Technology and Innovation


Anne Marie Fauvel


Jonathan Engelsma


Introduction: Wintertime is difficult for many beekeepers, as honey bees must keep themselves warm and dry while surviving on food stores from previous seasons [4]. Honey bees are able to survive such cold temperatures by vibrating their bodies in a cluster, which moves throughout the hive, to keep themselves and the queen warm and dry [4]. Outside temperatures greatly influence the efficiency of the internal cluster of the hive [4]. Honey bee colonies have the most efficient (i.e. least amount of energy spent and least amount of food stores used) clusters when the outside temperature is between 40-50°F; the efficiency of this cluster greatly breaks down when the outside temperature rises slightly above 50°F [4]. At this temperature the mechanics of the cluster change drastically; this is the point at which most energy is expended and the highest amounts of food stores are consumed [4]. Newly available technologies may be useful for beekeepers to improve management techniques during the winter season [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]. This study used an infrared (IR) smartphone camera accessory (FLIR One Thermal Imager), temperature, and relative humidity sensors (from BroodMinderTM). The goal was to determine practical uses of these technologies in winter management.