Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2005
Publication Date: 8/22/2005
Citation: Meikle, W.G., Holst, N., Mercadier, G., Derouane, F. 2005. The use of balances linked to dataloggers to monitor honeybee colonies. Meeting Proceedings.
Technical Abstract: Honeybee colonies are often weighed, as a means of monitoring both honey production and colony health. For example, McLellan (1977) weighed hives daily and used the data to calculate a polynomial equation for predicting honey reserves. Electronic balances with a precision of 10 g were linked to 12-bit dataloggers (giving an overall precision of about 30 g) and used to monitor honeybee colonies over 14 months. The weight data were used to examine: 1) seasonal changes in hive weight; 2) magnitude and duration of changes in beehive weight due to rainfall; and 3) the size and timing of swarms. Data were used to calculate the 25 hour running average, which was then subtracted from the observed weights to generate the hourly detrended data. The 25-hour running average, calculated for each hour by averaging the weight data for the previous 12 hours, that hour, and the following 12 hours was useful for monitoring longer-term changes in hive weight, such as that due to increases and decreases in colony strength, honey collection, and swarming. The hourly detrended data were useful for monitoring daily fluctuations due to forager activity and water gain and loss. Magnitude (difference between highest and lowest values of the day) of the detrended data were usually, but not always, correlated with hive weight gain. The detrended data were fit to sine curves to examine the frequency of the daily weight changes. Datalogger-linked balances may be useful in the analysis of the effects of pathogens and parasites and their control