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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 07:40

A new digital system designed to control beehives and to understand how climate change affects bees

One of the beehives tracked by the researchers One of the beehives tracked by the researchers

The decline in the bee population has put United States and European governments in check. Imagining a world with no bees is a strong concern for the authorities and the scientific community that, for years, have been working against the clock in order to avoid this “apiculture apocalypse”.

Within the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (ceiA3), the Apiculture Unit from the Department of Zoology and a group of teachers from the research group Industrial Electronics Instrumentation (TIC-240) at the University of Cordoba, have joined forces to develop a new monitoring system and a specific sensor system for bee colonies, intended to provide a better understand of why the bees are dying, and to propose corrective measures.

This digital system, based on Arduino Open-Source hardware technology, was initially designed to measure and control the humidity and the temperature changes inside the beehives and its relation with the climate outside. The information obtained will help scientists to understand why the bees’ diseases have been increasing over the years and how climate change, with both significant drops in temperature and heat waves, affects them.

This idea proposed by the teachers and the students of both departments is already delivering abundant useful data. However, it is planned to continue complementing the system, adding new terminal sensors to measure other variables in hives, such as sound or weight, including individual recognition of each bee, generating vast information on how environmental conditions affect their daily activity or longevity.

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