bee monitoring workshops

Since last year, the OKNO’s are setting up bee-monitoring systems. Last year, the bees were faster than us, and the technology was half ready when the bees started to swarm and went into their new home (not yet equipped with sensors and other stuff …).

This year, whe hope to be on schedule. We’ve set up 2 bee-monitoring workshops, in which we gather and exchange the experience of beekeepers, bee-technologists, bee-monitors, or just people interested in bees and their behaviour. We will be 8 people to work during 2 days in a very concentrated way on new bee-houses (see below) and enhanced beehives. Some of you have already experimented with specific parts of the technology (sensors). let’s see how we can make the best out of it by putting construction, hardware, software and bee-behaviour knowledge together.

The purpose is to develop a device that can serve for bee-monitoring in an extended network (local & international). We want to offer the observation-data online in realtime via a dedicated server, and we want to be able to compare the data forthcoming from different beehives. Will we end up with a stand-alone bee-monitoring device to add to the hive, or will it be a manual on how to augment your own beehive to fit into the network. Time will tell!

Some nice manuals to start from for building hives:
micro dwellings for bees:

Workshop 1 / developping the plan (3 + 4 february 2011)
Workshop 2 / executing the plan (23+24+25 march)

During the first workshop we should develop the blueprint of the augmented beehive. During these 2 work/discussion-days, all topics should be covered and worked out on paper. We’ll wrap up the workshop with a workable plan, a diagram, a list of all actions to take, all the components to order, every electronic part to implement, every connection to the network to make … Also to discuss (before, online): do we build a specific model of beehive, or do we stick to the traditional ones?

We are busy yet building some modular 3D models (maquettes), based onVoronoi algorithms. We will also present some virtual 3D models in scetch up or blender – open for discussion. Can we build bee-appartments? Can we build shelters for the bees in need?

What can we monitor? Which sensors do we need for it? Where do we have to put them?

    Visual: webcams inside hive (infrared, fiber) or outside behind window
    sound / vibrations (contactmicrophones – piezo’s, other small microphones)
    temperature inside / outside
    humidity inside / outside
    airpollution / Co2
    moving of the bee-blob/nucleus inside of the hive (very important in winter)
    number of bees flying in/out (summer)
    landing of the bees on the landing strip before the flighthole (theremin? Aluminiumfoil?)
    weight of the hive (filling up with honey)
    weight of the hive / colony growing from spring -> summer

and inspiration from nature /natural algorithms (voronoi) here: