Hive Sentry®

At Bee Alert we are constantly trying to improve our systems to best suit the bee keeper. Please fill out a questionaire about the HiveSentry®, and what functions you'd like to see.

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Please mail or fax your completed survey to:

Bee Alert Technology, Inc.
1620 Rodger St Suite #1
Missoula, MT 59802
Fax: (406) 541-3161

Hive Sentry® is intended to safeguard colonies from theft, vandalism, and bears, as well as to monitor and report changes in the beehive or local weather. As with a home security system, you start with a basic setup and add components to fit your needs.

A basic system can be as simple as a communications device (either a cell phone or satellite transmitter), the global position (GPS) of the apiary, and a motion sensor in the beehive. A more complete system adds bee management sensors (e.g., a hive or pallet scale, rain gauge, temperature in the brood nest, GPS tracking, and even a radio-frequency tag reader that can be used to monitor other hives in a beeyard).

Communications:

Most beekeepers will want to receive alarms and messages from the beeyard on their cell phone or PC. We offer satellite communications (Hive Sat™) as low as $5 per month for up to 20 messages. True GPS tracking can be added, as needed. In the U.S., alarm response time is generally under three minutes from time of event to receipt of a text message on your phone. The satellite system uses an alarm-based messaging approach to save costs. Rather than sending lots of information through the satellites, it provides an alert when something is out of compliance – a hive is moving, gate is open, temperatures exceed a set level.

Hive Sensors:

You have several options in terms of sensors and transmitters to protect hives from damage or theft, including hive or pallet-based motion detectors, GPS tracking, and easily hidden markers for hives and equipment.

Once you have communications from the beeyard, you may want to do more with the system in order to get a fuller return on your investment. Our satellite system currently allows monitoring of hive temperatures, both in the beeyard and during transport on trucks. A door contact switch can be affixed to the gate to the beeyard or door of a bear trap. The satellite unit can simultaneously monitor four external devices. If we don’t have a sensor that suits your needs, we can probably locate or fabricate one.

We intend to have a more complete hive management product line available this coming summer. Our highest priority is a pallet-based weighing system. Our long-term objective is to enable you to monitor hives on a pallet from afar, knowing whether the colonies are rapidly gaining or losing weight, whether they are queen-right or not, and whether the colonies are healthy, sick, or dying.

Hive Marker™ and Hive Tracker™ These are radio-frequency identification tags and beacons that have specific uses for invisibly marking equipment as belonging to you and for monitoring movement of a hive or pallet within a beeyard.

Hive Marker™ is an inexpensive, paper-thin tag using a tiny memory chip, radio transmitter and receiver. A copper foil antenna enables these tags to be easily read from 5-20 ft. The tags have no battery and can be hidden in wood, under a breakout bar of a frame, or embedded in plastic. They also come in a peel-and-stick form for retro fitting old equipment (i.e., place inside the box). These tags are difficult or impossible for a thief to find, should last the life of the equipment, and can be used to identify stolen property as yours or to inventory all of the marked equipment.

From a food safety standpoint, these tags can be placed in each honey super, automatically read as the boxes pass through an extractor, and traced to barrels marked with a version of the tag that uses the barrel itself as an antenna. The advantage is that you could trace an individual lot of honey to the yard of origin, or to follow honey from a yard to the exact barrels sent to a packer.

A special reader is required to detect and read these tags. The energy from the reader’s radio transmitter wakes up the tag and causes it to broadcast its identification (ID) information. Each tag has a unique ID code, and the information on the tag can be changed by a reader, but only if you have the proper encryption code.

If your primary purpose is to be able to identify your equipment, if it is ever stolen, we do not recommend that you buy a reader. We will loan one to you or the appropriate law enforcement personnel. If you want the full inventory potential of these tags, then we can sell you a reader, ranging from a warehouse system to a hand-held scanner.

Hive Tracker™ is a beacon. It’s a battery-powered, radio transmitter and motion detector. The battery should last 7 years and costs little to replace. Hive Tracker™’s primary use is for monitoring hives and pallets for movement, as well as reading the identification of equipment and its owner from a standoff distance of 400-800 ft, or up to a half-mile from an airplane. Hive Tracker™ is not a GPS-enabled tracking system and can not be tracked by satellite.

However, it is a relatively inexpensive way of watching large numbers of hives or pallets within a large holding yard. Place Hive Trackers™ in pallets, set a reader among the pallets, and connect the reader to a communications system (either Hive Sat® or cellular phone), and you will receive a text message from your beeyard the moment someone lifts a hive or pallet. The advantage of Hive Tracker™ is that it is much cheaper than a GPS-enabled tracking device, allowing you to mark many more hives or pallets. The disadvantage is that when you get a call you need someone nearby to intercept the thief.

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