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March 1, 2016 AT 3:00 am

Monitoring Mason Bees Using Arduino

“Bees in the Backyard” is a citizen science project that monitors nesting behavior of solitary bees using Arduino. via blog.arduino

Mason bees are somewhat unique because, unlike honeybees, they are solitary, every female is fertile, there are no worker bees, they carry pollen on their bellies, they nest in holes and are vital to pollination of many fruit trees.

The idea behind the project was to turn each bee’s entire nest into a capacitive sensor with the use of off-the-shelf open source hardware like Arduino Uno:

Following the innovative work of the UPEI in using non-invasive capacitance sensors to detect bees entering and exiting a hive, we decided to extend this study to determine if we could measure not just a bee moving past an opening in a hive, but actually measure bee activity, along with a sense of their deliveries. This involved the invention of a new type of non-invasive sensor, along with the development of a measurement system that would be used to gather large amounts of data.

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