Flight activity

Flight & landing board activity

Honey bee foragers bring the colony the nectar and pollen it needs to sustain itself and to create a honey surplus. Foraging activity is typically measured with bee counters that use mechanical, optical, or electric field sensors to detect the passage of bees in and out of the hive.
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Commercially available bee counters

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Hacker-made bee counter

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Video-based bee counter

Recently, capturing digital video of the hive entrance together with image interpretation software to count bees in the video has offered a less-intrusive means of counting foragers. Video-based bee counters overcome the disadvantages of motion-based sensors which reduce the hive entrance and can interfere with cleaning activities, temperature control, etc.

Using video enables other landing board activity to be noted as well, such as drone activity and mating flights, swarming and robbing, undertaking, and predation by wasps, birds, skunks, and others. As bees tend to die outside the hive, an excess of departures over arrivals may indicate the presence of other problems.

The only video-based bee counter we are aware of is described here: http://www.pittsburgh.intel-research.net/people/mummert
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