September Sunshine

We hope to place observation cameras on a hive to monitor flight patterns and general colony behaviour. The ‘Beehivemonitor’ system integrated with the Sophia hive at the 3 Counties apiary is linked to the mobile network which is clearly capable of streaming video. However, video is heavy on data and since we would like to have continuous live streaming from a hive, an alternative approach will be tested.

A second hive, colonised with a strong nucleus has been installed close to a residence in Rockbarton, Co Limerick. The hive is very close to a grove, water and grassland, and so hopefully will find favour with the bees. Proximity to a residence with ‘broadishband’ (Is there any other kind in rural Ireland?) offers the prospect of live streaming at reasonable cost.

But first some tests. An inexpensive wireless security camera was connected to the domestic wifi and then placed close to the hive entrance. Success – at least as far as wifi range is concerned (about 30 m from the router with a window in between) ! Video footage with audio was relayed over the wifi and onwards to the cloud. However, the quality was poor – I did say the camera was inexpensive! Frame rate would appear to be too low (possibly 30 frames per second or less) as the bees appeared to dart from point to point in the frame or disappear in mid flight. Sound was also very poor. Therefore, the hive appears to be within wifi range but a camera better suited to the task must be sourced. Perhaps we should sit down and specify the task: internal/external to the hive; bee proof; weatherproof;……

We have a bit to go!

As a ‘taster’ I shot some footage of the hive entrance on this sunny September evening (17 degrees Celsius) using a handheld video camera. Have a close look. Can you spot the sacks of pollen (food for the brood) being hauled into the hive! Grove nearby with lots of ivy! Try listing with headphones – you might find yourself ducking near the end of the video?

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