Crowdfunding: affordable bee surveillance for hive health
Press release: Hivemind, Christchurch, New Zealand, 29 March 2017
Hivemind crowdfunds affordable bee surveillance for hive health
Smart hive minder helps beekeepers #savebees and maintain #healthyhives
· Hive Strength Monitor with WiFi alerts beekeepers of early signs of trouble
· Tracks and reports changes in bee activity, hive temperature and humidity
· Enables proactive just-in-time beehive protection
· Helps reduce bee and honey loss from pests, disease, hunger, and swarming
New Zealand’s smart hive innovation company, Hivemind, is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help beekeepers check their hives remotely, and take proactive action to keep their bees safe and happy.
The “Hive Strength Monitor with WiFi” campaign aims to develop and commercialise an affordable and accessible WiFi version of Hivemind’s flagship satellite-based Hive Strength Monitor for all beekeepers.
It is targeted at responsible beekeepers, commercial pollinators, and honey lovers alike around the world who are committed to keeping all bee colonies happy and strong.
Remote bee monitoring saves bees
The benefit of the new Hive Strength Monitor with WiFi and Smartphone App is the ability for beekeepers to see from their mobile device that their bees are happy and busy doing what they should be doing - pollination and honey.
The system comes with sensors and remote monitoring software that measures bee activity and hive conditions, and alerts beekeepers of changes in, humidity, temperature, and bee numbers.
With the hives connected to their own WiFi network, beekeepers can open their Hivemind app to quickly assess the condition and wellbeing of their hives. Large-scale deployments can also install a WiFi hotspot to provide intensive hive monitoring at minimal monthly fees.
“Our Hive Strength Monitor can also help beekeepers pick up any early signs of trouble and to act quickly to prevent or minimise both loss of their bees and potential spread of disease,” says Hivemind Director, Berwyn Hoyt.
“Any sudden changes in activity or temperature could mean the bees are swarming, or dying off due to disease or hunger, or that the honey from the hives is being robbed by wasps. Hivemind data alerts can allow beekeepers to proactively assess the situation and mitigate any risk to their hives quickly.”
After two years in development, the launch of Hivemind’s maiden satellite model designed for commercial bee pollinators and manuka honey producers, was partly funded by the New Zealand Government’s Callaghan Innovation Today, there are close to 300 commercial Hivemind installations across New Zealand, Australia and the US, with customers reporting increases in their honey yields by as much as 18%.
Mike Everly at Forest & Bees Native Honey was one of Hivemind’s early adopters. He explains, “Our manuka honey hives are placed in very remote sites in New Zealand, many accessible only by helicopter. Knowing what is happening through the season is critical to decisions about if and when we may need to add boxes, and when we need to harvest. Using this data, we selectively check on areas and make much better management decisions. I could not be happier with the data and information the Hivemind system provides.”
Keeping bees happy
The importance of the role bees play in the survival of our planet can’t be understated. Pest invasions, diseases, fungi, pesticides, overcrowding, and diminishing food sources are contributing to poor hive health, swarming, and colony collapse.
“Keeping bees happy has become a primary environmental concern where technology can play a significant role,” says Hoyt. “With better understanding of bee behaviour and hive conditions, beekeepers and commercial pollinators can potentially prevent swarms, dying colonies, and the spread of disease by mitigating risks early.”
“We hope that with enough support, our WiFi enabled Hive Strength Monitor and smartphone app can help beekeepers worldwide to better understand and optimise the condition, health and yield of their managed honey bee colonies,” says Hoyt. “The United States market in particular has a large pollination industry, which has recently been troubled by disease and Colony Collapse Disorder.”
Hivemind’s crowd funding campaign is now live on Indiegogo: http://hivemind.co.nz/hive-monitor
Thank you for your support!
Hivemind is an apiculture innovation company established in Christchurch New Zealand in 2012 by brothers Berwyn, Ben and Bryan Hoyt. The Hivemind Scales and Hive Strength Monitor are the company’s flagship products launched in 2014. Since then, close to 300 Hivemind Hive Strength monitor systems have sold to commercial beekeepers and pollinators across New Zealand, Australia, and more recently, the United States. Hivemind’s smart hive technology achieved finalist recognition for innovation in the both the 2016 NZ Hi Tech Awards and the 2016 NZ Innovation Awards. Visit www.hivemind.co.nz
- Ends -
How will the Hivemind Hive Strength Monitor for WiFi work?
The new Hivemind Hive Strength Monitor for WiFi will enable beekeepers to remotely monitor their hives and record the data for review online at hivemind.co.nz.
Sensors and technology developed by Hivemind attach to the front of a hive to collect data on:
· Bee numbers entering and leaving the hive – to track whether and by how much bee numbers increase in spring, what time of day the bees start and stop flying, and how activity compares to other nearby hives connected to the system
· Brood temperature – to determine whether the queen is laying, if the brood is healthy, or alerts the beekeeper if the hive gets too cold and needs insulating
· External ambient temperature – which can be compared with the internal temperature to explain bee activity
· Hive humidity – to determine whether the bees are getting enough water and can provide an early cue about hive diseases
The data is then transmitted automatically from the hive via the user’s own WiFi to Hivemind’s smartphone app. Users can then log in to their hive data from their mobile device and quickly check the condition of their hives and bee activity without disturbing the bees by unnecessarily opening and moving hives. The app will also enable them to link and share photos, notes and other reminders to the charts, and show the effects of their beekeeping management.