Observe what is going on in our hives even if you can’t come to tour our Bee Care Center by viewing our Smart Hives on the internet. Data from hive sensors is uploaded twice daily and you can view 30 days of history following variables that provide key indicators regarding the health of our colonies.
To logon to see the Smart Hives at the Bayer Bee Care Center, follow the instructions below.
- Using a latest version browser, navigate to http://www.arnia.co.uk
- Click “Check my Hives” in the upper right corner of the window
- In the Account field type: BayerBeeCareNC
- In the User name field type: BeeGuestNC
- In the Password field type: BeeGuestNC
- Finally, click Submit
When the Smart Hive window opens, it will display a weather bar at the top, one to three hives in the middle and one or more labels at the bottom of the screen. Select the label RTPGATEWAY (4000) to see the Smart Hives located at the Bayer Bee Care Center.
Positioned along the top of the hives, the weather bar displays weekly and current weather conditions and temperature at the apiary. This provides important contextual information. The cluster of bees above each hive reflects that hive’s activity or strength.
The readings from sensors are displayed in the appropriate icon on any given hive. The area below each hive on the screen displays the signal strength and battery level of each hive monitor.
You can access 30 days of readings from any of the sensors by clicking any of the sensor icons. This opens the relevant chart for the selected sensor. From the chart, you can view trends and comparisons between dates and times, as well as overlay charts from other sensors and other hives.
Please keep in mind that temperatures are measured in Celsius and weight is measured in kilograms.
The yellow hexagon icon reports brood temperature
, the temperature in the hive where the baby bees are raised. The hive temperature
(i.e. temperature in the vicinity of the hive) is accessed by clicking the red thermometer icon.
Brood temperature is extremely important. Honey bees thermoregulate to maintain a constant temperature of around 34 degrees Celsius or 93.2 Fahrenheit in the brood area so that the brood develops normally.
Bees use joined hexagonal wax cells to raise brood and store food. A brood cell contains a single egg that hatches into a larva, which later transforms into a pupa that emerges as an adult honey bee after about 21 days. (You can see the transformation process in this video
.) Each brood cell is sealed with a wax cap by female worker bees after the egg hatches and the larva is about to transform to the pupal stage.
Bees generate heat by decoupling their wings (Bees have two front wings and two rear wings.) and vibrating their abdomens or flight muscles. Through this process, they are not actually moving their wings. In order to generate so much heat, they expend tremendous amounts of energy which they derive from eating and metabolizing honey.
Just as they have to heat the brood, bees need to occasionally cool it. Bees achieve this by fanning their wings to ventilate the hive, and even more aggressively by evaporating water in an evaporative cooling process.
For a beekeeper, knowing the brood temperature is useful for a number of reasons. A stable brood temperature indicates that the queen is still alive and laying eggs. In the data at right, notice how stable the brood temperature is as compared to the overall hive temperature. More information on this process is available on this website
The blue water drop sensor is the hive humidity
or how damp the air is in the hive. During the brood rearing period, median levels of humidity inside the hive are between 50 and 60 percent. If the humidity is too low, the eggs will not hatch and larvae will dry out. If the humidity is too high, the bees are more susceptible to fungal diseases such as chalkbrood.
Different areas in the hive require different humidity levels – higher for the brood, lower for nectar stores. Bees regulate humidity by fanning their wings to ventilate the hive and by bringing water into the hive.
The green icon reports hive acoustics
. The chart that displays shows a single curve that is unique to the hive, just like a finger print. Clicking the group of bees above a hive will display a more detailed acoustic chart that includes flight and fanning noise, and hive activity. Bees are inherently noisy. The sound they produce is due to the vibrations created by the movement of their wings and bodies. Beekeepers can learn a lot about the hive by looking at the acoustic data in conjunction with weather data.
The sound analysis yields information on the status of the colony in relation to swarming, colony strength, type of activity, (such as foraging and nectar processing) and even health.
Once a worker bee emerges from her brood cell, she tackles the various household chores in the hive such as cleaning, nursing, producing wax and building the comb from it, and receiving and storing honey. Foraging outside the hive for nectar and pollen is a worker bee’s last job. Bees prefer sunny days and temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and will not fly in cold, rain or windy conditions. (Meet expert Dick Rogers to learn more about rainy days and bees
A hive scale yields information on the weight of a hive which indicates change in colony size and food reserves over time. When natural forage is available, or the colony is being fed by the beekeeper, the hive weight increases day-by-day as the bees bring back and store pollen and nectar. The weight then drops when bees leave the hive to forage and when moisture is evaporated during the processing of nectar into honey
. A scale can also indicate when a swarm issues from a hive, how much honey is available to harvest, and when bees need to be fed.
There are many benefits to using technology for remotely monitoring honey bee hives. Some of the benefits are obvious, and others have yet to be discovered. Please visit our Bee Care Center Smart Hives online, and help us explore the data. Who knows, you may be the first person to figure out some hidden relationships or discover a new way to interpret the data.