Australian Native Bees | News & Info

Humidity Monitoring – Updated

As with other tests done on this site, this process may take years to get good results. The sensor probes may need to be replaced or cleaned occasionally. Other variables with humidity levels might be temperature, amount of empty space inside the box, strength of colony, weather etc.


Sensor installs and charts

Humidity sensors/probes have been installed in to four boxes at the start of 2023. All with Tetragonula carbonaria colonies. Charts below may show different colonies at different times. At the moment the probes are all in the corner area and not in the brood area, so I’ve called it the “Honey Pot Area”.


February 2023

Below chart: You can ignore the temperatures. I have just added temperatures from different colonies to compare with. Colony 6 (green) is the one with the humidity sensors in it and it’s the one we’re following. The humidity levels are fairly consistent between 70 and 80%. You can see Colony 6 brood temperature is a bit low after the split.


Below Chart: Looks like a consistent increase in humidity from 75 at the start to 85%. Honey Pot humidity appears more stable but it’s possible the bees have plastered the sensor with resin.

Photo below: Two weeks progress building structure and plastering the sensor mesh with resin.


March 2023

Below chart and photo: Highlighted in red “Colony 6 honey pot humidity” is a bit too consistent. The sensor didn’t have mesh on it and was plastered with resin inside and likely giving an incorrect reading. Now replaced with a new clean sensor with mesh to keep the bees and resin out. You can compare the other “dash” lines which are both Honey Pot areas.

Edit*: ( I changed the “brood humidity” to “honey pot” because it’s not in contact with the brood at the moment )

Chart below: Shows the Honey Pot area humidity of three separate colonies. (2 sensors in Colony 6). You can see the sensor probe that was replaced in Colony 6 and the correction in data of the red line since then. Colony humidity is hovering around 75 to 85%. A little increase with the rain.


April 2023

Chart Below: Looks like we have a problem! I suspect the sensors either, 1. aren’t protected enough from the colony and resin may be getting in to the electronics of the probes or, 2. are completely encapsulated in resin and are only sensing humidity in an isolated pocket and not the open colony.

Observations for now: The first couple of days for colony 3 i believe would be accurate information with humidity hovering between 70 and 85%.

What’s next?: The challenge is to figure out a way to have the sensor be exposed to the colony humidity, but not be encapsulated by resin? I will remove and check some of the sensors to get a better idea of what’s happened. Some of the sensors had two layers of mesh around them.

May 2023

I removed the probes from the colony. They’re completely encapsulated with resin, so are only getting data from an isolated space and not giving the open colony humidity.

I think the previous chart shows the correct data at the start with around 70 to 85% being the general relative humidity inside a colony.

The question is…. How do you keep the probe open to the colony so we can monitor over time?

Photos show the mesh that surrounds the probe to be completely filled in with resin, and the last photo shows the probe without the mesh, which is still in good condition so I don’t think the electronics of the sensor were effected.


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