Under this research category you can find all theoretical- and field research contributing to the project Bee Laboratory. Articles cover as well the biological as social, historical, economical and political aspects of bee monitoring. Displayed on this page are the 10 most recent posts contributed to the topic. For a complete overview of all posts per subtopic of research, please navigate to- and check the relevant subcategory.

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robot bee

After visiting the Koç University in Istanbul last february, I started thinking about links between haptic robotics research, neuroscience and the antenna’s of insects. Receptors, senders and receivers, input and output (but what is happening inbetween?). Stings, pheromones, poison, skin, reactions, multifaceted panoramic vision eyes, antennae with 3000 receptors, electrically charged fur for pollination purposes: examples of high tech nature and high technology. Besides its senses, let’s analyze the circadian rythm of the western honeybee to understand the functioning of the super organism in the best possible way.
Compound eyes with 6.900 small lenses, each representing a pixel in an … (read more…)


During the second workshop week we installed 2 temperature sensors and a humidity sensor in the middle topbars of the brood chamber. There is also a combined temperature/humidity sensor hanging at the backside of the hive. The design of the bee monitoring system is able to log temperature and humidity inside the hive brood nest and measure temperature and humidity in the rooftop garden outside the hive.
All the sensors are connected to an arduino board, which is connected to the internet.
With this set up I can follow at any time the warming up and cooling down in the hive. Temperature and humidity inside and outside the hive are important indicators of hive health.
Some worker bees … (read more…)

bee anatomy

Honey bees have 5 eyes. Two compound eyes, these are made up of many hexagonal facets, meaning that they can simultaneously see all around them (above, below, side to side, infront). Like humans, bees are trichromatic, but whereas humans base their vision on red, blue and green, bees base their colour vision on blue, green and UV. This means that some colour combinations visible to bees, are not visible to humans. However, bees cannot see red, however, they do visit red flowers because they can see the UV patterns within the petals. And they also have three ocelli: these are simple eyes positioned on top of the head. These eyes are sensitive to light, and aid the bee in its orientation. The … (read more…)

wax lateral

A honeycomb is a mass of hexagonal wax cells built by honey bees in their nests to contain their larvae and stores of honey and pollen.
The axes of honeycomb cells are always quasi-horizontal, and the nonangled rows of honeycomb cells are always horizontally (not vertically) aligned. Thus, each cell has two vertical walls, with “floors” and “ceilings” composed of two angled walls. The cells slope slightly upwards, between 9 and 14 degrees, towards the open ends. The hexagon tiles the plane with minimal surface area. Thus, a hexagonal structure uses the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given volume.
Another explanation is that the shape simply results from the … (read more…)


After a few workshops at Okno to develop the observation system, I start to monitor the development of a colony from its swarming dd. april 26 2011. The bees start building a new nest in the green beehive that is set up for the monitoring. The hive is located in the okno garden, about 3 metres from the window of the studio. Two webcams are installed in the middle frame of the brood box , in a small plexi box. If the web cams would not be protected, the bees would cover them with propolis. The camera’s send a steady stream of images, 1 per minute, via a PC board installed in one of the honey supers of the hive. The PC is connected to the internet via an ethernet cable. The purpose is to … (read more…)


The enhanced beehive is a gateway to monitor a honeybee colony and its environment. Numerous possibilities for observing the bees’ behavior and important measured values from within the hive are provided as well as measuring data for the climate, soil, and vegetation in the honeybee colony’s direct environment. Storing all of the data over a period of several months allows not alone a very well detailed observation but also the ability to discover and follow long-term trends of complex relations between the superorganism and its environment.
The life in and around the hive is monitored by many measurement systems. Two webcams , equipped with infrared leds, make it possible to see in the … (read more…)