Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What will a HiveSentry tell me about my hive?
For an individual hive, HiveSentry is very effective in detecting swarming, robbing, and other unusual disturbances of the hive (by wild animals or humans) that require immediate attention. By comparing multiple hives, the HiveSentry display allows you to easily detect a weak hive.
Q. How come the HiveSentry system costs so much?
HiveSentry systems are designed and manufactured by MaineBioSensors in Maine, USA using domestic and foreign made components. The system complexity and low production volume do not provide the cost reduction expected from large-scale outsourcing.
Q. What is the maximum distance between a sensor and the base station?
Our hives are between 200 to 700 feet from the base station. The base station is in a window on the first floor of our house. There is brush and a tree line between the sensors (hives) and the base station. The HiveSentry communications link has been very reliable except under severe weather conditions. Although LoRa transceivers claim to have a range of 3 kilometers, foliage and rain will reduce that range.
Q. How many sensors can be connected to a base station?
The small size of base station allows for displaying no more than four sensors. If more sensors are present, only data from the first four sensors are displayed. However, all received sensor data are recorded, in CVS format, on a micro-SD card. This data could be read and plotted by a Microsoft Execl spreadsheet. We have operated with up to ten sensors.
Q. What is the best placement of the sensor?
The sensor can be simply placed on the landing platform near the hive entrance. For more reliable communications, the sensors should be as high as possible above the ground and about 8 inches above the hive entrance.
Q. How long will the sensor batteries last?
Each sensor uses three (3) AA batteries, A new set of batteries should last at least 6 months. A message will be displayed on the base station when a particular sensor voltage is low.
Q. How can you tell that the sensor is working?
Upon inserting the batteries into a sensor, a green LED on the front of the sensor will flash for three seconds. Thereafter it will flash every two minutes. The alphanumeric base station display will show the data received from that sensor.
Q. Can I monitor my hives on the internet?
HiveSentry is intended to be a low-cost, stand-alone, plug-and-play system. The base station contains hardware to potentially interface to an IOT platform. Such an internet connection could cost $90/year. In our experience, most beekeepers would require signicicant technical support to make an internet connection work, making the HiveSentry system cost prohibitive.
Q. Can I look at past hive performance?
The base station only displays data received between 6 AM and 9 PM. However, all data received from sensors are recorded on a micro-SD card in the base station. This data can can be examined with Microsoft Exel or Matlab.
Q. Can the system operate in an area that does not have access to AC power?
The sensors are battery operated. The base station requires 5V at 150 mA. This power could be provided by a commercail solar panel with a back-up battery. Since HiveSentry does not have a remote data link, the data stored on the micro-SD card would have to be processed elsewhere.
Q. How does the HiveSentry system compare with Broodminder's BeeDar?
Both BeeDar and HiveSentry were developed by MaineBiosensors. BeeDar is an active radar that measures the changing radar reflection as honeybees fly radially along the radar beam. HiveSentry is completely passive, measuring the very small spatial temperature change as honeybees flying across multiple sensor beams. The signal processing and performance of both systems has been shown to be otherwise very similar.