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 follow at any time the comb building and the growth of the colony. The images are continuously displayed on a large flat screen and can as well be consulted in real time via the internet.
The inside of the beehive is lit with an infrared led lamp for filming.
The bees are not disturbed by this red light. Their vision spectrum ranges from ultra violet (what a human eye cannot perceive) and it stops before red range – bees cannot see red.
We see the beginning of comb building after swarming. The bees start building from the left corner of the first frame. They construct several parallel layers of honeycomb. Over time they will expand the comb so that it covers the complete inside width of the hive.
The swarm organises itself to build a new home for the colony.
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 dark. The monitor the movement of bees over the frames in the hive.
Since the hive was populated with a swarm (may 4th 2011), the 2 webcams record at 15 fps the life in the hive. Comb building, movements and action. In the top of the frames (in the hive body) there are 2 temperature sensors capturing the temperature in the beehive, as well as a CO2 sensor and a sensor recording the humidity in the hive.
Outside of the hive, the temperature and the humidity of the direct environment are also measured.
The webcams are connected to a PC board that is configured as a streaming server. It makes the images of the hive in real time available on the internet. The data from the different sensors are also logged and available in realtime.
Bee Monitoring Research in the OpenGreens. We organise a series of workshops to develop non-intrusive bee monitoring systems.
Bee Monitoring Workshops is a series of workshops in which we try to understand the distributed intelligence of honey bee colonies : their behaviour, ecology and sociobiology. By monitoring the bees and beehives with all kinds of sensors, we study the colony (as a community) and its relation to the urban environment. We will document this research with all kind of media (photo, film, audio, text, code) and we will use the extracted data to make artworks based upon the bees behaviour over time. We try to connect nature and technology in a new relationship of interconnections.
During 2 workshops in february and march 2011, we discussed a digital survey of the honeybees.
Beekeepers, artists and engineers joined their knowledge to come up with a design that offers a realtime, online monitoring of the beehive.
A swarm was put into the hive on may 4th 2011. Since than 2 webcams record the colonies’ behaviour. Simultaneously the data of inside and outside temperature, humidity and Co2 level are logged.