iHoneyBee: Smart Hive Technology Keeps Beekeepers and Hives Connected

Group of Bee Hives

The age of 24/7 connection has officially crossed over into the world of beekeeping. Monitoring of honey bee colonies and hive conditions using digital sensor technology is a promising new way to manage beehives. This technology, “Smart Hives,” allows beekeepers to stay connected with their hives and rapidly respond to any needs detected.

Digital sensors underneath the hives provide timelines about what is happening inside and alert beekeepers when there are changes that may impact the hive.

Check out ongoing Smart Hives research taking place in this North Carolina beekeeping community.

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“Smart Hives are just one of the ways beekeepers leverage technology to enact better management practices,” said Dick Rogers, principal scientist, entomologist and manager for bee health and Integrated Apiculture Research. “We hope the research being conducted out of the Bee Care Center now will help make this technology available to all beekeepers, leading to improved hive health across the industry.”

The Bayer Bee Care Center has six demonstration hives that utilize the Smart Hive technology. The hives sit on scales that have sensors both inside and outside the hive to allow for remote monitoring. Data from the hive is uploaded and displayed on a monitor inside the Center. Sensors monitor not only hive weight, but temperatures and humidity inside the hive, which can help make inferences regarding foraging activity, colony development, brood state and queen status.

Bayer “Smart Hives” will allow for better assessment of stock improvement programs aimed at developing queen rearing capabilities and methods for improving bee stock through the introduction of desirable characteristics.

So far, Bayer “Smart Hives” have been installed in 10 locations including North Carolina, California, Indiana, New York and Ontario.

“We hope this research and data being collected from Smart Hives across the country will help understand how the needs of hives in varying environmental conditions change,” Rogers said. “The better we understand our hives, the better we become at combatting the challenges they face.”