Bee or not to bee: Polish scientists to peep into hive intimacy

Since time immemorial bees have amazed humans with their industriousness but even today their hives withhold precious secrets. Geared with the “Smartula” monitoring system, the scientists of the Gdańsk University of Technology (PG) are now bent on scooping out interesting data from the kingdom of the striped insects.

With the “Smartula” monitoring system co-designed by Tymoteusz Cejrowski of the Department of Electronics, Telecommunication and Computer Sciences of the PG, scientists are able to gather data that are crucial to beekeepers. These are temperature, humidity and frequency of sounds generated inside the hive.

What makes the “Smartula” a particularly desirable monitoring system is that it uses a set of sensors to collect and provide beekeepers with all the vital data without opening up the hive, which is quite detested by its inhabitants.

To continue improving the system, the scientists erected three hives on the PG campus premises. But there is also another purpose for the experiment and that is to compare honey produced by city bees and its rural equivalent.

“It turns out that the honey produced in rural areas is often lacking on the side of quality. The chemicalization of agriculture is very intense and fine particles of organic pollutants are brought with the pollen into the hive, making its way into honey afterwards. Smog, which could possibly pollute honey, does not occur in Gdańsk and that is why we want to check out which type of honey [urban or rural] is of better quality,” said professor Robert Tylingo of the PG Chemistry Department.

The originator of the establishment of the three beehives at the PG premises is 12-year-old Bolek Jacaszek. The hives were designed by his grandfather and the costs of their production were entirely covered by Restudio Jacaszek Architects co-owned by the boy’s father Maciej Jacaszek. The young bee-lover contributed part of his scholarship himself.