Winter carbon dioxide measurement in honeybee hives

Newton, M.I., Chamberlain, L., McVeigh, A. and Bencsik, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-6278-0378, 2024. Winter carbon dioxide measurement in honeybee hives. Applied Sciences, 14 (4), p. 1679. ISSN 2076-3417

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Sensor technologies have sufficiently advanced to provide low-cost devices that can quantify carbon dioxide levels in honeybee hives with high temporal resolution and in a small enough package for hive deployment. Recent publications have shown that summer carbon dioxide levels vary throughout the day and night over ranges that typically exceed 5000 ppm. Such dramatic changes in a measurable parameter associated with bee physiology are likely to convey information about the colony health. In this work, we present data from four UK-based hives collected through the winter of 2022/2023, with a focus on seeing if carbon dioxide can indicate when colonies are at risk of failure. These hives have been fitted with two Sensirion SCD41 photoacoustic non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) carbon dioxide sensors, one in the queen excluder, at the top of the brood box, and one in the crown board, at the top of the hive. Hive scales have been used to monitor the hive mass, and internal and external temperature sensors have been included. Embedded accelerometers in the central frame of the brood box have been used to measure vibrations. Data showed that the high daily variation in carbon dioxide continued throughout the coldest days of winter, and the vibrational data suggested that daily fanning may be responsible for restoring lower carbon dioxide levels. The process of fanning will draw in colder air to the hive at a time when the bees should be using their energy to maintain the colony temperature. Monitoring carbon dioxide may provide feedback, prompting human intervention when the colony is close to collapse, and a better understanding may contribute to discussions on future hive design.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Applied Sciences
Creators: Newton, M.I., Chamberlain, L., McVeigh, A. and Bencsik, M.
Publisher: MDPI
Date: 19 February 2024
Volume: 14
Number: 4
ISSN: 2076-3417
Rights: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 26 Feb 2024 19:40
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 19:40

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