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Monitoring Bee Hive Health with the Genuino MKR1000

Gareth Halfacree

Petrache Valentin's bee-hive monitor

Makers come from all walks of life, and while they're united by a common interest - making, in case that wasn't clear - the sheer breadth of knowledge and hobbies can be impressive to the uninitiated. A great example of this comes courtesy Petrache Valentin, who is currently working on a project to add intelligence to beehives using the new Genuino MKR1000.

Using the Wi-Fi enabled Genuino MKR1000 - known as the Arduino MKR1000 in the US - Petrache has begun the process of measuring some of the metrics important to successful bee-keeping. A DHT22 sensor measures the temperature and humidity of the hive, while a load-scale sensor measures the weight. A 16x2 liquid-crystal display (LCD) displays live values for each of the measurements, while the network connection is used to transfer the information to a remote system for long-term tracking and analysis.

Using this data, Petrache explains, the bee-keeper can monitor the health of the hive, know when it's time to harvest the honey, and also decide when it's necessary to relocate the hive due to inclement conditions. The system is already fully-functional for local readings, with Petrache's next step being to set up a remote cloud server and upload the data automatically for graphing and analysis - and, potentially, even push alerts to a smartphone or other device when conditions are critical.

While bee-keeping is, Petrache notes, between 15,000 and 9,000 years old, it's interesting to see the hobbyist apiarist turning to technology to keep the hive happy. The full project can be viewed on Petrache's page.

It very important when harvesting to have the right information like temperature, humidity, honey quality and weight chart, to make the decision to stay or move on to a different zone. My system is based on Arduino. Arduino board is connected to DHT humidity and temperature sensor, LCD display and HX711 amplifier with scale, reads the values and print it to the LCD display and to Serial port. Next step is to store the files in the cloud.

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