- Hive Year 2018

Sacramento (95827), California USA -      Contact             


Welcome to the Apiary ( prototype) presents bee hive monitoring through advanced telemetry applications and systems.

Monitoring Cosumnes River Preserve Wood Duck Box #23 + a Wild Honeybee Colony on top of MER2 Test Platform Start Date: 09/01/2018

    The hive telemetry collection strategy concentrates on four key areas (below), for monitoring the general health & welfare of a colony of honey bees.

  • Hive Climate
  • Hive Weight Change
  • Hive acoustics & comb vibro-acoustics or seismicity
  • Visual surveillance
  •      These hives are monitored with a variety of internal sensors including temperature, airflow, relative humidity, and dew point. Site and regional ambient weather conditions such as prevailing winds, rain, soil moisture, light, and barometric pressure are also monitored. Integrated Inner-hive climate monitoring and relative weight-change monitoring provide insight into honeybee behavior.  A healthy active colony of honeybees will modify inner-hive climate while caring for the queen, the brood chamber, and the hive stores.   Monitoring this inner hive climate in comparison to ambient conditions exposes this behavior of the honeybees inside of the hive. Dead bees don't change weight.  They gain weight when they collect nectar and pollen and they lose weight when they consume resources, like honey in winter.


    2018 Empty Hive awaiting swarm (Above - Left) with Cosumnes River Preserve Wood Duck Box #23 

    + Wild Colony on top of Hive  (Above Right) and (Below)

    24 hour - Live Hive Entrance View (credentials required)  (PIXYCam link pending -Systems output intermittent)

    Streaming of the first 10 weeks of bottom cluster IR imagery from the Beta Hive using YouTube Creator Studio BETA, with a Raspberry Pi controller and an IR Camera has concluded.  You may view all of the raw and edited production media and new media at

    the: StephensApiary YouTube Streamer Channel

    August 31- September 1 2018

    Recently rescued duck box#23 from Wood Duck Slough in the Cosumnes River Preserve .The duck box was hosting a colony of honeybees.

    Total weight of the Duck box was 44.7 pounds (20,275 grams) on date of extraction. 

    The Hivelogger MER2 test platform will host an empty hive with and the Duck Box @ and will be measuring precise weight-change of the Duck Box Honeybee Colony and Hive equipment. 

    DuckBox Weight data viewable at:

    Additionally, here are a few brief YouTube clips from this Hive:

    And - A shot glass of wax larvae!  

    A very strange behavior of wax moth suggests that maybe they produce a pheromone of their own that attracts each other? 

    Below is a sample DAILY climate report showing  real-time climate data including entry climate and comb temperatures from a beehive (Apiary in Sacramento, CA.)



    Below is a sample WEEKLY report showing  real-time climate data including entry climate and comb temperatures from a beehive (Apiary in Sacramento, CA.)


         Temperature sensors (Blue and Orange above) are sensors that exists inside of the central honey combs near the brood chamber inside each hive, and their temperatures are key life-sign and behavior indicators for the colony  Actively monitoring the colony brood chamber temperature will detect problems with the queen, or lack of a queen. 

    Honeybee Behavior / Temperature Relationships

     Temp ° F  Temp ° C  Honeybee Behavior
     100° F    Ambient Air: Colony uses water for air conditioning
     In Comb Temp: honeybee brood rearing stops - wax hive structure at risk to deformation and failure under continuous exposure. 
     91-97° F    Bees can secrete wax and build/repair comb
     93-94° F    ideal brood nest temperature for eggs and young bees 
     90° F    32.2° C  
     85° F    Broodless Winter Cluster
     70° F   21.1° C  
     68° F    Queen will not fly
     61° F    Drones will not fly
     57° F    Cluster forms
     50° F  10° C  brood rearing stops, workers will not fly
     42° F    bee muscles are not warm enough to move
     40° F    solo bees, bees separated from cluster die
     30° F  -1.1° C  
     -40° F   -40° C  Bee cluster dies
    (The Beekeepers Handbook Sammataro 1997)

        Weight change is monitored precisely in a constant (24/7) fashion that report trends in colony & equipment mass.  Honey is heavy stuff, and when flora is in blossom and bees are foraging for resources, a scale will measure the change in weight as bees bring resources to the hive. This is often called the Honey Bee Nectar Flow (HBNF). Weights change dramatically as the bees capitalize on available resources throughout the year and store nectar and make honey in the combs. Annually a hive gains weight as new resources become available in Spring.  Generally, a reduction of resources (dearth) often from climate occur in the Summer-Fall and will effect the resources available for the bees to forage. During the Winter, the hive will loose weight as bees consume honey stores.  The hive can also retain or evaporate weight daily due to moisture.  It is often that a bird or other animal will have incidental contact with the hive which can cause short-term changes in total mass. Weight change data helps a beekeeper know when to harvest and when to feed, and it also is an indicator of daily and long term colony behavior and performance.  

    Below is a WEEKLY Bulk Mass sample report in real-time for a beehive 
    (Apiary in Sacramento, CA.)


         Digital surveillance systems include (IR) infrared light cameras that monitor cluster density and activity, apiary perimeter, and entrance activities.  The entrance cameras have motion systems that detect flight operations start/stop times, and cameras combined with optical zoom can provide a detailed single bee view of a pollen load or extended abdomen.


    Entrance Image from HD Optical Zoom Cam from a hive in San Jose, CA. 



        Various audio microphones and acoustic transducers provide signals data from the combs and air-spaces within the hive. 

    Recent Publications

     Title Reference Link
     Solution for automated bee colony weight monitoring PDF Document   AgronomyResearchVol15nr2_2017
     Colony Signaling from June 2012 Article WAV Audio File -  The Journal Bee Culture June 2012
     Are Honeybees Musicians? PDF Document  The Journal Bee Culture June_2012
     HiveSmack Audio File for May2011 Article WAV Audio File -  The Journal Bee Culture May2011
     A method for observing the vibroacoustic and seismic activity in a beehive PDF Document  The Journal Bee Culture May2011

        These sensor/services combined with local micro-controllers store data locally. The data is also transmitted to the internet using local area networking (LAN) infrastructure. The internet based servers (Hivelogger Cloud) performs cognitive analytics on all of the data. Those resources also produce real-time 24/7 monitoring, data-trending, reporting, and escalation analysis available to any browser or Smartphone.  I can literally watch and listen to the bees from my phone while I travel.

    The key benefits of this technology include:

    • Improve the knowledge-base in ecological survey and honeybee behavior
    • Provide knowledge of the timing of the forage/blossom HBNF – Honey Bee Nectar Flow - critical to beekeepers whom wish to maximize their pollination efficiency and/or honey production potential.
    • Support honey production forecasting and honey tampering investigations (HFCS fraud deterrent)
    • Characterize and evaluate Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
    • Monitor related climate and environmental components – Industrial Ag Operations (Environmental-canary in the coal-mine)
    • Provide commercial operations with valuable Best Management Practice (BMP) tools
    • Management and production tools to support  - QA/QC & quarantine,  Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) – Actionable regulatory oversight
    • Support for Sustainable Collaborative Programs for Education & Community
    • Catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship – Integration of STEM & IoT into the community.
    • Sponsor Private/Public Partnerships – Leverage + share Internet integrated infrastructure including wireless in rural communities


        If you find this technology interesting, are interested in similar deployments and applications, wish to donate or collaborate, or are conducting your own research, please contact me using the link above.


    Thank you for visiting.

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