Beehive Monitoring and Tracking

Add and monitor sensors in a beehive to follow bees life.

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In France, there are about 1 million hives,
The project consists in developing an environmental tool to collect periodically data on the life of bees.
We can know if or how environmental changes affect the life and behavior of bees.
This project can help individuals, associations and communities to measure climate change using nature.


Some of these objectives include
- monitoring hive weight gain/loss
- bee health
- honey production,
- bee swarming
- monitoring winter supply
- diseases
- influence of pesticides
- theft of hives,...



In France there is about 1 million beehives.

The objective is to monitor the gain/loss in beehive weight for:

  • bee health,
  • honey production,
  • swarming bees
  • winter provision control
  • diseases
  • pesticides influence
  • beehive stealing,...


Acquisition system

  • Weight measurement: deformation gauge glued to an aluminium bar mounted in flexion. Half bridge wired for avoiding temperature variaiton. Measurement sensitivity is about 10g. Signal numerization done using HX711 module (analog to digital converter 24bits)
  • Temperature measurement: 2 sensors: one insid the beehive, the other outside. Measurement using OneWire DS18S20 (±0.5°C accuracy, range is from -10°C to +85°C) One can monitor the bee brood presence or not.
Remarks: Bee weight is between 60 to 80 mg, so 1g = 14 bees approximately. The average honey consumption during winter (in center of France) is from 12 to 15 kg.


  • the box must be waterproof, because it will be outside during all day and night for a long time period.
  • the electrical power supply is a key parameter, it has to be autonomous for a long time period (one year), among solutions we can have solar panel or sufficient battery power (and optimized consumption).
  • the data transfer to end-user, must be wireless and accessible in non internet connected regions, low cost and allow data transfer at regular interval (for example every 2 hours)

Possible additional measurements

  • GPS position of beehive,
  • Sun light
  • Rain

Global costs,

  • Estimated to about 100€

Recording examples:

Internal and external temperature can be monitored,

Example herefater show bee brood temperature (around 35°C) as constant even if external temperature is varying.

Additional measurement is beehive internal humidity using DHT22 sensor.

All the datas have to be sent to network using Sigfox facility for example.


Code example. (see files for additional versions)

//  Systme eruche installe au Joug
// S.GOUTTEBROZE (c) 01.2017

#include "HX711.h"
#include <OneWire.h>
#include <DHT.h>;

#define DHTPIN 4     // what pin we're connected to = D2
#define DHTTYPE DHT22   // DHT 22  (AM2302)
DHT dht(DHTPIN, DHTTYPE); //// Initialize DHT sensor for normal 16mhz Arduino

// DS18S20 Temperature chip i/o
OneWire ds(2);  // on pin 4

int chk,cpt;
float hum;  //Stores humidity value
float temp; //Stores temperature value

 // the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
unsigned long Weight = 0;
unsigned long AverageWeight = 0;
unsigned long AverageWeightot = 0;
unsigned long AverageWeightold = 0;
int ini(0);
int Clock = 7; //3 on board
int Dout = 6; //2 on board

float poidsD(0);

float Tc_100_A,Tc_100_B;
byte i;
byte type_s;
byte present = 0;
byte data[12];
byte addr[8];
char *msg ;

void lire_scaleD() {
  //Serial.println("Lire D...");
  // wait for the chip to become ready
 while (digitalRead(Dout) == HIGH);

 AverageWeight = 0;
  for (char j = 0; j<100; j++)
     Weight =0;
    // pulse the clock pin 24 times to read the data
    for (char i = 0; i<24; i++)
      digitalWrite(Clock, HIGH);
      Weight = Weight <<1;
      if (digitalRead(Dout)==HIGH) Weight++;
      digitalWrite(Clock, LOW);
    // set the channel and the gain factor (A 128) for the next reading using the clock pin (one pulse)
    digitalWrite(Clock, HIGH);
    Weight = Weight ^ 0x800000;
    digitalWrite(Clock, LOW);
    AverageWeight += Weight;
  AverageWeight = AverageWeight/100;


void setup() {

  //intialize HX711    "Module 4"  SCALE D
  pinMode(Clock, OUTPUT); // initialize digital pin 4 as an output.(clock)

Read more »


Running system.

JPEG Image - 289.73 kB - 10/18/2022 at 18:02



General view of System, version Sigfox.

JPEG Image - 29.42 kB - 10/18/2022 at 18:00



Mechanical parts

JPEG Image - 28.70 kB - 10/18/2022 at 18:00



Load cell electronic

JPEG Image - 59.55 kB - 10/18/2022 at 18:00



Thermo-hygro sensor

JPEG Image - 26.10 kB - 10/18/2022 at 18:00


View all 13 files

  • 2 × Maxim Integrated DS18B20 Programmable Resolution 1-Wire Digital Thermometer
  • 1 × DHT22 Temperature Sensor
  • 1 × Arduino Nano R3 / MKR1200
  • 1 × HX711
  • 1 × load cell bar

  • Offline or Online analysis

    Gouttebroze10/16/2022 at 09:24 0 comments

    The analysis can be improved because we now have a huge amount of data and new methods like machine learning,...

    If we combine this data with climate information, it may be possible to help beekeepers work with the changing climate.

    For example:

    • Feeding the bees can be adapted to the weather conditions.
    • Honey harvesting from the hive extension can be carried out exactly at the right time.

  • Possible improvements

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:28 0 comments

    Among possible improvements:

    • GPS position of beehive,

    Because you will get two advantages: The prevention of theft and the coordination with other climate measures or other beekeepers.

    • Sun light

    Verifying or confirming the influence of the sun on bee activity can also be useful in adjusting the sampling rate of data acquisition to the activity of the sun (e.g., if it is raining and there is no sun at all for the entire day, we know that the bees will be inside the hive and no harvesting will occur, so a minimum sampling rate will be applied). 

    • Rain

    Same ideas as for sun.

    • Wind measurements

    Check, confirm and determin the wind influence on bee activities.

  • Alternative communication devices

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:15 0 comments

    The communication options are as follows:

    • Local only

    The data are saved on a SD card (for example) and the analysis is only done offline by removing the SD card.

    • Sigfox

    The data are sent via the Sigfox network, the analysis is possible online.

    The disadvantage is that the data size is very limited by the payload.

    • Wifi

    The data are sent via the Wifi network, the analysis is possible online.

    The disadvantage is that you need to be covered by a wifi network, which is not always possible if the hive is far from your home.

    • GSM

    The data are sent via the GSM network, the coverage is good. The analysis is possible online.

    The disadvantage is that extra costs are applied for data management. The size of the data is also limited.

    • RF433MHz

    The data are sent via RF signals. The disadvantage is that you have to install a receiver in the same area and the analysis is not done online..

  • 3D printed casing

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:15 0 comments

    Sensors inside beehive are subject to bee actions and in particular to propolis.

    Propolis is a resin-like material made by bees from poplar and conifer buds and more generally from tree resin.

    Hence, sensors must be protected, this is why a sensor protection device can be 3D printed. It can be very simple just like a box.

  • Battery life

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:15 0 comments

    Battery life is important for this type of project.

    Because autonomy is a key parameter.

    One option may be to install an additional device for charging the LiPo batteries with solar panels.

  • Temperature and Humidity

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:14 0 comments

    Temperature monitoring inside beehive is very instructive.

    This can help you decide when to install your hive extension, as illustrated above.

    Measuring the humidity inside the hive extension can also be a tool to decide if the honey is dry enough.  

  • Winter feeding

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:14 0 comments

    Feeding the hives is essential, especially in winter, and even more so if natural food sources or weather are particularly difficult.

    Bees do not usually need to be fed year-round. But you can give the hives a boost when their natural food sources are not available, especially in early spring.

    The objective of the beekeeper can be to keep a minimum and constant weight during all winter.

  • Swarming detection

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:14 0 comments

    Swarming is the way the colony reproduces.
    Each hive can therefore be induced to swarm.
    Controlling this mechanism is not totally possible, so beekeepers use certain techniques to ensure better production. But in the end, it is nature that decides what happens next, without informing the beekeeper!
    The good news is that it is possible to tell immediately if a colony has swarmed. Because a swarm that leaves the hive has about 10 000 bees and weighs about 1kg.
    This is easily detectable by our tool.
    This measurement provides real time information for the beekeeper who can act according to the situation (for example by recovering the swarm).

  • Calculation of honeyflow

    Gouttebroze10/15/2022 at 19:13 0 comments

    In 1961, André REGARD, published a pedagogical tool which allows to measure the amplitude of a honeyflow from the measurements made on the temperature and hygrometry, also influenced by the wind.

    Of course, other parameters come into play, such as the nature of the soil and the varieties of flowers.

    Below the corrsponding graphic.

  • Weight evolution with time (years)

    Gouttebroze09/01/2022 at 08:05 0 comments

    The following graph show the weight evolution since 2018.

    One can see the impact of good and bad years on weight evolution and thus on honey harvesting.

    Especially this year 2022 which is (at least in France) very complicated.

     Main notes are:

    • a high weight loss during winter
    • a rapid grow in May 2022 (due to favorable weather)
    • a stop in harvesting in end of May and a constantly decrease of weight during summer.
    • a precoce beehive feeding starting mid July (which is exceptionally early !)

View all 11 project logs

  • 1
    Mechanical tube mounting H shape
  • 2
    Weight scale

    HX711 module

    HX711 datasheet

    Load cell 200kg

  • 3
    Temperature measurement


View all 5 instructions

Enjoy this project?



Gouttebroze wrote 10/16/2022 at 09:31 point

Thank you

  Are you sure? yes | no

turtlepowerco wrote 09/18/2022 at 19:12 point

Thank you for thinking about the bees, incredible work.

Edit: congratulations!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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