Smart Hive for Beekeepers _ General Questions

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Ryan
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Smart Hive for Beekeepers _ General Questions

Unread post by Ryan »

Hi,

I am a graduate student at Purdue University. I am interested in working with beekeepers, especially hobbyists and part-time beekeepers, to develop a smart, multisensory beehive that uses various types of data (e.g., video, audio, temperature, weight, and so on) to estimate the state of a bee colony and help them monitor their hives continuously. It would be very helpful if you can share your experience by answering the following questions:

1- How would you describe your experience with the beehive you are currently using?

a. Likes: What are some of the things, if any, you LIKE about your beehive?
b. Dislikes: What are some of the things, if any, you DISLIKE about the beehive?
c. Improvements: Anything you think should be improved?

2- Imagine if you were the designer of this intelligent beehive:

a. What will you include in it to better assist you with the beekeeping practice?
b. What do you want to monitor, and what data is helpful?

Thank You in Advance!
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honeypuppy
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Re: Smart Hive for Beekeepers _ General Questions

Unread post by honeypuppy »

1: Current hives: Dadant 12-Frame and Dadant Long Hive

a) Likes: Only one brood box, big frames (and therefore few frames to move).
b) Dislikes: Still heavy lifting required to remove the supers, preparing frames is tedious, quite some storage space required in the off season.
c) Improvements: Long Hives better than 12-Frame, Top Bar Hive (hopefully) better than Long Hives

2: I've build a monitoring system myself, ended up not really using it.

a)
1. Solar Panel that provides enough power even in winter. Nothing is more annoying when the data flow stops 3 weeks in. My solar panel was quite big (150 Watts) it still couldn't generate enough power to make it through the winter. Mainly because the location was in the shadows of the a nearby house, so the panel wouldn't get full sunlight in the morning.

2. Reliable data connection - I had some breakdowns in WIFI connectivity which meant I had to restart the module (raspberry pi) to reconnect. I did store the data on the module and a server on the internet, so I didn't lose any data, yet I hat to transfer it manually. A check on the module if a data point has been transmitted and if not re transmit it was a point on my list for future improvement.

3. Sensors: I had weight, temperature outside the box and inside the brood nest, humidity outside, battery voltage, air pressure and derived form the weight data: change in weight.

Humidity and air pressure didn't provide any meaning full data. Nice to see, but not relevant.
Temperature outside the box: Was bit flawed as the sensor was inside the compartment with the raspberry pi, so it's excess heat changed the value. Also not that important.
Weight: That helped to see if the bees get enough food an how much nectar comes in.
Temperature inside the brood nest: Nice to see, but doesn't help all that much. After all the bees keep it around 36 C
Weight Change: Good for swarm alarms, but be careful when you summarize the data for larger time periods. Taking the average as for the other values, the weight change get's averaged out to zero and the graph will give false impressions.

What I would like to have would be:
Separated weight for the honey supers - that way I can see if the bees actually bring nectar into the supers and not just to the brood nest.
Separated weight for the feeders - to know when the are empty. That would make it easier to see how fast they get the syrup and if I have to bring more.
Concentration of formic acid in the air for varroa treatment. To high a concentration an the bees get hurt, to low and it won't kill the mites. However measuring acid in air seems rather difficult, I couldn't find any sensor that is event somewhat 'cheap'. So instead I thought about putting the acid dispenser on a scale and simply measure the change in weight. Every gram lost, means a gram of acid must have evaporated. So I can deduce it it's enough or to much.
Comb status of the last frame. With dadant frames you don't add a super to allow the brood nest to grow, but individual frames with (in my case) only starter strips. It would be nice to know if the bees have drawn out that last frame, so that I get a notification that I need to bring a new one. But I don't see a simple method how to measure that.

But even with those I'm not sure if digitization of a bee hive is all that helpful in general. I work in IT and study data science, so I really like adding computers and graphs and shiny diagrams to things, but honestly when it comes to bees: Those things would be nice, but not really a game changer in most cases.
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Countryboy
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Re: Smart Hive for Beekeepers _ General Questions

Unread post by Countryboy »

I am interested in working with beekeepers, especially hobbyists and part-time beekeepers, to develop a smart, multisensory beehive that uses various types of data (e.g., video, audio, temperature, weight, and so on) to estimate the state of a bee colony and help them monitor their hives continuously.
What value do you hope to provide? Why use gadgetry to estimate the state of a hive, when you can simply open the hive and KNOW what is going on?
a. Likes: What are some of the things, if any, you LIKE about your beehive?
b. Dislikes: What are some of the things, if any, you DISLIKE about the beehive?
Why are you asking for emotional responses? Emotions do not dictate how hives are managed.
2- Imagine if you were the designer of this intelligent beehive:

a. What will you include in it to better assist you with the beekeeping practice?
b. What do you want to monitor, and what data is helpful?
I wouldn't design an intelligent beehive, nor would I ever buy one.

What data is helpful? When is Mother Nature going to turn the honey faucet on? What is the weather going to be like a month from now? Which queen lines are going to overwinter the best? Which queens will have the most productive hives?
I am a graduate student at Purdue University.
My advice - go back to school, and I do not mean anywhere which will give you a worthless formal education.

If you want to design a product, first you identify a need that is not being met by the free market, and then you find a way to fill that need. You don't waste capital trying to design a solution for a product which does not exist.
You don't need to have a graduate degree to understand this. You just have to have common sense, and business sense.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio
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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Smart Hive for Beekeepers _ General Questions

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper »

I have been working with computers for a long time, two going on three times as long as you've been alive. There are a lot of things for which I like to have 'data'- I keep monitors at various places of my wood-stoves, body and pipes to keep track of the temperatures to avoid chimney fires; drive my vehicles with a scanner plugged into the port; keep a constant watch on the state of my network and bandwidth utilization.

But I do not want or need my beehives to be 'smart'. There can be such a thing as too much data- too many points to try to wade through and interpret...and for a beehive, there is simply no substitute for going out and observing the actions of the bees coming and going, no substitute for cracking the top and observing the sight, sound and smell of the hive- that tells me many of the things I need to know in an instant. There is no substitute for pulling frames and observing the laying pattern of the queen and the locations of stores.

Not all things need to be 'smart'. It might be an interesting diversion, for one hive, if I had the time and inclination. But for a multitude of hives? It would be data overload that would be worse than useless.
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