How can Hive Monitoring System help you cut the costs of beekeeping – 1 of 4

This blog post is the first of a series of four about the Operational Costs of Beekeeping and how Apis Technology can help you cut them. This is dedicated to the Inspections.

Credits: Flickr/ Paul van de Velde

Credits: Flickr/ Paul van de Velde

If you’re a professional beekeeper, bottom line is that beekeeping is a normal economic activity. One of those where professional duties are mixed with pleasure. From one side, the goal is to maximize the revenues with the sale of honey, royal jelly among other things, or by renting some swarms for pollinating in farms, for example, and maximize productivity as much as possible.

On the other side, beekeeper should reduce the costs as much as he can. Unfortunately, the list is long because beekeeping is a hard job. There’re a lot of things to take care of, and at a single moment of neglect can cause a lot of damage.

Inspections

Inspections of beehives is one of the biggest pains of a professional beekeeper. Rule is simple: one must periodically make inspections in each beehive, just to be sure that everything is alright. If weather allows we must open the beehive and check each frame, and if don’t we must rely on a mix of faith, skill and experience.

In addition, each time the beekeeper opens a beehive to inspect it, he interferes and mess around with the ecosystem of the swarm, and disturb bees. Literature points that bees take to 3 to 4 days to set back to previous parameters.

The best metrics to assess this cost is measuring working force, or €/Hours/men. As one has to inspect every beehive, we should account the amount of money we have to spend to assure this activity.

Example

Let’s look at this example of 2 apiaries with 30 beehives each. Assuming that each inspection takes about 15 minutes’ average, and beekeeper has an average cost of 15€/h. With an average of 2 inspections per month, we have a cost breakdown close to this one:

Monthly duration of inspections (2x60x15min) – 30 hours/month

Average monthly cost (15€/h) – 450€/month

Average annual cost – 5.400€

At the end of each year, the beekeeper to manage only two apiaries with 60 beehives, has an average cost of 5.400€ only regarding inspections. This costs are as bigger as the number of beehives.

Apis Hive Monitor System is designed to allow the beekeeper to decrease the number of inspections at the field, because he is able to know the parameters that he use to know, just by checking his phone. In addition, it also allows to check information that he could never know in those colder months that he cannot open the beehive.

Using Apis Hive Monitor the beekeeper can effectively cut the biggest cost of beekeeping to a small margin.

The first 21 days of a bee’s life

[Eng]

For us to understand what is happening with bees, first we have to understand bees and their problems.

For this task Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard and made what we call “Poetic footage”. Nothing less.

[PT]

Para percebermos o que está a acontecer com as abelhas, primeiro temos que as compreender e perceber quais são os seus problemas.

Para esta tarefa Anand Varma criou abelhas no seu próprio quintal e fez o que nós consideramos um “Video Poético”. Nada menos que isso.

What is happening with our bees?

7799690118_4eb4e04d1c_k_v2

Probably you’ve heard that something is going on with bees. Maybe something related to some kind of Asian Hornet or even to some decrease in bees population worldwide.

Well, unfortunately all of that is true. Bees are in fact facing a big challenge. According to the US Agricultural Research Service’s annual bee survey, nearly 42,1% of US honeybee colonies were lost in the past 12 months, following an ugly trend over the past decade.

This assessment revealed a new fact. Beekeepers are not losing colonies only in winter. Summer losses surpassed winter losses for the first time in 2014 reaching 27,4%. And the trend is rising.

The scenario in Europe isn’t also very good. According to the EPILOBEE project, the winter losses between 2013 and 2014 showed a narrower range. Southern countries registered lower death rates (7,1% in Portugal, 5,5% in Spain and 4,8% in Italy, for example), while Northern countries registered higher death rates (15,4% in Sweden and 12,4% in Finland).

Summer losses in Europe are lower in comparison to the USA. The worst countries in Europe in spring-summer season of 2014 were France with 11,1% death rate and Belgium with 9,1%.

Recent reports have drawn a lot of attention on media and institutional organizations like the European Commission and the White House made a group of call to actions. Despite the causes of this death rates are not clearly defined there are some primal suspects. While facts and data are being collected, new answers are required among the beekeepers’communities.

New problems demands new answers or approaches. Apis Technology aims to provide beekeepers and communities new and refined tools to take care of our best friends. Subscribe our newsletter to receive our updates.