes are noticed, the bee wrangler can take the necessary steps to reduce the chance of losing the hive to a neighbor. Another indicator of bee health is humidity. If the area is too damp, it can damage the hive.

With that in mind, [Marc] developed a system to alert him via SMS or email if the sensor readings go beyond a certain range. In addition, he monitored the weight of the hive to see how much honey is inside. Frequency of the buzz was also recorded, and so was the activity of the entrance. He used an Arduino Duo and a DHT22 temperature/humidity sensor. A solar panel powered the bee monitoring system.

There were some challenges that needed to be overcome. Initially the Arduino wasn’t sending out data, but that was fixed with a simple debugging session. From there, he was able to broadcast the information creating graphs with the data. Battery levels, temperature, and humidity were all recorded. With the bee hive hacked and monitored, [Marc] was able to make progress on his system making great use of an Arduino.

Comments

  1. Hirudinea says:

    Why not just give the queen a cellphone? Neat project, it should be interesting to see the data he logs over the winter.

    • Marc Curtis says:

      I gave her a cell and she took of to the mall.

      I’m hoping to get it much more robust for the winter. Just doing a code rewrite now for the arduino to make the power consumption better. Also need a bigger solar panel.

  2. pushl says:

    Bees scare the crap out of me…. But I like honey and of course the idea :-)

  3. Marc Curtis says:

    I’m hoping to talk at SxSW next year about my bees, open-source and hacking – if you liked this, please vote for me at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/36798

    Marc

    • Stardreamer says:

      Nice Hack ! Hey… you could make a THP entry :-)

      The next step is to develop implantation in other hives all around your country, or even over the world. This could really help to prevent bees destruction actually occuring.

      Why this kind of projects is not supported by scientific public labs ? It seems so important !

  4. Marc Curtis says:

    ha ha – not sure it’s up to the standard of some of the other hacks on here for a THP :) But thanks anyway.

    There are some other projects out there monitoring bees – I’m hoping to link into one of these opensource projects next year – for now I’m just interested in making a robust, self sustaining package – and to know when my bees are in trouble!

  5. Gareth James says:

    Nice work Marc, looking forward to tasting the local robo-honey!

  6. ehrichweiss says:

    Nice, I just started beekeeping this year and would love to build one of these to keep an eye on my girls. This may be good for my area for other reasons since we have harsh winters and we tend to lose a lot of hives to them, though I hear we actually lose a lot more due to the cold snaps we tend to have in March, usually after the queen has started laying again and all the nurse bees are refusing to leave the brood.

    • vonskippy says:

      Once you have the ability to monitor your hives, you have the ability to control their temperatures during the winter (and fall/spring cold snaps). Just be sure to monitor the humidity as well, and don’t baby the hive to much, you want it to be cold in the winter, just not deadly cold (otherwise you encourage the growth of pests in the hive).

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