How To Annotate Your BIP Hive Scale Data

Hopefully by now you all have your mites under control and are well on your way in preparing your hives for winter!  If you are operating a hive scale and forwarding your data to the Bee Informed Partnership, as your beekeeping season begins to wind down and you have more time to spare, we’d strongly encourage you to login to the BIP hive scale portal and annotate your scale data.

While many of the “BIP Ready” scales available to beekeepers today collect data well beyond hive weight, the weight of you colony is perhaps the most informative in understanding what is going on in the colony.  Technically, it is not the weight so much but the change in weight over time that provides us with a better understanding of the condition of the colony.  The weight of the colony is often impacted by factors that are external to the activities of the bees themselves.  For example, you the beekeeper, may add or remove equipment, harvest honey, or feed your bees.  These activities of course impact the weight of the colony.  The weather may also effect the weight of the colony.  For example, in a northern climate a major snow storm might result in a significant amount of snow accumulating on the hive’s cover, and subsequently melting over several days.

To help the Bee Informed Partnership better understand / interpret the scale data you send us, it is very important that you login to the portal and annotate these types of events that may impact the weight of your colony.  While its better to annotate your data regularly over time, even if you haven’t done this at all in the past, you should be able to tag the most important events for the entire beekeeping season within a few minutes or less.  Actually, all of the data (past seasons as well!) is available to you on the portal, so if you tweak the date range on your hive scale graph you can also retrieve and annotate previous seasons as well.

To encourage you to complete this important task soon, we’ve put together a short video tutorial (only 4.5 minutes!) which you’ll find embedded below.  Please watch the video and then help improve the quality of the scale data you send us by making sure you annotate our scale data as soon as possible.

Written By: Jonathan Engelsma

Jonathan Engelsma has written 4 post in this blog.

Jonathan Engelsma is a Professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University, where he is responsible for the Bee Informed Partnership’s hive scale portal implementation.  Jonathan lead’s GVSU’s Mobile Applications and Services Laboratory and has numerous publications and patents in mobile computing. Dr. Engelsma earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University in 1993. He has over two decades of industry experience, including 16 years in various research and development positions with Motorola. Jonathan began keeping bees as a high school student in the 1980s, and today with his wife Mieke, maintains a small sideline beekeeping operation in the W. Michigan area.

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One Response to “How To Annotate Your BIP Hive Scale Data”

  1. susanrudnicki

    Just letting y’all know, this may apply only to those in the temperate climes “….as your beekeeping season begins to wind down ….” We in Southern California, using feral survivor stock bees are going into a strong honey producing season, drones like crazy, swarms still coming, and varroa managed efficiently and effectively by the bees themselves—no mite counting or treatments. Foundationless and no queen excluders. Pepper trees and melaleucas in heavy bloom. I’m keeping up on my notations to BIP