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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short, I received an apicultural grant and need to spend some money this Spring.

I have toyed with the idea of buying a hive monitoring set-up as another tool to have to monitor flow starts, etc.

At this point, is Broodminder the gold standard for this type of equipment or are there other options that I should consider?

Thank you all for your input.

Russ
 

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Brood minder is the cost effective hobby solution. Arnia out of Britain would be the gold standard at a much higher price point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Arnia out of Britain would be the gold standard at a much higher price point.
Thank you, grozzie2. I appreciate your feedback. I contacted Arnia for pricing to the US and have not heard back yet.

Thanks again for your reply.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How much free time do you have?

If you have a lot this is interesting:
https://makezine.com/projects/bees-sensors-monitor-hive-health/

This is very loosely what my homemade system is built around with a lot of additions and changes.
elmer_fud:

While I don't have that much free time, that was an excellent article and I am impressed with anyone (like yourself) who can successfully pull a project like that off.

I expect you found a way around the early temperature/humidity sensing failure that the author experienced?

Thanks again for your input- have a great week.

Russ
 

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elmer_fud:

While I don't have that much free time, that was an excellent article and I am impressed with anyone (like yourself) who can successfully pull a project like that off.

I expect you found a way around the early temperature/humidity sensing failure that the author experienced?

Thanks again for your input- have a great week.

Russ
I am using a stainless steel temperature sensor probe, so it has held up ok. I think the humidity in the middle of a frame is affecting the temperature sensor I embedded in a in a frame. The temperature sensor on the top of the hive (in the quilt box) is still working right. I think if I sealed the temperature sensor better it would not have had problems, but live and learn.

I have a humidity sensor in the bottom of a quilt box about a 1/4" above the screen. The bees have not covered the screen in propolis (yet) so the humidity sensor still sees the conditions inside the hive without the bees being able to damage it.

I am an engineer and have some interest in automation/robotics/ect. I have taken several classes in collage in this field. It did take me a while to get everything working, but it has been interesting. Maybe one of these days I will get data loggers on my other hives (I only have 1 right now) but I have a lot of projects in the works right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am an engineer and have some interest in automation/robotics/ect. I have taken several classes in collage in this field. It did take me a while to get everything working, but it has been interesting.
Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it. My 'day job' is also as an engineer, so I can identify with the inherent drive to experiment and build something from the ground up.

Do you tend to use the data you are collecting as a tool to help you make management decisions by or more to simply satisfy your curiosity?
 

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Thanks for your input. I really appreciate it. My 'day job' is also as an engineer, so I can identify with the inherent drive to experiment and build something from the ground up.

Do you tend to use the data you are collecting as a tool to help you make management decisions by or more to simply satisfy your curiosity?
I used the humidity sensor data to confirm that changing to a quilt box helped. I was also having a lot of mold issues, and both the humidity sensor and the change in the mold (none with the quilt box) told me I was on the right track.

For the most part the data is more to satisfy my curiosity thought. The data will not tell me when I have mite problems (until it is to late), that I am queenless, or how the brood pattern/laying looks. It is nice in the winter as a check to see that the hive is still alive, but there are other methods that can also do this. I have also looked at how much the bees consumed over winter (30ish lb one year, 60ish one year), but it is not a big enough data set to determine much (and it drastically different year to year)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For the most part the data is more to satisfy my curiosity thought. The data will not tell me when I have mite problems (until it is to late), that I am queenless, or how the brood pattern/laying looks. It is nice in the winter as a check to see that the hive is still alive, but there are other methods that can also do this. I have also looked at how much the bees consumed over winter (30ish lb one year, 60ish one year), but it is not a big enough data set to determine much (and it drastically different year to year)
Thank you for your feedback. Good information. Ultimately, I expect this would be my goal of utilizing such data- to develop trend data to compare year-over-year to possibly anticipate trends.

Thank you again- I appreciate it!

Russ
 

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Thank you for your feedback. Good information. Ultimately, I expect this would be my goal of utilizing such data- to develop trend data to compare year-over-year to possibly anticipate trends.
This was my original plan too. Besides keeping the hive on a scale, we kept close track of bloom dates.



In the end, with 5 years worth of data, what we realized is, the bloom dates tell us more than anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This was my original plan too. Besides keeping the hive on a scale, we kept close track of bloom dates.



In the end, with 5 years worth of data, what we realized is, the bloom dates tell us more than anything else.
Good feedback, grozzie2- makes sense. I do make a point to try to keep detailed phenologial data but thought having weight information (in particular) might help dial-in flow information. There is a lot to this beekeeping stuff...
 

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Good feedback, grozzie2- makes sense. I do make a point to try to keep detailed phenologial data but thought having weight information (in particular) might help dial-in flow information. There is a lot to this beekeeping stuff...
The most important thing we learned from correlating blooms and scale data, old timers are for the most part incorrect as to which blooms provide the most for the bees. For years here on the island folks have been going on about the blackberries. In those graphs, the big run up happens during the thimble berry bloom, which co-incides with raspberries, runs the 2 or 3 weeks prior to blackberries. Our hives typically reach peak weight in around the start of the blackberry bloom.

It took both sources of data over multiple years to first notice, then confirm this trend.
 

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The most important thing we learned from correlating blooms and scale data, old timers are for the most part incorrect as to which blooms provide the most for the bees. For years here on the island folks have been going on about the blackberries. In those graphs, the big run up happens during the thimble berry bloom, which co-incides with raspberries, runs the 2 or 3 weeks prior to blackberries. Our hives typically reach peak weight in around the start of the blackberry bloom.
It took both sources of data over multiple years to first notice, then confirm this trend.[/QUOTE


That is a very interesting observation. I wonder if it varies in different parts of the island. Down around Victoria I Am guessing there are more blackberries than thimbleberries but I will have to go for a walk around my neighborhood and look for thimbleberry bushes. Thanks for this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The most important thing we learned from correlating blooms and scale data, old timers are for the most part incorrect as to which blooms provide the most for the bees.
grozzie2:

Thank you for this input- I apologize for my delay in reply as I have been away from the computer.

While it is speculative on my part, I expect similar trends might emerge here in my locale, even when comparing bloom dates to hive gain year-to-year.

I am glad to read that you were able to discern actionable data from recording / reviewing these data, and your and elmer_fud's input gives me some good feedback to consider when determining both the what and the how to implement in my yard.

Thank you again for your feedback. I appreciate it!

Russ
 

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That is a very interesting observation. I wonder if it varies in different parts of the island. Down around Victoria I Am guessing there are more blackberries than thimbleberries but I will have to go for a walk around my neighborhood and look for thimbleberry bushes. Thanks for this.
There are 3 things that affect the blackberry flow.

- Weather
- Water supply
- Strain of the plant

My understanding there are 3 strains of blackberry on the island, and the one that is predominant in our neighborhood is not a huge nectar producer. Our bees tend to agree. We have one plant on the east fence that is a different strain, they bloom about 3 weeks later than the rest. When that one is blooming, it's like a swarm, bees are all over it.

We normally keep one colony in a friends yard in town each summer. It usually does quite well thru blackberry bloom. Is that because other things are blooming ? I dunno, what we do know, lots of sprinklers running in town, no shortage of water for everything.
 
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