I thought I’d share a resource which I have used the past three years. Hivetool.net monitors hives located throughout the world. The software is open source and they have all the information regarding how to install the monitoring equipment on their webpages. Additionally they try to make the equipment easy on the pocketbook so more people can participate. In my area of South Carolina one of my club members volunteered to install the software and sensors on her hive a few years ago. I can even claim a small part of the effort by building the waterproof housing and stand. The benefits I have gained have been well worth the effort. From local seasoned beekeepers I have learned the approximate dates for local nectar flows and dearth periods. But with the monitoring of her hive I can now see the actually change of entering the nectar flow by watching the trending weight gain of the hive. More information such as temperature changes indicating swarm preparation, humidity, rainfall, bee counts, can all be monitored depending on the sensors attached. All from the comfort of your PC. Have a look at some of the active hives on the website. Here’s ours in the Midlands of South Carolina. SC008
Hivetool™ is an open source project comprised of beekeepers who work with technology as technicians, engineers, programmers and database and system administrators. Our goal is to produce software and hardware tools to monitor, manage and research bees and honey production. See hivetool.org for software, hardware recommendations, instructions, plans and user manuals. Hivetool.net provides real time access to the network of hives. Hive data for research is warehoused at The Data Center for Honeybee Research.
The software is Linux based, although it should run on Windows. Readily available, commercial, off the shelf, consumer grade (low cost) hardware is used. The software supports as many different brands of hardware as possible, to avoid being locked into one vendor, technology or computing platform as technology advances so rapidly.
A database is being populated with every variable we can measure, both in the hive (e.g. weight, temperature, humidity, bee counts, audio, video), ambient conditions (solar radiation, barometric pressure, rain, wind, dew point), and hive parameters (location, elevation, orientation, hive design, foundation material, etc.) The data is both for our own research and management and for any other beekeeper, researcher or student for data mining.
There are currently over 20 hives on-line in California, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, and South Carolina. By the end of the summer, more hives in Colorado, Florida, Michigan, and Oregon should be on-line. Other facets of the project in the works are a smart phone app that will interface to the scale, temperature probes, etc for remote yards and a video camera bee counter.
All the data is available for download by anyone at anytime. We welcome engineers, programmers, scientists, researchers, bee keepers, and citizen scientists from anywhere around the world and invite you to join our effort.
Open Source/Open Notebook
Hivetool™ is an open source project. Wikipedia defines open source as a) universal access via free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and b) universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone.
Originally, open source just applied to software, then hardware. Hivetool™ also open sources the data and research results (open notebook).
Again from Wikipedia: Open notebook is the practice of making the entire primary record of a research project publicly available online as it is recorded. There is no ‘insider information’. It is the logical extreme of transparent approaches to research and explicitly includes the making available of failed, less significant, and otherwise unpublished experiments.
We want peer review to start at the beginning of the experimental process to make the research as quick and efficient as possible. Why wait until the experiment ends with poor results to point out the flaws in the experimental techniques?
1. Hive Management: Help the beekeeper determine when to feed, split, super and provide data to validate or invalidate beekeeping lore, practices, equipment, techniques, treatments.
2. Climate and Land Use Research: Provide data to NASA for analysis. Eventually do our own research as the hive database is built up over time.
3. Education and Bee Science: Attract students to education and science.