The Challenge

Traditional hive health checking. 

Every week we don our suits and visit the hives; more and more often in these days of Colony Collapse Disorder we feel there may be a problem with this approach. The process is invasive and disruptive to the bees and laborious for the beekeepers. The traditional method to check hive health is to suit up, open the hives, apply a dispersal smoke, dislodge the frames, check the frames (upwards of 40 frames per hive) and then reverse the order to reassemble. Checking each hive is unsettling to the hive and takes approximately 5-20 minutes per hive.

Every YEAR our invasive hive inspections cause an estimated 5% loss to the total Hive population.

bee health platform – Our three fold problem



How can we monitor beehives more effectively?



How do we engage our students more in a farm to fork concept?


How do we get stung less?

We would like to have a system in place to measure, record and compare real time data on our hives.


Temperature, Humidity and Sound sensors will allow us to monitor the overall activity of the Hive. 

Independent Low and High frequency sound measurement will pick up overall disturbances and shocks to the Hive.


A live, video feed of the internal conditions of the Hive will allow remote viewing of the interior, without disturbing the Bee's home.

The video feed can also serve as a security device.


Collection of the data is simply the first step. The ability to collect, collate, compare and analyze the data against local weather conditions, historical and seasonal data points and other factors will provide additional insights.


Remote connection to the cameras and sensors will minimize any disturbing of the Hive.

Being able to view the Hive from the classroom - especially in Winter - will make data collection easier and more reliable. 


Overview of the potential data points


Sound Levels




Seeing the Project Come Together

Future Potential

Exploring the future of the HIVEsense; Internet connected Beehive

Currently, the hives are being cared for by our associated apiarist Mr. Stuart Arnett and are located close to the Rideau Lakes. (Over 3 hours from Campus)

With the ability to view, in real time, the hive activity we could use the HIVEsense platform to remotely view our hives from within our classrooms - especially helpful during the winter semester.

Students would be able to view archived footage of bees in full production, while also viewing real time images of the hives in dormancy, and vice versa for Spring intake students. Remotely viewing the bee keepers (involved faculty) maintaining the hives in a real time environment would also be available.

After harvesting, samples of honey from the different hives will be given to the Biotech programme for chemical analysis. This will help to further reinforce to our students the concepts of food traceability and external factors (such as pesticide use and area flora (used for pollen and nectar harvest)).

The collected data could eventually be overlapped onto Google maps to show the flight patterns (based on nectar and pollen markers that would appear in chemical analysis) and the spread of bee colonies when foraging for nectar and pollen (estimated to be approximately a 5km radius). This will help to determine potential pesticide use and thus accumulation in the honey produced.

Real time hive activity (triggered by weather and motion detected by cameras) could be used to trigger news events using existing “If this then that” web platforms (example, if hive is active during a July afternoon and more than 1000 bees were monitored leaving the hives, then a Tweet could be sent from a twitter account (example @ACBees) stating “We’re busy making honey!”, equally if a hive was slowing production for the evening, then a tweet could be sent akin to “It’s quittin’ time.”. The student / faculty learning resource focused on encompassing sustainable and student engagement would be blended in to one or more of our core courses (Theory of Food, (specifically preservation techniques), Nutrition and Food Management and Farm to Fork). 

If we are able to collect data in a timely and meaningful manner, we could use this data to help increase hive production (and increase of honey supplies) plus we would be better equipped for future hive cooperation protocols (best place to place the hives to ensure optimal production and growth of the hives, etc.).

...if the hive is active during a July afternoon and more than 1000 bees were monitored leaving the hives, then a Tweet could be sent from a twitter account - @ACBees stating “We’re busy making honey!”...


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