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8. Hi Mario,

Quick question for you, please.

First, by way of background:

  I started keeping bees in 1968.

  Bees are a big part of my life…I have my hands on active beehives 5 or more days a week and I am always researching, or otherwise involved with bees, such as public speaking on bee topics.

  I believe tech innovations are (and will be) very important to the future of beekeeping.

  I invest heavily in tech innovations related to bee health and beekeeping.

  I participate in online/crowdfunding of beekeeping innovations.

  I have viewed your indiegogo video.

  I sincerely wish you the best with this and other beekeeping innovations.

  I hope my comments here will not be a cause of discouragement.

Because you reached out to me via email prior to your indiegogo campaign and again with this promo update, I am inquiring specifically of you.

My concern (and then my question)

A.  In my experience, bees need a lot of unrestricted access to their hive. By the way, for at least 8 months of the year, my hives all have top entrances as well as bottom entrances. In fact, I would say that most of my bees only ever enter at the top, rather than via the bottom board.  Bees—in my experience--just prefer it that way, whether beekeepers ever know it or not.  In any event, in most of the beekeeping I have ever been involved with, the bees (during most of the year) need a lot of ingress and egress, AND the ability to ventilate the cavity. 

B.  My concern, with respect to your system: if bees are constricted in their ingress and egress to a few slots on a bottom board, how would they be able to cure/desiccate their honey, control humidity levels in the brood area, ensure adequate oxygen supply and how would the traffic congestion impact the hive.  Sorry to say: I am confident that if I were to constrict any of my colonies to the limited apertures provided in your device, they would either perish from overheating or they would swarm because their hive box would be unmanageable due to overheat, excessive humidity and lack of oxygen.  Alternatively, I question whether any hive small enough that it could survive with such a constricted entrance/exit would be worth owning, from an economic perspective.

So my sincere question is:  Setting aside a “reduced entrance” management practice for wintertime in cold climates, how could any beekeeper have a viable hive with such a small entrance?  In other words: Where is there a beekeeper who could actually use the system proposed in your Indiegogo campaign?

Thanks in advance for considering my question…I sincerely do not mean to be disrespectful.

With kind regards,

Thank you a lot for your feedback I do appreciate it a lot.  To be perfectly honest, that was one of my concerns too ( in fact a major one ) and we have a few solutions for this, so please continue reading. 

1.  I have talked to many researchers like Dr. Rangel from UT and Dr. Lilia De Guzman from the USDA ARS and none of them have this concern. 

2.  Even so, I still have the same concern as you.  I have personally tested the Hive Genie in my hives with no adverse consequences, although I do confess the tests were from August to October.  So no real heat issues.  I’m still concerned about this so what I’m doing now is that we are testing new sensors that do not require entrance restriction.  But keep reading… 

3.  Also, we have already developed an entrance block that permits ventilation.  Look at our store at www.hivegenie.com

4.  According to Thomas D. Seeley in his book Honey Bee democracy bees actually prefer smaller entrances and only one is needed. They do prefer it at the bottom.

5.  The Practical beekeeper author also point this, although he mentions he prefers top entrances… but Thomas D Seeley is the world’s leading bee authority. 

6.  Either way, the Hive Genie could be retrofitted to use top entrances.

7.  Remember that temp and RH will be measured constantly and if that would cause a problem you would be alerted…

8.  Now, what I do know for a fact is that moist air is heavier than dry air, so the air will actually exit through the screen bottom board of the hive, while new air enters from the top (yes, we may or should develop some sort of vent…)

9.  Also, reduced entrances are easier to defend from robbers, intruders and make it somewhat more difficult for hive beetles to enter.

10.  Most wild colonies or those found in houses have very tiny entrances.

11.  A reduced entrance is better for bees because temperature will not change as fast, which is better for brood.

12.  Bees tolerate a lot of heat, in fact their preferred temp of 34 Celsius is a hot temperature, so in general cold is the enemy, not heat.

13.  Hot air evaporates more water, so temperature regulation gets easier for bees as air approaches their goal temp.

14.  Warre hives, Japanese traditional hives and many other have bottom only entrances.

15.  I’ve always had bottom only entrances with no problems… but I do use screen bottom boards…

So yes, I do have screen bottom boards, I do have the same concern as you but there are many solutions to this problem.  My pledge to you is that if regardless of this project becoming funded, we will continue testing to get this concern off our minds.  I include myself again with you.  I personally tried to include (and perhaps will) more entrances but at the time we were concerned about pricing, but perhaps we should add more entrances.  I do agree

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that part of the experience of crowdfunding is getting valuable feedback such as yours.  Honestly, you are the first beekeeper other than me, that expresses this concern (others may have it but not express it)  I will think of a way to include a solution before the campaign is over.

And as I state in my campaign timeline and budget, there is still going to be another engineering round before the final product is launched.  And I assure you we will solve this potential problem…

Thanks again for your interest in Hive Genie



1. So How Powerful does the Hive Genie really is?  There are a lot of claims of what it can do.

To put things in perspective lets compare Hive Genie with some famous computers:

The AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) which was the computer in the command module of NASA's Apollo missions and helped astronauts to control the module's navigation path to the Moon and back, had 64 Kbytes of memory and operated at a speed of 0.043 MHz.

The Hive Genie has 32 Kbytes of Program memory but operates at 16 MHz.  So this means that the Hive Genie runs 372 times faster than the Apollo Guidance Computer, but has only half the memory for programming.  That's OK though, we are not flying to the moon, we are only relaying information to the cloud and controlling a few add ons!  Plenty of power.  The rest of the program is on the cloud where we can interpret all the data gathered and trigger alarms.  In some ironic twist, our "Mission Control" is on the cloud!  Fascinating times we live in!  


Deep Blue, the computer that defeated chess champion  Garry Kasparov had a processor speed of 120 MHz and 128 Kbytes.  So Deep Blue is about 7 times faster and had 4 times the memory.  Still, in 1995 Deep Blue lost a computer chess to a computer program called Fritz 3 in 39 moves, getting a second place  in the 8th World Computer Chess Championship.  Photo courtesy of IBM and Wikipedia.

Both of these computers would be far too big to fit into a beehive!


2. Mario I've just read your web page - Quite a lot of claims but I figure presently you only monitor-

1.  Bees going in and out - numbers. How does it know internal hive numbers?

 About counting bees.  Let's assume that you have 30,000 foragers in your hive (which is typical average), so in the morning, 30,000 bees will go out, the counter counts how many bees go out, as they complete their rounds, some will come back and exit again.  So the number of bees out will be changing over time, but at the end of the day only three things can happen:  The number of bees that came back is less than the ones that left.  This is the normal thing, you expect to loose around 1000 bees at the honey flow per day.  Your Queen can lay more than 1900 eggs a day so you are fine.  If you loose say 5000 a day, you can safely assume that some pesticide is killing your bees.  Your Queen won't be able to keep up you may loose your hive in as little as 5 to 10 days!  And perhaps call it CCD!

The other thing that can happen but would be rare, is that the exact number of bees that exited came back in.

The third thing would be you get 20,000 bees more into your hive, therefore africanization.  Now, if the activity doubles and the weight decreases, then you are being robbed.  If all the bees are going out and no bee is coming in, then your bees are about to swarm.   You have may be a couple of hours to catch them.  Hive Genie will let you know within minutes of any of these things happening!


2.  Hive weight with a probe under the Box on one edge?

Weight is measured by a probe under the front end of the hive and we just double the weight.  It is a rough estimate but the trend is what you need.  Over time with your personal feedback you can figure out a correction factor.

3.  Ambient Temp inside and out side the hive - temperature probe

Yes temp probe inside and out and the same probe can measure relative Humidity.

4.  Ambient Light - light sensor

Ambient light detector is important so if you have a lot of nocturnal activity, then moths may be coming in or your bees are under attack by a skunk or something like it.

5.  How does it tell you what the Queen is laying? Does it come equipped with a camera?

OK, to determine if the Queen is laying we keep the count.  Let's say 30,000 bees exited yesterday and 29,000 came back.  If today another 30,000 exit, then you can assume that the Queen is laying at least enough to replace the death toll.  On the contrary if 29,000 go out today, and tomorrow 28,000 and so on, you may have no Queen.  Also, when the Queen is laying, the temperature is pretty stable at around 33-34 ºC and if there is no Queen, temp inside the hive will vary throughout the day.

So counting bees bidirectionally actually tells a very good story of what is going on inside and outside of your hive!

About the camera:  SORRY it does not for two reasons:

A. The image signal takes a lot of space in the controller so we wouldn't be able to count or weigh bees, which in my mind are the two most important pieces of information.  A camera only tells you what is going on in the parts you can see, as weight and count tell you the whole story, even about foraging dangers.  Also, the camera can only tell what you personally see, as where with numbers you the software can trigger alarms 24/7

B. A camera and servos to move it would cost as much as a GoPro, in which case you just go and buy a GoPro or a surveillance system.

I am not saying that a camera is not a good idea, but for now it is not a priority.  Maybe if lots of beeks ask we can develop something in the near future.

6.  How does it know about infestations? Is there a way or means of detecting foreign invaders?

 I think this is explained above.  The fact that all the alarms are on the cloud means that as we gather more info we can fine tune and correlate more things...

7.  Does it detect and understand the hive pheromones?

Currently it does not have a nose; maybe in the future we can find a sensor that detects this!  Exciting isn't it?

8.  What specifically does it presently actually measure?
Actually with our prototypes we can measure:
Bees bidirectionally
Temp and humidity
Weight
Light intensity

So we tested all this and we are refining the alarm system triggers as we learn more.  Since our alarm system will be on the cloud, we can constantly fine tune it and develop new alarms when enough data reveals more correlations to other events.


9. I understand you have used open source and that others can then use your code to "Add On" functions, apps etc and the possibilities are "endless"
Is it wireless.  

Yes, all HIVE GENIE models have a built in WiFi module so you don't need to connect it via cable.

9. Does it require a phone chip?
How do you access the cloud, does it do Android/ Apple or OS only?

More information would be useful

It has WiFi.  if you don't have WiFi signal in your hive, you can buy a router in Amazon for $30 USD that can solve this problem and use the cell phone network to connect to the cloud.

It is an Arduino based microcontroller.  We have engineered in such a way as to leave 3 to 6 pins for output, that is control things...  I will now answer your questions in order:



Hope this info is useful, will be glad to answer more questions...

Frequently Asked Questions.

        improve your crop


What is the difference between the different Hive Genie Models?

Look at the table with the models below...