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Learning precision beekeeping

Learning precision beekeeping

On July 11 at the Chamber of Agriculture of Pau (France), about twenty beekeepers met with the intention of learning details about precision beekeeping. Report of an evening rich in exchanges.

First, the brood

The introduction started by deepening the understanding of brood development. Above all it is the measurements and the analysis of the internal temperature of the hives that make it possible to evaluate the “strength” of a colony. Practical cases were presented, raising many questions from the audience.

Resource tracking

Precision beekeeping also requires accurate monitoring of resources, computed on an hourly, daily and seasonal basis. Honeydew was studied naturally, but also consumption according to the period considered. Swarming is also detectable by accurately measuring the weight of a hive. Combined with the internal temperature, we could understand a queen replacement following a swarming. We have shown and discussed how to identify each of these situations during this part.

Use the weather

Any colony depends heavily on its environment. Consequently we analyzed typical use cases with to different climatic conditions: periods of frost, heatwave, rain … This first meeting was an initiation that we will deepen later with the introduction of alerts to inform users of notable events on their apiary.

Testimony of a precision beekeeper

Jean-Claude PUECH, a beekeeper using Mellisphera for more than a year, joined the speakers to share his experience. Always busy with his work family, he showed how valuable can be to access data remotely and in real time. This feature makes sense because his three apiaries are several dozen kilometers from home. He showed how he anticipates his visits to his various apiaries, prepares his inspections, and targets hives to inspect.

Train and inform

This was our first public lecture. Precision apiculture is learned and we feel engaged in this mission of pedagogy. Training is necessary for any beekeeper wishing to apprehend this innovative vision of beekeeping management. Watch for future appointments!

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Pau Chamber of Agriculture for allowing us to organize this event under ideal conditions. We also thank each of the participants who enriched the exchange with their questions and sharing!


Announcing a Conference - Introduction to precision beekeeping

Public conference

Introduction to precision beekeeping

Improve your apiary management with digital tools

Thursday 11th July 6:30 pm in the Pau region

 

Beekeepers beginners, experts and curious of nature,

your are all welcome !

Event organized by

Programme


6:30 – 7:00 pm

Welcoming

7:00 – 8:00 pm

Conference

Brood

The inner temperature of hives
How to measure it with sensors
Usecase with two hives
Overall view of a whole apiary

Colonies

Weight variations
Swarms
Measuring with sensors
Three hives, tree behaviors

Weather

How to work with weather
Weather history and honeydews
Working with weather forecasts

8:00 – 8:30 pm

Cocktail

Access

Bus stop :

– “Chambre d’agriculture” : lines 12 et T4
– “Tourasse – Cité Administrative” : line 13 and F

Two outside parking are available :

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digital beekeeping - apiculture numérique

Precision Beekeeping 101

precision beekeeping

Precision Beekeeping 101

Let’s start from the beginning. In this post, one of the first I am writing, we will define the term “precision beekeeping”.

Definition of Precision Beekeeping

You have certainly heard about hive monitoring. These are part of a broader concept: precision beekeeping. It is a systemic vision of beekeeping practice that is supported by the consistent integration of all the information necessary for the beekeeper.

The four pillars

In general, precision beekeeping is based on four pillars:

  • bee colonies, with their vital parameters
  • the environment, with meteorology and blooms
  • the beekeeper who observes and acts on his environment
  • the community that offers the opportunity for a deeper understanding.

It is only by linking these four sources of information that the system as a whole can be addressed. It then becomes possible to design services with high added value.

Knowing that a honeyflow is starting is useful information for the beekeeper. Being able to link it with the surrounding flowering and having access to the blooming history is even better.
A hive with a falling brood temperature is worrying information pointing to a declining brood. Being able to contextualize it with the latest operations of the beekeeper or with the neighbouring hives dynamics is even better.

Provide decision-making information

The ultimate goal of precision beekeeping is to provide the beekeeper with actionable information.

This means information that is quickly understandable because it is expressed in the jargon of the profession, contextual, relevant at the given moment and opening the possibility for an action or a remedy. In this state of mind, commercial beekeepers have a new lever to optimize their operations.

As for backyard beekeepers, they can count on a guide to improve their practice, if they are initiating, or push their research and experiment further for the most curious of them.

In both cases the practice of beekeeping is transformed. It is more intense, more relevant and more precise.

It is like a sixth sense

Digital tools do not keep the beekeeper away from his apiary. On the contrary, they provide him with keys to better understand events that take place, too often outside his five senses. By relieving him/her from of a task of collecting information that he only can make by approximation, the beekeeper can implement a more advanced practice.

To go further

find some of the application cases