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Catch box

The device I have been working on is for detecting bees moving into a catch box.  I’ve been caught out more than once, by having this happen without my noticing for a couple of weeks (remote location).  Results in loads of wild comb and necessitates a cut out.

Internals showing board, antenna and Lipo.

So a LoRa (or cellular of course) Arduino with an infrared or ultrasonic distance sensor can monitor a catch box and detect a cluster of bees.

IR sensor mounted in a super seen from below)

More LoRa

Many travails in attempts to reduce power requirements so that devices can run on disposable battery for a couple of years. The boards I was using from 2 major manufacturers do not seem to be very well optimised for low power during sleep use. But the Rocket Scream (RS) devices turn out to be just the thing.

MOSFET is tiny black component in middle of breadboard.  The ultrasonic sensor is facing front.

However, running sensors from the 3.3V pins on an Arduino means that the sensors continue to draw power (mA) even though the board is asleep (uA). Tried to power the sensors from a digital pin, but these can only deliver 7mA and sensors require 8! Advised by the very helpful RS proprietor to use a MOSFET. Out of my electronics depth, but after a bit of study, bingo. The MOSFET acts as a switch, powered by a digital pin and delivering the full current to the sensor. And only costs 70c.

This Season’s Grafting

22 out of 25 takes this batch and similar success last time!  I seem to have got the grafting technique reasonably worked out.  Still able to make a fool of things though as the previous batch I transferred to a too weak cell finisher and they must have been abandoned or got cold as they didn’t survive.  This time I’ve put half the cells in a stronger finisher and left half in the  swarm box.

As far as the cell starter, I’ve been using a swarm box and making sure it is strong.  By moving it from the originating apiary I can let it fly and ensure no loss of bees.

I’ll probably keep the swarm box going by converting it to a LaFerney/Clemens Beginner to Beginner system for the next batch.