Why would you want or need to monitor conditions around your hives?
- Better understand your local conditions (Nectar flows, Weather)
- Understand the impact of your actions (winter prep, inspections)
- An eye inside the hive without needing to open the hive (Inside Temperature - start and end of brood rearing, activity levels in both brood boxes; Queen Performance; Winter Performance - Alive/Dead/Thriving/Struggling/Disease; Hive weight - Nectar flow, feeding requirements (spring, summer dry spells, fall), hive growth rate)
- You're a bee geek like me and just like knowing and learning new things
Link to article I wrote in Beescene: Hive Monitoring
Broodminder - (Weight, Temperature & Humity Sensors) - https://broodminder.com/
Accurite Pro 5-1 Weather Station - https://www.acurite.com/environments/weather-stations.html
(I no longer recommend this unit due to data collection issues related to Acurite and recent changes to Weather Underground)
Weather Underground Mount Lorne Weather Station - Mount Lorne Weather
Download data from any weather station near you use this tool - Download to CSV tool (Get your nearest weather station ID number from Weather Underground (Link above)
Figure above: I have now been using these tools now for about 3 years. Some of these daily weight changes are due to daily temperature fluctuation and the unit being in the sun. I have gotten around this by installing the unit at the back of the hive or building myself a sunshade landing board to prevent the scale from being in direct sun.
The weight changes (chart above) can be used to identify main blooms/nectar sources. The chart below shows my local bloom calendar that was developed by myself by recording bloom dates during my many dog walks.
Internal hive brood nest temperatures over almost 2 years. 35C shows broodrearing in full swing. The chart clearly shows an increase in nest temperature after the winter solstice. The colony likely started a small brood nest from Jan 30 based on the steady temperatures just below 30C. The sensor location is in the top/center of the bottom brood box. In my location the queen slows her egg laying from mid to late August. This information has now been incorporated into my winter prep approach (feeding 2:1 syrup and pollen subs).
Figure Below: I have added several more sensors to allow me to better understand how my double and single brood box winter setup will perform (2019-2020 Winter Trial). I have also added a sensor to a 5 frame nuc that I will attempt to over winter. T - Temperature only; TH - Temperature and Relative Humidity