Enhance the Beehive

Creating a Digital Twin of the Beehive

The virtual hive as part of the data-infrastructure

Created on: 14/02/2023

The Future of Beekeeping with Sensor Technology and Digital Twinning

A beekeeper usually has several bee colonies, which can also be in different locations. The colonies develop at different rates depending on the weather and food sources. If a colony becomes too large, the beekeeper must react and provide them with a new home. If the number of bees in the colony decreases, he must also act. Often the Varroa mite is responsible for a shrinking of the colony. To prevent the spread of the mite, a quick reaction with appropriate measures is necessary.

The aim of the project is to help the beekeeper monitor the health and size of the colony. For this purpose, the hive is equipped with sensors (temperature, humidity, weight, camera,…) and a digital twin of the hive is created.

Learn more details about the Digital Twin of the beehive

In the Beehyve project, a beehive is equipped with sensors and an industrial controller. These enable the status of the hive and the bee colony to be recorded and the data to be made available in a cloud solution (Proficloud) or on a local edge PC connected to the controller (PLCnext Control).

To enable access to the data, a digital twin is created based on the global standard of the management shell. In addition to state information, this also provides information on the data provided. The submodels of the Industrial Digital Twin Association (IDTA) are used for this purpose. These describe the data provided by the asset (i.e. the hive) (Asset Interfaces Description) and the time series data (Time Series Data). This enables different tools to access and evaluate the data in a standardized way. Thus, a manufacturer-independent exchange is possible. Within the scope of the project, Mirasoft, for example, uses the data with the anyViz Cloud for a graphical visualization and the evaluation of the data. In addition, AI tools can access the data on the edge PC, the PLCnext Technology and the cloud via this standard in order to draw new insights from it. A local interface to the PLCnext Technology is provided by an OPC UA server, for example. To protect these different interfaces from unauthorized access, the project also addresses the issue of IT security.

The example of the digital twin for the beehive thus shows how problems that also occur in production can be solved. This concerns the manufacturer-independent information on machine interfaces that is required for the networking of plants and the IT security of the networked machines and plants.


Join the swarm Share your ideas, discuss with likeminded people, and submit your buzzing project.
Never miss a new article
Sign up for the newsletter
Never miss news about PLCnext Technology
Get interesting content via newsletter four times a year
Receive exclusive information before all other users