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Smart beehives – A visit at HoneyBee Online Studies

Alex@PLCnextTeam 09 March 2023 3 min. read
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Innovations to save the Bee  

In a tiny town called Aura in northern Bavaria, there is a top-notch measuring station, which is used for beehive research around the world. Established by the internationally renowned bee expert, ethologist and biologist Prof. Dr. Jürgen Tautz and Hartmut Vierle in 2009, the station set in the idyllic Rhön region, delivered live streams as well as an array of detailed data about many different aspects of life in and around the beehive. 

Under the name HOBOS Tautz and his team from the University of Würzburg planned, designed, built, and operated various smart beehives at different locations to learn more about the behavior of bee populations. Each one of their hives is equipped with several instruments to measure temperature, pheromone-level, humidity, and activity in- and outside of the hive.

For example, there are endoscopic cameras placed inside the honeycombs, which film the actions of the bees collecting and storing the feed. The HOBOS team even developed special microphones that are capable of recording the sounds made by bees much more clearly. Thus, they were able to listen into the “conversations between a queen bee and her heiress”. These highly sensitive microphones also measure the pheromone-level inside the hive, which gives insights into the communication among the bee colony.

Hartmut Vierle was an integral part of the HOBOS project from the beginning. He significantly contributed to planning and constructing the high-tech hives. And knows many of the unique challenges of protecting the highly sensitive measuring equipment from being covered in honey.

One of the many great aspects of the HOBOS project is the fact that it has always made all its recordings and measurements available to anyone. Scientific researchers, hobby beekeepers, school classes, and bee enthusiasts alike have accessed their information from anywhere in the world. Recently a team from PLCnext Technology visited the smart beehives by HOBOS to learn more about how modern automatization tools can contribute to saving the bees from extinction. We want to accompany the Beehyve project with as much expertise as possible. Perhaps that way our international campaign will discover groundbreaking inventions or ideas to embitter life for the bees. Swarm intelligence for bee swarm improvement. Be part of this exciting project. Join Beehyve!

Alex @PLCnextTeam
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