BeagleBone Black project spotlight: The BeeDome

By Tara Stratton

ForestDew Apiaries, located in Ottawa, Ontario, has been keeping,
testing and trying 20 strains of bees from all over the world for
13 years.

They pride themselves on coming up with innovative products and
solutions in the bee industry, and their BeeDome is definitely one
of these solutions.

The BeeDome is a system to control the environment of indoor
nucleus colonies (nucs) where small honey bees are kept indoors
over the winter months. The BeeDome extends the bee breading season
so ForestDew can offer strong, healthy nucs to beekeepers early in
the spring at reasonable prices to replace bees lost over winter.
This is especially important in northern climates where winter
creeps in early. After more than five years of research and
prototyping, ForestDew Aparies is now live trialing the BeeDome.
ForestDew Apiaries puts its nucs into the BeeDome in later November
for the winter, where they are kept in environmental conditions
that ensure minimal food store consumption. ForestDew Apiaries
credits the BeeDome for helping it deliver reasonable priced,
quality bees to its customers.

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Image credit: ForestDew Apiaries

The BeeDome is a computerized system based on the
Sitara-processor
-powered BeagleBone Black computer
as well as a specially designed
“cape” plug-in board. BeagleBone Black is connected to the Internet,
and stats are uploaded periodically to a website so that the company
can closely monitor the nucs. The BeeDome also integrates GE
Telaire T6613/T6615 and MG811 sensors to monitor the CO2 level;
DS18B20 sensors to monitor temperature; DH22 sensors to monitor
humidity and temperature; and Sharp COM-10636 SSR devices to
control 120V devices.

“Bee” sure to check out
ForestDew Apiaries’ website
for more information on this
“unbeelievable” project!

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