DETERMINING HONEY BEE COLONY HEALTH USING RADAR AND RADIO FREQUENCY TECHNIQUES
Author: Berkay Payal
Major: Electrical Engineering
Graduation Year: 2018
Thesis Advisor: Nuri Emanetoglu
Description of Publication: Honey bee populations have been declining globally producing a threat both to economy and ecology since most of the agricultural plants such as blueberries, almonds, apples and broccoli are pollinated by honeybees. Assessing the health of honeybee colonies in an efficient and non-invasive way is crucial for beekeepers to intervene before colonies fail. For this purpose, a Doppler radar-based beehive activity monitor was designed and built for beekeepers to remotely monitor the health of their beehives without spending an excessive amount of time. When the monitor is placed above the beehive entrance and aimed at the bee flight path, the Doppler shift due to the flight of individual bees could be detected. An interface circuit performing filtering operations along with a power management circuit were designed. Five prototype instruments were constructed, tested and then deployed in the field. Each instrument measured its radar return signal for 30 seconds every 5 minutes and calculated an activity index based on the total energy in the return signal. The data obtained with the beehive monitors were correlated with manual counts of the number of bees that went in and out of the hive. The activity index reached its peak around mid-afternoon when the bees were expected to be most active. The activity index was maximum for warm and sunny days, while it dropped significantly during rainy days, in agreement with human observations of bee activity. A new filter was designed for the next generation beehive monitor, where the filter characteristics are matched to the foraging bee acceleration signature. A printed circuit board(PCB) was designed and will be fabricated to install in the next generation monitor for the 2018 field season.
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