We heard about the cute Hilborough Mill Apiary when they visited the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge recently. They told us all about the Raspberry Pi-powered goodness they have going on in the name of bee conservation.
The Pye Bee project
The apiary’s Pye Bee project monitors bees’ activity inside a colony via audio and video streaming as well as temperature and humidity sensors. The data the sensors gather is used to investigate the relationship between temperature and humidity, which are known to affect bees, and the bees’ behaviour and health. Experts already know that the noises bees make can indicate certain events are happening, like an imminent queen replacement being planned.
The main aim of the Pye Bee project is to help control swarming, in order to conserve colonies and support honey production.
Pye Bee uses Raspberry Pi to send audio and visual data in real time that can alert beekeepers to changes in activity, as well as providing metadata for comparative behaviour analysis across different colonies.
If you’d like to create a similar setup to monitor a hive of your own, the lovely harryjub has uploaded absolutely everything you’ll need on GitHub. Their setup is built around Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and a Raspberry Pi Camera.
Your very own hive (sort of)
You can sponsor your own hive — an actual beehive — and help Hilborough Mill Apiary keep running the Pye Bee project to conserve bees and gather delicious honey.
If you did choose to sponsor a beehive you would get to name the queen in your colony. And yes, “Queen Bey” is too obvious and someone has definitely already done it, so think again.