Bees are very important for terrestrial ecosystems and, above all, for the subsistence of many crops, due to their ability to pollinate flowers. Currently, the honey bee populations are decreasing due to colony collapse disorder (CCD). The reasons for CCD are not fully known, and as a result, it is essential to obtain all possible information on the environmental conditions surrounding the beehives. On the other hand, it is important to carry out such information gathering as non-intrusively as possible to avoid modifying the bees' work conditions and to obtain more reliable data. We designed a wireless-sensor networks meet these requirements. We designed a remote monitoring system (called WBee) based on a hierarchical three-level model formed by the wireless node, a local data server, and a cloud data server. WBee is a low-cost, fully scalable, easily deployable system with regard to the number and types of sensors and the number of hives and their geographical distribution. WBee saves the data in each of the levels if there are failures in communication. In addition, the nodes include a backup battery, which allows for further data acquisition and storage in the event of a power outage. Unlike other systems that monitor a single point of a hive, the system we present monitors and stores the temperature and relative humidity of the beehive in three different spots. Additionally, the hive is continuously weighed on a weighing scale. Real-time weight measurement is an innovation in wireless beehive-monitoring systems. We designed an adaptation board to facilitate the connection of the sensors to the node. Through the Internet, researchers and beekeepers can access the cloud data server to find out the condition of their hives in real time.
Keywords: bee colony monitoring; internet of things; precision apiculture; precision beekeeping; wireless sensor network.