Spetzgart’s Bees Are Being Monitored Digitally
by Christina Müller
Two house tutors have installed a beehive scale under a bee colony to study the correlation between honey production, temperature, and atmospheric humidity in near real time.

The bee colonies on the Spetzgart campus which my husband and I tend – with the regular help of students – are now well-equipped for the future. We have installed a beehive scale under one of the hives, thanks to the help of my father-in-law, Tiberius Müller, whose avocation is beekeeping. He has always supported us when we had problems or questions. Using plans available at a specialised website, www.beelogger.de, he assembled our beehive scale and programmed it with me.

The beehive scale is operated with a small sonar panel. Every 20 minutes it measures not only the weight of the beehive, but also the outside and inside temperature and atmospheric humidity. These are the factors that ultimately determine how much honey a bee colony will produce. Every two hours the data are sent via a sim card in the scale to a server and made available online. Thus, it is now possible for us to observe in real time the correlation between honey, temperature and atmospheric humidity using quantitative data. It can be seen, for example, that the bees keep the temperature inside their home at a nearly constant 35 degrees Celsius, even when the temperature outside is much cooler.

These data contribute to our better understanding of how complex the system of a bee colony is. At the same time students can also make use of a set of longitudinal data from our bee colony for their seminar papers in science classes.

If you are interested in gaining access to this data, feel free to send me an email at: