Engage the home beekeeping community in citizen science by providing simple, accurate, and affordable sensors for the beehive.
During the last 10 years the US has been averaging 30% hive loss over winter. Last winter, across the Midwest numerous states lost more than 60%. Losing that much livestock annually drives our team crazy. We see a desire on the part of backyard beekeepers to contribute to solving this national problem and at the same time, learn more about their personal hives. We have developed professional grade monitors expressly for beehives. The entire team has worked hard to make the devices simple and economical so that every bee enthusiast may be part of this national experiment.
The BroodMinder team believes that by performing simple, uniform measurements on thousands of hives, the beekeeping community will gain insights into hive distress and that as a community, we will develop interventions to improve outcomes.
BroodMinder and Beekeeping.io are separate companies which have entered into a strategic partnership around a shared goal: better bee health.
This shared goal is accomplished through the creation of diagnostic hardware and software, working seamlessly to present bee health data.
Much as EKGs help doctors better understand the stresses of their patients, our equipment reveals the health metrics of bee hives. This allows the beekeeper to make hive adjustments based on facts, not hunches.
While the collection of data is done at the hive level, the software allows for hive metrics to be shared publicly. This will assist the overall beekeeping community by presenting common insights, and answering the myriad of “what if” questions that are so common with beekeepers.
Beekeepers and researchers alike will benefit from this free and anonymous shared data.
All BroodMinder products store data once per hour for over a year. The data is retrieved wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth Low Energy. From there it is sent to beekeeping.io to share with the world. BroodMinder-TH measures internal hive temperature and humidity and BroodMinder-W measures hive weight and outside temperature.
Over 2000 BroodMinders are already built.
The world’s bee population is threatened. Many backyard beekeepers are motivated by their concern for the world’s ecology, and want to be a part of the solution.
BroodMinder is acting in partnership with Beekeeping.io to create a worldwide database from the hives of backyard beekeepers. This information will be available as public domain for analysis by anyone who wants to participate.
The BroodMinder app can send the beekeeper’s hive data to the Cloud with just a push of a button. There, they can see their own hive’s graphs as well as those uploaded by other beekeepers in their region or anywhere in the world. The information can be examined to define “normal” hive conditions in particular areas, compare and test the interventions recorded, and ultimately define “best practices” to foster bee survival.
The goal of the BroodMinder Citizen Science project is to gather the data of 10,000 hives. The greater the data set, the more likely it is that significant differences can be revealed. For consistency, the “Citizen Science Bundle” would monitor hive weight, temperature above the lower box, and temperature and humidity above the top box.
The goal is to have 10,000 monitored hives sharing their data by the end of 2017. Data available from the hundreds of hives already being monitored will be included and valued.
By utilizing the latest in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and integrated circuit temperature and humidity chips, we have developed the industry-leading, affordable brood monitoring device.
Designed to last over a year on a single, replaceable coin cell, the BroodMinder provides continuous service throughout the winter “no matter how endless it may seem” eliminating the need to open the hive.
The BroodMinder logs and stores measurements once every hour for the entire year. This means that at any time, you can retrieve and analyze the data, thus allowing for early preparation for next season.
Bluetooth Low Energy communication, no wires, no setup dance. It just works!
Free iPhone or Android app to wirelessly collect data from the scale.
Free cloud storage of collected data
Open BLE advertisement protocol for the hacking enthusiast
See our installation video here.
See our user guide here.
The BroodMinder Citizen Science package includes all three BroodMinder devices. With this configuration of your hive, you will be able to compare data with all the other BroodMinder hives on beekeeping.io.
BroodMinder-W goes under the hive
BroodMinder-TH goes on top of each brood box
The BroodMinder-TH has been designed to meet the needs of the beekeeper. Housed in a low profile (1/4″), bee-resistant wrapper, the BroodMinder sits on top of your brood or super frames so that any heat and humidity created by the bees is recorded as it rises to the top of the hive.
Accurate to 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 3% relative humidity, you will notice the slightest of changes, allowing intervention before it is too late.
BroodMinder-TH (Temperature and humidity) $60.00
The design of the BroodMinder-W is simple and focused. There is no need to add bells and whistles, “Just give me an accurate weight man!”
400-pound total hive weight measurement (250% overload capacity)
0.01 pound (5 gram) resolution
Stores weight once per hour for six months (user configurable)
Replaceable coin cell battery lasts six months
16.25” x 2.5” x 1.5” Durable white oak body top and aluminum base
Weatherproof, UV resistant cover
BroodMinder-W (Hive weight scale) $149.00
Where’s the app? – Version 2.40 of the app is available in your favorite app store.
Is there a way to share my data with the community? – YES! Go to Beekeeping.io and set up an account. You may then upload your BroodMinder data and store it there. Once you send it, it becomes public domain data and will be shared with anybody who wants to analyze it. Basic use of Beekeeping.io is free. Plus, the BroodMinder app has all this built right in. It is very easy to share with your friends.
Will people know where my hive is? – No. We only keep location data by zip code.
Can I see this public data? – Yes you can. Go to BeeCounted.org and you can see the live data. We are still working on features for this site. Before long you will be able to view graphs of the data also.
Can I tell the difference between sensors? – Each and every BroodMinder will have a unique Device ID. It looks something like this: “42:45:A4”. The Device ID is printed on every circuit board and visible through the cover so that you read it. You also notice a flap at the end of the BroodMinder. This part is designed to stick outside of the hive. You can write the Device ID or any other name you like on the flap and then see it even if the hive is closed up.
How do I use the data? – We have included a chapter about this in the BroodMinder user guide.
What web resources are there regarding winter hive temperatures? – A great paper is “The thermology of wintering honey bee colonies” by Charles Owens, US Department of Agriculture. November 1971. It’s available from the USDA National Agriculture Library here.
What is the accuracy? – BroodMinder-TH is accurate to 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 3% relative humidity.
How long will it log data? – The BroodMinder-TH will store a year’s worth of data that can be retrieved with the BroodMinder app.
Is the battery replaceable? – Yes
How long will the battery last? – It is designed to last well over a year. Replacing it during the fall harvest is the recommended procedure. The software warns you when it is time to replace the battery.
Will the BroodMinder last more than a year? – Once the battery is replaced, it will remain useful for many years to come.
What’s the range? – The Bluetooth range depends on a lot factors so it’s difficult to say for sure. We’ve tested two devices recently on several devices and they all work about the same. In an open field, we can get 200 feet. However, once it in the hive (Langstroth w/metal top) we can just barely get 50 feet most of the time. At 10-20 feet it works very reliable. We have tested using iPhone 4s, iPhone 6, iPad 2, iPad Air, Samsung Galaxy S4, & Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.
Do you have a pamphlet that I can share with my club? – Yes. e-mail us at info.BroodMinder.com and we will send some to you. Or you can print your own from this PDF file.
Will the bees like it? – We don’t know if they like it, but they don’t hate it. The BroodMinder has been designed to co-exist with bees. We have not seen them coat it with propolis, but even if they do, it will function fine.
What about the RF (Radio Frequency) danger to bees? – We are purposely using Class 3, Low Energy Bluetooth. the lowest Bluetooth power setting. It is thousands of times less than a cell phone or WIFI connection. Additionally, we only transmit that hourly data once every 5-10 seconds. These factors lead this to be the safest device available for your bees.
What’s this thing called FLIR? – Forward Looking InfraRed devices take thermal images. Heat gives off waves just like light that can be detected by these very cool sensors. They are becoming popular and relatively cheap. They will not tell you the temperature inside though. To get that, you would have to open the lid and take the FLIR image. However, it will tell you if your hive box is warm, just like your hand, only more sensitive. It’s very cool technology, but doesn’t give me what I want; real data from inside the hive.
What if I have another question? – Well, if it relates to BroodMinder, send it to us at support@BroodMinder.com and we will try to answer it.
BroodMinder – Bee Health Telemetry
Beekeeping.io – Dave Strickler – Dave Strickler bought one of the very first BroodMinders and he contacted us in early December to offer his vast expertise to store the BroodMinder public data. So after a few discussions, Dave created a new service, Beekeeping.io. Dave shares the same vision as BroodMinder:
Rich Morris – Enthusiastic Apiarist, President of IF, LLC. Rich has spent 30+ years developing products for the medical, scientific, and consumer worlds. His resume is here. He has recently embarked on a new career, dedicated to developing devices for bees and beekeepers. He is an electrical engineer by training, system engineer and project manager by trade. Rich lives on the Yahara river in Stoughton Wisconsin, has three bee hives, and likes long walks on the beach.
Matt Soucoup – Talented Software Developer. Matt develops software for a living. An accomplished web designer, he has turned his attention in the last 4 years to developing phone apps and software for the “Internet of Things”. Matt lives in Madison Wisconsin and is living the dream.
Nick Higbee – Super Cool Industrial Design and Graphic Artist. Nick has been doing graphic design and product development for many years. He has created trendsetting store displays as well as world class graphic designs for consumer and commercial products. Nick brings “hip” to the team. Nick is also lead guitarist for Higbee, Higbee, the band so nice, you say it twice.
Marcel van den Elst – Entrepreneur and European Representative. Marcel is Dutch and the most socialy developed of the team with possible exception of Courtney. He knows people across the globe and what better person to have as a representative in Europe. He is taking time from his own startup company to help out with BroodMinder.
Mike Fuller – Quality Assurance. Mike is a beekeeper and very excited to see this product come out. So excited in fact that is is volunteering to do beta testing for us. He also has contacts in the media. Quite a useful and very nice guy. We’re lucky to have him helping.
Sara Hilt – Marketing Manager. The best addition to the team so far has been Sara. She is super enthusiastic and she knows her way around Facebook/Pinterest/Etsy/Reddit/etc./etc./etc. Sarais terrifically smart too. She’s got it all going on. Based in Madison, she will be reaching out to clubs and distributors to spread the word. You go girl!
Duane Kaufman – Staff Physicist Everyone should have a staff physicist. And if you’re going to have one, there is none better than Duane. Duane recently agreed to join the team to help perfect the hive scale. to quote Duane “I absolutely love strain gauges!” (Strain gauges are what are inside electronic scales). He will supercharge the effort and insure that we have a top quality product when it comes out. While being into many diverse areas, one of his favorites is Minneapolis-Moline tractors. According to him, you can never have to many, you can only have a barn that’s too small.
Theo Hartmann – Staff Cheerleader Theo has become famous for his quote “This is a dream come true.” Theo is Swiss by birth and has the wonderful accent to prove it. Now he lives in Virginia and tends his ever growing apiaries. He has really put the BroodMinder-TH and BroodMinder-W designs through their paces. His end game is to help create better and better devices.
Tina Hogle – Author/Poet Tina is another one of those super enthusiastic people. Originally from the capital region of New York, she has settled for the last 10 years in Madison. She is terrific help with wordsmithing our message. She is also the author/illustrator of The Place Where Love Lives. Check it out!
Rudy Bankston – Lead Copy Editor The author of Shed So Many Tears, Rudy make us sound smart. We really are, but English and writing are not our fortes, so we love it that Rudy translates our jargon and makes certain that our participles match our verbs (whatever that means). Rudy is with us in Madison.
BroodMinder – Bee Health Telemetry
On this page you will find all of the support materials. Please contact us using Support@BroodMinder.com if you have further questions or suggestions.
Check out our BROODMINDER FORUM for discussions and answers to common questions
Installing BroodMinder into your Hive
After you pull out the battery tab, you will notice that the Unique ID is printed it. This is a label, so if you peal off the backing, you can stick it to the area marked “Hive:” which will remain readable after you close up the hive. This is very nice if you have more than one BroodMinder-TH and a short memory. You can also write on that area with a permanent marker. If you do, it’s a good idea to put a piece of tape over it to protect it from the weather.
We like to place the sensor (the fat part of the BroodMinder-TH) near the top center of the hive. We do this because heat rises. Plus you can’t really drop it into the middle of the cluster because the cluster will move throughout the winter. The top is also a good area because this is where condensation will form. Relative Humidity (RH) goes up as temperature goes down. When RH reaches 100%, you get liquid water which will drip down onto your bees.
We also like to place a unit on the bottom board with the tongue sticking out under the entrance reducer. In that location it does a good job of measuring the outside temperature while remaining protected from the elements. (Your BroodMinder-TH is not waterproof!)
Loading the App
Android users – Go to the Android Play Store on your device and search for BroodMinder. Install BroodMinderLite just as you would any other app. Please note that because of Bluetooth LE, you must have Android version 4.3 or newer. You can find this by going to “Settings | General | Android Version”.
iOS users – Go to the Apple App Store and search for BroodMinder. You should be able to load the app from there. Please note that you must have an iPhone 4s or newer. If you are using an iPad, then it needs to be an iPad 3rd generation or newer.
Running the App
The BroodMinder app is starting out life very simply. Once you run the app, it will find all BroodMinders that you have pulled the tab out of.
Managing the App
New Measurements – Every time the BroodMinder app receives a new reading, it is displayed at the top of the screen and the older readings are pushed down.
Pull to Refresh – by dragging down on the display, you can force the app to take a new reading and refresh the screen. Tip: The BroodMinder takes a new temperature and humidity reading once per hour. That reading is broadcast once every 4 seconds. If you refresh the screen, you will not usually see new temp/RH data, but the signal level will change. By refreshing the screen and watching the signal level (which is scaled from 0-100) you can tell how far away you can get and still read your BroodMinder (typically about 20-25 feet).
Add Name – by tapping the green name, you can replace the Unique ID with your own text
Add Image – by tapping the image, the camera will be displayed and you can photograph your hive. Android users – choose Google Camera if you are given a choice.
Settings – Temperature Scale – change the displayed temperature to Celcius if you like it better
Settings – Email Data Log – this will make an e-mail with a CSV (comma separated values) text file of the data on your phone/tablet that you can send out via e-mail
Settings – Delete Database – this will delete the BroodMinder data stored on your phone/tablet
Graphing – tapping the black hive text will take you to the graphing page where you can retrieve and view your hour-by-hour data.
I am getting no readings – Make sure the battery tab is removed from the BroodMinder and that the battery is securely seated.
I am still getting no readings – Make sure that BlueTooth is available and enabled on your device. iPhone 4s or newer, iPad2 or newer. Android you will have to check as there are many different models.
How can I get the full data log? – Rest assured that your BroodMinder is storing the hour-by-hour readings in the device. You can retrieve this data with version 2 of the app on the graphing screen.
How do I interpret my battery reading? – The battery reading is approximate. As it closes in on 0%, you should first read the Hour-by-Hour log and then replace the battery. When the battery is dead or removed, the data in the BroodMinder device is lost so make sure to get it to your phone or Beekeeping.io before this happens.
Recall of Generation 1 BroodMinders 6/13/16
Two weeks after the distribution of our first BroodMinder device, Texas Instruments (TI) recalled the humidity sensor we used because it was inaccurate in a high humidity environment. SIEP#57 recall also fessed up that the sensor would drift up 15% in 18 months. This was devastating news to get.
The BroodMinder-TH Gen 2 device has dropped the TI sensor entirely and incorporated a new humidity sensor which TI admitted was best in class according to their competitive analysis. We have tested it extensively and found it to be excellent.
We are doing a full recall and will ship, free of charge, replacements to anyone returning the Gen 1 devices. The recall is underway, you can get more information by writing to us at Support@BroodMinder.com.
We stand fully behind our products with absolute loyalty to our customers.
You can e-mail us at: info@BroodMinder.com
Find us on Facebook at: Facebook.com/BroodMinder
Tri-fold pamphlets: e-mail us and we will send some to you or you can print your own from this PDF file.
Our global headquarters is at
BroodMinder World Headquaters
700 Taylor Lane
Stoughton WI 53589
BroodMinder – Bee Health Telemetry