Beekeeping is one of the oldest human endeavours, dating back thousands of years. It is quite a simple proposition between humans and bees; humans provide a space that mimics the hollow of a tree, we call it a beehive. It must have a volume of about 40 litres, and other stuff such as an entrance that is not too big or too small, well insulated etc. If the bees are happy with the hive, they stay. If they are not happy, they swarm.
As with every area of our lives and industry, hi-tech is moving in, supposedly making our lives easier. Beekeeping is no exception. Recently, I came across some hi-tech gadgets and processes that are said to help with beekeeping. While trying to keep an open mind about these hi-tech beekeeping gadgets, here are some of the beekeeping gadgets i came across so far:
1. The Beehome
The Beehomes is a solar powered device created by Israeli technology company, Beewise. The Beehomes can house 24 hives and it contains a robot within which takes care of the bees in real time.
Beehomes use A.I to identify and automatically prevent the event of swarms by the colony by adjusting conditions. The climate and humidity control optimise the climate and control the elements within the hive so that the beekeeper needs not to worry about the hive being too cold or too hot. Beehomes autonomously and automatically handle issues associated with the general condition of the colonies and they alert the beekeeper to intervene when problems arise.
2. Bee Hive Monitoring System
ApisProtect Bee Hive Monitoring System helps beekeepers keep an eye on the colonies with the use of sensor technology. This device gives beekeepers an opportunity to check on their hives anywhere and anytime, and most importantly manage their precious time and resources. When the hive needs attention, the Bee Hive Monitoring System can send an alert to the beekeeper to intervene. This device also helps to evaluate the condition of each colony as well as identify the weak colonies for beekeeper’s intervention.
3. Hive Weight Scales
This particular beehive scales reports the weight of the hive every 6 hours as well as the temperature under the hives on the site the hive is located. The Hive Weight System supports 300kg maximum weight and a weight above 1000kg can cause damage. The collection and reporting of data by this device requires a satellite hub per site, though scales can operate as stand-alone scales by telling you the hive weight at a push of a button. This device is designed to be placed and fit underneath stand-alone hives or into some certain pallet systems.
4. Artificial Flowers
Created by Dutch designer Matilde Boelhouwer is this Bee-Sustaining Artificial Flowers which are designed to address the urban sustainability issues by saving the bees within the perimeter of the metropolitan city. The “big five of pollination – bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies, and moths” are attracted by the five different kinds of these artificial flowers. The creative’s artificial flowers, dubbed “Food for Buzz” have the ability to turn rain into sugar. Made with screen-printed polyester, the flower is a cluster of laser-cut petals and a small 3D-printed container that collects the water.
5. Honey Refractometer
One of the cool and very useful beekeeping gadgets is the Honey Refractometer. It measures honey’s moisture content by measuring the degree that the light passing through honey is bent. This process is called refraction. The concentration of honey can be determined by this process and it is important to have the proper moisture in honey, the one below 18%. Because if honey whose moisture content is above 18% is harvested, it will ferment. So using the honey refractometer is important to determine the moisture content of honey and to ensure it is below 18%.
6. Thermal Camera
This is a very useful beekeeping gadget for beekeepers that live in cold climates. Inspecting your hive is very important to keep tabs on what is going on in there. However, you really don’t want to open up the hive much during the winter as this will let out the warmth in the hive. This is where a thermal camera comes in handy. Monitoring where the colony is, no matter its size, is quite easy with the thermal camera. A beekeeper also gets to know when rodents have entered the hive, and depending on the size and location of the winter cluster, the beekeeper can determine whether the colony has run out of food. You can see if any rodents have entered the hive with the help of a thermal camera. They also detect heats and help the beekeeper determine exactly where the cluster is by taking photos of the hives from various angles.
7. Robotic Bee Attractors
This innovative robotic flower was developed by an Australian artist, Michael Candy. The flower is designed to attract real bees. The activation and control of this amazing innovation is done with an array of actuators and servos which attach nectar and pollen to the attracted bee. This invention is an amazing development in the field of biomimicry and a manifestation of ways technology has integrated with the natural world, even though the invention may look to some folk as impractical. The importance of bees in the ecosystem can not be overemphasised and it is the significance of these amazing creatures that inspired Michael Candy to create this robotic flower. The robotic flower is designed to allow for the reproduction of natural flora and to also ensure that honeybees remain an integral part of the ecosystem.
8. Solitary Bee Shelter
Solitary Bee-Accommodating Objects is another ecological initiative to address the ecological crises. It is conceptualized to help bees in urban environments. Designed by a Mexican-based creative studio, MaliArts, the solitary bee home would provide food, shelter and water to bees that found themselves in cities. The role of water is self-explanatory while the shelter would perform a dual function of nesting and resting. Altogether, forming a safe haven for the bees and ultimately curb the alarming decline in the population of these honey-producing insects.
9. Bee-Keeping Box
Designed by an Italian company is this cute bee-keeping box which is an absolute innovative compare to traditional hive. Beeing’s B-Box is designed to monitor the bees’ health and environment. The B-Box is simple and has a harvesting system which allows the beekeeper to separate the environment where the bees live from where they deposit honey. Also, the process of extracting honey does not require wearing protective clothing and the box is small enough to keep on the balcony.
10. Bee Survival Aid Devices
This ecological initiative was created by Shau Design and the creation was inspired by the serious concern for the decline in the bee population. Titled ‘Bee Hospital’, the Bee Survival Aid Devices is a set of smart devices which include a mite guard dispenser, a supplement center, as well as a bee-detecting device. The Bee Hospital provides the necessary nutrients for the survival of the bee in urban environments, the supplement center offers nutritious treatment that ensures the adaptation of the bees to urban environments. While the mite guard helps the bees to kill mites.