Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:40 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:54 pm

Was discussing with a few chums on using the Pi as a remote monitoring device collecting data from within a beehive and then feeding it back over a GSM link to a waiting server.

We would endeavour to collect information on temperature and humidity as well as specific audio frequencies (to tell in advance when the colony might swarm).  Might also set up a pair of sensors at the entrance to measure the number of bees entering and leaving the hive throughout the day.  It would possibly be powered by a solar panel (also controlled by the Pi?)

Are there any other beekeeping Pi'ers out there?

Simon Cavill

Fleet Beekeepers

Hampshire, UK

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:04 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:21 pm


In another part of the world , (USA) but would be glad to work with you on this application. Have always been interested in bees and like to work with you on getting this buzzing along.

It should be possible to power the unit with a solar cell or batteries as desired, and the unit could be set up to auto shut down and start at specific hours, i.e. night and day, or specific times/days you wish to collect data. Rest of time shut down completely or put into low power sleep mode. There are a number of sensors already available that could be connected via the USB port, and a USB hub, to detect arrival/departure of the bees, and the weather data you desire. A mic could collect your sound data for detecting the activity in the hive, and local processor powerful enough to decode sound patterns. A water tight case should be easy to improvise. Data could be stored on a USB flash drive for easy retrieval and re-use. You then can do your data analysis on a more capable computer.

For name you could call the entire unit the Queen MUM, for Miniature Unstructured data Monitor. Sorry I know bad pun, but could not resist.

Let me know what help you need.


User avatar
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:40 pm
Location: C/S CO USA

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:32 pm

Not a beekeeper, but I love the idea.  Sounds workable.

Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:48 pm

Also not a bee keeper, but went on a bee keeping course and drafted plans for a Top Bar hive in CAD.

Free to download if anyone fancies building one.

Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:04 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:50 pm

That would be interesting.  In particular up where I am (Canada) people would like temperature and humidity readings during the winter, since either cold or humidity in the hive can cause the colony to die during the winter.  Not sure if the Pi can run for extended periods of time at -30C!

Anyhow, yes.  Keep me in the loop - I would be interested in doing stuff in this area.  I should find out if the Ontario Bee Association or Guelph University have done any remote sensing research like this.

Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:50 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:49 am

Found this whilst hunting for some other information.

Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:05 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:44 am

Since you don't need 1080p video out there at the hive (unless you wish to entertain the bees in the evening), an Arduino would have more I/O pins, including some that are analog and connect to an A/D (missing on the R.PI), some that are ready to go outputting PWM, and draw less current for a similar price. And will have plenty more than enough processing power.

But keep me in the loop. I have some historical connections to some beekeepers and I might be able to help out a little.

Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:34 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:15 pm

with regards to the temorature issue couldn"t you site the device in the bee hive so they keep it warm?

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:06 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:13 pm

I'm a beekeeper in England and have been thinking along these lines for some time. My focus was on collecting information about the weight of the hive in addition to the sort of data people have already mentioned. It seems surprisingly difficult to make a strain gage the way you'd want it to so I'd welcome any input from others.
While it would be posssible to keep a Pi warm by putting it in the hive with the bees, they would likely cover it with propolis.

User avatar
Posts: 1095
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:41 am
Location: Howlin Eigg

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:59 pm

aha.. There has been some talk of such a project at biobees dot com, it keeps going quiet though.
I did express some interest inn helping out but it was all a bit chaotic, the only way forward for anyone except admin would have been to go it alone.
One thing that first struck me was that the RPi is vastly over powered for this application, putting excessive requirements on any power supply.
Given that a PIC microcontroller can interface just about any sensor and it should be possible to "hack" mass storage onto it then that would be a far more suitable solution.

I am a would be bee keeper if only I could attract a swarm (on on the cards the last 2 years, heres hoping)

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:37 pm

I am a new beekeeper.

Any progress on this idea/project?

Counting bees entering-leaving

I have Raspberry PI ready for this. Overkill but...


Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:04 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:25 pm

I just enrolled in a beekeeping course in Germany. And I recently got a raspberry Pi, now I'm looking for a project... And this is an awesome one! ;-)
I will start beekeeping next year, but nevertheless I would like to contribute with some PHP / javascript programming for data visualization for example.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:15 am

I have started with my own bee hive monitoring project. I have the HW and I am starting to learn Python. My first goal is to do the temperature monitoring. I will be using the DS18B20 1-wire temperature sensor, probably the waterproof, encapsulated one. I have an Edimax Wi-Fi adaptor to get the data onto the Internet since my hives are relatively close to my router. If that doesn't work I'll have to figure out how to get the data onto the phone network. I want a temperature vs time type graph function.

As of now I don't know how to make a hive scale. I have seen several strategies. One is to use a bathroom scale's strain gauge to make a hive scales. Another is to use an industrial scale with an RS232 output. Not really sure.

I want to also count bees coming into the hive. I have an idea of using a hive entrance where the bees have to go through one of many "holes", each 1 bee wide. At each hole I can have a sensor that detects whether or not there is a bee in a given hole.

As far as audio I eventually want a microphone for the hive so I can analyze different volume and sound characteristics.

Anyone making progress in these areas?


Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:03 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:05 pm


Did you ever get your project off the ground ? I've just decided I need to do something with my Pi and I'm also an established beekeeper.

Any detail on what you have achieved would be useful.

User avatar
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 5212
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:51 pm

I've actually been talking to a beekeeper in Montana about a guest post for the blog (he's working on a Pi-based product that screens bees for illness or other problems); I hope he'll come back to me soon. It's really interesting to see how many bee enthusiasts there are here!
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

User avatar
Posts: 6453
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:34 pm
Location: Berkshire UK Tralfamadore
Contact: Website

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:25 pm

liz wrote:... screens bees for illness or other problems); ...
I've been feeling rather low, Doctor Freud
Bees3.gif (6.14 KiB) Viewed 10163 times

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:40 pm


I'd be willing to coordinate and blog the efforts if some of you folks want to help make this a reality?

Must haves for me:
- Logging to SD as I'm far from an internet signal (and too cheap to pay for cell)
- Weight of the hive
- Inside hive temp
- Outside temp
- Humidity inside hive
- Humidity outside
- Alternate power (battery, solar, etc)

Nice to have
- Web reporting on another device, maybe a pi (lamp stack?)
- Connections for multiple hives in the same apiarie
- MAYBE some image capturing on the entrance (low priority and LOW cost)

What do you guys think?

Let's get some hard detailed requirments put together?!

Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:17 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri May 17, 2013 10:01 am

I'm also interested in something about beekeeping and R.Pi. I've got R.Pi and bees.
A standalone R.Pi wouldn't be enough for many hives. The ideal wuold be combine "rasp" with arduino.
I am spanish and nowadays hives are stolen.
Every monitor system should must to come together with IR sensors and alarm by SMS, email, etc
Connectivity and energy supply. (Difficult but not impossible.Money talks :D )
I'd be working about that, but no time :(

Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri May 17, 2013 3:56 pm

I'm not a beekeeper, but I have done a lot of work monitoring bumblebee colonies, wasp and hornet nests and pollinator-flower interactions using portable field based equipment which is based on the the Raspberry pi. At the moment I am working with a tream of people from Kew Gardens out in the Chilterns and we are using Raspberry pi's running off lead acid accumulators and/or solar panels to log visits of solitary bees like Osmia bicolor to Pasque-Flower, which is an endangered plant which grows on steep slopes in the Chilterns. Here is some output from the system:

Its logging activity around a nesting aggregation of Osmia rufra in my back yard ... and here is the system watching worker ants come and go in Fuerteventura:

The system is a Raspberry Pi model B running my own bespoke motion detection software. It has a 32Gb SD card, an autofocus USB camera and it talks to base stations via (ad hoc) WLAN or directly to the Internet via a mobile phone dongle. You can see more output from the system (bumblebees) on:

The system is completely stand-alone and can run unattended in the field for weeks at a time.

Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:15 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri May 17, 2013 5:18 pm

There was an article about hive monitoring in the April 2013 edition of the BBKA News. It was by Huw Evans who is the Managing Director of Arnia, a company that sells a small hive monitoring unit. They seem to work in collaboration with universities and the Scottish and British Beekeepers Associations. Look here:
No Microsoft products were used in the creation of this message

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:34 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Sun May 19, 2013 1:45 pm

Am interested in the Arnia system, awaiting details'
Haven't been able to locate any feedback from users, though.

Anyone know if it's Pi based?

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 31, 2013 10:32 am

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri May 31, 2013 10:35 am

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:33 am
Contact: Website

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:48 am


You may want to check out

We have been running a Pi based hive monitor since October 2012 and have free open source software available. We are working on an optical bee counter using openCV. The system consists of an Adam Equipment scale, Pi, humidity and temperature sensors both in and out of the hive, microphone and camera.

We welcome any programmers, beekeepers, engineers, citizen scientists, researches to join our effort to install hive monitors around the world.

Also please see " ... ents/intro doc for website.pdf" for information on a grant from the South Carolina Beekeepers Association. The ten Pi systems we are installing across the state of South Carolina this summer will be the first state wide, online, realtime hive monitoring system.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:21 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:42 pm

Hivetool looks great, but the scales are a little pricey for my blood right now - especially with multiple hives. Have to keep an eye on eBay.

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:17 pm

Re: Any beekeepers out there?

Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:31 pm

I'm a beekeeper and a recent Pi owner too - I have an Arnia system and am intersested in making my own version as the Arnia system seems to have been held back a bit in development recently. I wondered if anybody has been able to get a RPi setup to dial home and upload hive data please?
Skeppers :)

Return to “Other projects”