Our smart bee lab allows us to study the life of honey bees in great detail using precise long-term measurements and artificial intelligence. Events around and inside the hives are recorded by two cameras. One is at the front, and the other watches what is happening inside at the bottom of one of the hives, in a place that beekeepers call the ‘bottom board’. Shredded pieces of wax fall there, and also mites which cause varroosis - a disease that can wipe out entire bee hives. Artificial intelligence identifies the mites and can determine their daily fall. This monitoring can detect infection among the bees.
A microphone records the frequency of the bees’ humming, which varies, for example, depending on whether they are preparing to swarm, are hungry, have lost their queen, or other conditions which the computer system can evaluate. Strain gauges continuously weigh the hives, and tell us if the bees are carrying nectar or whether they have swarmed. We also measure the outdoor temperature, and the temperature inside the clusters which the bees form on cold winter days in the hive. According to the temperature, we can deduce what is happening in the hive, for example whether the bees are productive.
The data we collect, with help from the IoT Laboratory at the Centre for Informatization and Computer Science at UWB, will allow Bachelor and Master students to work on the application of smart technologies in the field of honey bee monitoring.
There is not just this one, closely monitored beehive in Pilsen. Softech has also installed beehives at several sites in the Pilsen Region and in Prague.
DID YOU KNOW... ?
Honey bees have a range of up to 5 km, so hives from our Faculty could collect nectar and pollinate flowers as far away as the Bory dam.