The Internet of Bees: Adding Sensors to Monitor Hive Health
The Digital Beehive uses Wi-Fi to broadcast a beehive’s weight, humidity, temperature, and battery voltage every minute to SparkFun’s data channel service called Phant. The raw data can be seen here but you can view some prettier graphs of the data here on analog.io (sign-in required).
On a visit to Portland, Oregon, last summer my friend mentioned he had always wanted to put a load cell under a beehive to measure the weight of the hive over time. He thought it was a great project for SparkFun and I immediately started thinking how it might be done. Fast forward through 9 months of testing and development and we’ve got live bee data!
First a disclaimer: This is a project that focuses on the technology and the lessons in the field, but I have only scratched the surface of beekeeping (apiculture). SparkFun is fortunate to have a handful of employees who are either beekeepers or related to beekeepers. They were nice enough to do the bee tending, I did the tech. Additionally, I am an engineer so data accuracy is important to me but the interpretation of that data should be left to research scientists. That said, check this out!
A healthy hive can hit 400lbs (180kg), so we need to create a scale that can handle the hive’s maximum weight and also have the robustness to survive in the field.
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