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HiveTool is an open source project comprised of beekeepers who work with technology as technicians, engineers, programmers and database and system administrators. Our goal is to produce software and hardware tools to monitor, manage and research bees and honey production. has software, hardware recommendations, instructions, plans and user manuals. provides real time access to the network of hives. Hive data for research is warehoused at The Data Center for Honeybee Research.

Hivetool is an entirely free and open project. No person gets paid for developing Hivetool full time. We do this voluntarily, mostly in our spare time. A company may pay individual developers to work on hivetool, but that's up to each company and developer. It is not controlled by nor supervised in any way by the project.

We get help from organizations. The Center for Honeybee Research provides web site, bandwidth, mailing lists etc, hosts project services we take advantage of, like the bug tracker, and github hosts the primary git repository. Some associations have sponsored development in the past and hopefully will continue to do so in the future. If you want to support our project, consider a donation or a banner-program or even better: install a system and help with coding, documenting, testing, and data collection.

The software is Linux based, although it should run on Windows. Readily available, commercial, off the shelf, consumer grade (low cost) hardware is used. The software supports as many different brands of hardware as possible, to avoid being locked into one vendor, technology or computing platform as technology advances so rapidly.

A database is being populated with every variable we can measure, both in the hive (e.g. weight, temperature, humidity, bee counts, audio, video), ambient conditions (solar radiation, barometric pressure, rain, wind, dew point), and hive parameters (location, elevation, orientation, hive design, foundation material, etc.) The data is both for our own research and management and for any other beekeeper, researcher or student for data mining.

There are currently over 30 hives on-line in California, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Other facets of the project in the works are a smart phone app that will interface to the scale, temperature probes, etc for remote yards and a video camera bee counter.

All the data is available for download by anyone at anytime. We welcome engineers, programmers, scientists, researchers, bee keepers, and citizen scientists from anywhere around the world and invite you to join our effort.

Open Source/Open Notebook

Hivetool is an open source project. Wikipedia defines open source as a) universal access via free license to a product's design or blueprint, and b) universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone.

Originally, open source just applied to software, then hardware. Hivetool also open sources the data and research results (open notebook).

Again from Wikipedia: Open notebook is the practice of making the entire primary record of a research project publicly available online as it is recorded. There is no 'insider information'. It is the logical extreme of transparent approaches to research and explicitly includes the making available of failed, less significant, and otherwise unpublished experiments.

We want peer review to start at the beginning of the experimental process to make the research as quick and efficient as possible. Why wait until the experiment ends with poor results to point out the flaws in the experimental techniques?


  1. Hive Management: Help the beekeeper determine when to feed, split, super and provide data to validate or invalidate beekeeping lore, practices, equipment, techniques, treatments.
  2. Climate and Land Use Research: Provide data to NASA for analysis. Eventually do our own research as the hive database is built up over time.
  3. Education and Bee Science: Attract students to education and science.