Hive monitors

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Cral 

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Hi all,

I'm looking to choose a hive monitoring system. There are quite a few out there, some with weight only, and some with sensors inside.

Of course, when reading on the webpages of the different suppliers, everyone seems to have the best system.

But nothing is better than user experience, so; Are there anyone here who is currently using a system like
Arnia
Beehivemonitoring
IO Bee

Or any other system?

I do not need a giant system, I have remote apiaries that I would like to monitor. One with 3 hives, and the other with 4 hives.
They are a few hours drive from home, and it is a corporate customer. Oh and no; We will still be visiting the apiary each week, but, I would sleep better if I knew that I had some sort of monitoring of the cubes.
 

Cral 

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I don't argue with that. But I can't be in the apiary 24/7 and would like an electronic helper when I'm not there. It is also an added value for the customer to be able to "see" the weight increase as the bees work.
 

Apple 

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Arnia monitors are being used Plymouth group POLINIZE who have native bees on a number of corporate sites rooftops etc.
Not cheap... need G4 signal and mains power suppy

Could try "googleing" them
 

ericbeaumont 

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We will still be visiting the apiary each week, but, I would sleep better if I knew
If your client's colonies increase in weight during Spring and decrease in a June dearth, you'll have to take time to explain; time spent with clients is elastic and they may not be aware that you'll charge for monitoring and explaining (you will, won't you?).

Why does your client want to keep bees? To tick the environmental box or to make surplus honey? If the former, they ought not to be concerned about honey unless they want to sell it to make a return on investment of kit or contract.

Simple solution: quote an average yield - say, 50lb/colony - add the caveat that no season is the same and nothing is guaranteed, and leave it at that.

If these were mine, I would question the viability of weekly checks of 7 colonies at two sites a few hours drive from base. Why not clip the Q and visit every 14 days? You won't lose swarms provided that at each visit you shake frames and leave no QCs.

If you set aside the (your?) need to report yield to the client regularly, what will keep you awake? Perhaps swarming, starvation, storm damage, and theft.

The first three can be monitored during fortnightly visits and the last two by securing the hives with strap or block, and by choosing a hidden and secure location.
 

Cral 

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Arnia monitors are being used Plymouth group POLINIZE who have native bees on a number of corporate sites rooftops etc.
Not cheap... need G4 signal and mains power suppy
Thanks. I think the "new" Arnia monitors don't need mains any more, and work well with battery. They can be charges with a USB powerbank, I'm just not sure how long the bank have to be connected to charge them. I would have preferred to be able to swap battery packs.

If your client's colonies increase in weight during Spring and decrease in a June dearth, you'll have to take time to explain; time spent with clients is elastic and they may not be aware that you'll charge for monitoring and explaining (you will, won't you?).

Why does your client want to keep bees? To tick the environmental box or to make surplus honey? If the former, they ought not to be concerned about honey unless they want to sell it to make a return on investment of kit or contract.

Simple solution: quote an average yield - say, 50lb/colony - add the caveat that no season is the same and nothing is guaranteed, and leave it at that.

If these were mine, I would question the viability of weekly checks of 7 colonies at two sites a few hours drive from base. Why not clip the Q and visit every 14 days? You won't lose swarms provided that at each visit you shake frames and leave no QCs.

If you set aside the (your?) need to report yield to the client regularly, what will keep you awake? Perhaps swarming, starvation, storm damage, and theft.

The first three can be monitored during fortnightly visits and the last two by securing the hives with strap or block, and by choosing a hidden and secure location.
The first site of the customer is quite closer to my location, (15 min) it is the 2nd location that is a little cardrive. We have said the yield would be somewhat similar to the first site, which we started last year, but that we can't be sure as it isn't an area via have operated in before. But at the end of the year, the 4 cubes they rented last year, gave me a quite a bit higher revenue than the 10 cubes I have in my apiary at home, where I sold all the honey at local rekorings and local marketplaces. (around £10 per 1lb) And if the customer then ask if we can monitor the cubes, I say yes, and starts looking for a way to monitor the cubes they rent....

It may help if @Cral updated their profile to show where they are located for people to better understand :)
@jenkinsbrynmair - Cral is amused that the country flag from the registration didn't show up, as it would show where he was located for people to better understand. ;) ;)


~Cral
 

Cral 

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Cral,
These are an alternative: hive scale monitor at £159 (compared to £198 for the Arnia scales) a Hive Heart at £55 (Arnia £60) and a GSM Gateway box at £129 (Arnia £120) that sends multi-hive info. to the cloud.

Another idea they may like: camera on the hive entrance.
Thanks, are they reselling from beehivemonitoring? Just seems like the gear are the same?
 

B+. 

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Hi all,

I'm looking to choose a hive monitoring system. There are quite a few out there, some with weight only, and some with sensors inside.

Of course, when reading on the webpages of the different suppliers, everyone seems to have the best system.

But nothing is better than user experience, so; Are there anyone here who is currently using a system like
Arnia
Beehivemonitoring
IO Bee

Or any other system?

I do not need a giant system, I have remote apiaries that I would like to monitor. One with 3 hives, and the other with 4 hives.
They are a few hours drive from home, and it is a corporate customer. Oh and no; We will still be visiting the apiary each week, but, I would sleep better if I knew that I had some sort of monitoring of the cubes.
Do you really need a remote monitoring system? Invariably, these systems depend on good mobile phone coverage, which may not always be available in out-apiaries, and require a certain amount of capital investment. If you still intend to visit regularly. perhaps, a more low-tech solution would suit (e.g.
). This is especially important when you are talking about relatively few hives.
When I looked at what data I wanted to gather, I wasn't happy with in-hive devices and I boiled it all down to weight. Everything else, I wanted to measure personally (behaviour, aggression. signs of swarming, hygiene, etc). Give it some thought.
 

Paulmac 

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It really annoys me when bee keepers come out with the do you really need it quote. Well let me tell you some of us are interested in the science where and why’s and we don’t want to just steal there honey we have an interest in the bees
 

drex 

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Perhaps B+ is talking from experience. When my mentees tell me they are going to get a certain piece of kit, I might simply say in reply that I bought one ten years ago and not used it for eight. They can make up their own minds.
Think you are not aware of B+ background
 

B+. 

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Perhaps B+ is talking from experience. When my mentees tell me they are going to get a certain piece of kit, I might simply say in reply that I bought one ten years ago and not used it for eight. They can make up their own minds.
Think you are not aware of B+ background
Yes. The simplest solution is usually the best.
I looked at all these systems and wasn't happy with the accuracy/reliability of any of them. I decided the best solution for me was to simply take a hive scale with me when I wanted to weigh the hives.
My intention was simply to recommend that the OP looks critically at what information they really need. It's very easy to spend large sums on "toys" that don't really deliver value.
Ultimately, it's only advice. The OP can take it or not. It's his choice.
 
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madasafish 

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When the price of a full monitoring setup for ONE hive is greater than the cost of a replacement nuc if it all goes wrong ...
I rely on regualer weighing and hefting.

But then I am a mean Scot...
 

ericbeaumont 

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I can't be in the apiary 24/7
I would sleep better if I knew
We've all been in the same boat - worrying what bees might be up to - but to seek reassurance that all is well all the time suggests an unsettling desire to eradicate risk.

Lack of experience or confidence may create a desire for certainty but the outcome will leave the beekeeper ill-equipped to assess future risk. Error resulting from ill-judged risk leads to experience; it's essential to embrace error.

In Cral's case, if apiary checks are made weekly what drives the need to know more? So far, his sole interest is in six days of nectar income and I can't see the value of that info. if stores on board were sufficient for seven days. Cheaper to let the client know that blackberry is in flower and a main nectar flow is on.

Does a beekeeper really need this extra kit? No. Does a beekeeper want it? Yes. Big difference.
 

polymath 

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This is an analysis i did in 2018 that was published in BeeCraft. The first issue to consider is how you can/want to get the data i.e. Wifi, bluetooth to your app, GPS, Satellite. This in itself limits the platform you can use. This also is affected by how often you want the data, and where your hives are. I use to have two Arnia systems, gave up as they proved unreliable. however the new tech i assume is better. is it useful, well i had three apiaries and yes it was useful to see when hives needed supering, when they went queenless etc. I also liked it in winter to give an indication of how stores were fairing.
 

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B+. 

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Some people like to fiddle with their bees - at least with this, it means they can do it without actually interfering with them
While this is true in some cases, I think the OP has a genuine interest in the data. It would be interesting to know more about his plans. Does he need continuous data or is it enough to sample the weight at regular intervals (e.g. relating to particular nectar flows). What does he intend to show with the data?
 

derekm 

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Hmm I wonder what people are getting out of hive monitoring, A single temperature and humidty monitor tells you very very little about the sophisticated energy management of honey bees and what you do get can be very misleading. The humidity monitor may only be telling you about property of Honey buffering the humidity not about the bees. The temperature monitor may tell you the bees are alive or just that sun is shining on the hive.
 

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