9 Sep 2016

Bugging Bees

From Country Life, 9:14 pm on 9 September 2016
Huw Evans

Huw Evans Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

Wherever he is in the world, Huw Evans knows exactly what is going on in his beehives – he knows when they've tipped over, if the bees are about to swarm, whether the colony is thriving, starving or diseased, if it's too humid in the hive and whether the queen is laying.

Huw has developed a remote monitoring system which eavesdrops on hives and then sends text alerts to the beekeeper if there's anything they need to know.

The system listens to the throb of the beehive, not unlike a doctor listening to a heartbeat, he says.

"Your heart beat is just a noise your body happens to make, but there's a lot you can tell about the health of your body just by what your heart is doing. In a similar way, there's a lot you can tell about what bees are doing by the general throb of the cluster."

Huw says the most popular text sent to beekeepers is the one reporting there's been an increase in the amount of honey.  

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski