Process and Control Today | Outdoor enclosures help protect bees with housing for hive monitoring device

Keeping bees is important. It is important to balance the right temperature and humidity in the hive, so it is important to monitor these conditions to understand how to protect our bees. An engineer with a passion for animal husbandry has turned to creating an electronic sensor that can survive the winter in northern Scotland. He turned to Spelsberg to provide the casings to ensure long-term monitoring.

Pollination of trees, plants, and crops is necessary to protect our environment and food supply, bees are an important part of the global ecosystem. Since the 1970s, the number of bees in the UK has been declining, and to deal with environmental damage, initiatives such as the Department for Food, Environment, and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) have been established. Healthy Bees Plan 2030.

Efforts to reverse the bee decline have gained commercial and agricultural support, and the area planted with insect-infested crops has increased by more than a third. the year 1989 (2). As well as their control of insects in their own right, the beekeepers have an interest in the health of the hives for the production of honey, especially if it is increased to a commercial level.

Ensuring the increase in the bee population requires the best conditions in the hive, including temperature and humidity. If the honey bees are too cold, the bees may die, and the entire hive may die when the queen falls. Now, humidity can cause condensation, which can not only cause mold and mildew, but cold water droplets can kill bees.

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Near Ellon in Aberdeenshire, there are a number of hives under the care of beekeeping enthusiast, Rae Younger. Summers are shorter than most of Britain, which means they have less time to produce the honey they rely on for energy during the long winter. In this way the health of the hive is greater than ever.

Rae is developing a monitoring tool that provides notifications on hive health. The device contains electronic sensors and a microprocessor so, like the hives it monitors, the device needs protection from the Scottish winter and protection from wild animals.

“I’ve already used Spelsberg panels for my day job in the oil and ice industry and I’m very pleased,” says Rae. “They are committed to saving time and preventing consequences, while being light and easy to install. In addition, the company is able to provide personal and technical support, which that they may be well-off.

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With five hives and a monitor for each, Rae used a wall of Spelsberg TG, which provides IP67 protection from rain and snow, and IK08 impact protection. The enclosure, measuring 122mm by 82mm, houses temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors. The microprocessor commands a signal, every 15 minutes, to send through LoRa, a low-frequency radio transmission technology, with a separate antenna. Back to the source, about a mile away, there is a LoRa signal, providing remote monitoring 24/7. If needed, LoRa can transmit up to 10 miles. The unit is powered by four, 8650 lithium ion rechargeable batteries.

Like many beekeepers facing cold climates, Rae uses a polystyrene-based hive, rather than the traditional wooden design. If the monitor indicates a drop in temperature, the windows can be closed, and if necessary, insulation can be added to the hive to keep the heat in. Now, if the humidity rises, the windows can be opened and replaced with different materials that can eliminate moisture.

“The panels are quick and easy to install, with a smart, four-way pocket that allows for quick access and closure of the lid,” says Rae, who included a clear lid for easy viewing. in LED status.

Equipped with CAD drawings, which can be downloaded from the Spelsberg website, Rae designed and installed his own custom bracket to house the device’s sensors, fitting only into the holes inside the fence. While the first hive monitor prototypes are still being tested, Spelsberg has in-house CNC machining tools to scale up the production as needed.

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“There are monitors available now, but they’re mostly powered by solar energy,” Rae said. “This can add volume and cost, compared to the battery option, which runs for nine months before needing a recharge. Others are sent via SIM card, but this increases costs compared to using LoRa.

Since hive theft is a major problem, Rae has also installed a GPS transmitter in each device, meaning that the location of each hive can be monitored from anywhere.

“The monitors will help to keep the hives and their population healthy, throughout the year. Spelsberg walls provide the necessary protection that the device can perform, despite the conditions, no problem.

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