Monday, March 25, 2019

Location of the old hives

Looking from the North, a viewing area on Bay Rd.
Along Bay Rd. we have a triangular piece of elevated land where the existing hives are located.  I spent several hours trying to reach where two of the hives are as the bittersweet had grown in so densely I couldn't get past it!  Also found was buckthorn. That's for another day. Lots of invasive species along that entire roadway choking the trees and even killing a big elm that is now in danger of falling.

This portion is a good 10-15' higher than the field, and there is a utility pole with power and cable on the corner, and a utility shed owned by the town.

Running a power line from the corner over to the field would require placement of one more pole, but the cost will be very high.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bee Science Farm to use recycled Tesla batteries in instrument trailer

Weather protection and safety guidelines require an enclosure.

An important part of the Bee Science Farm mission is to develop techniques to monitor and report pollinating insect population changes over time. We need a consistent source of power to operate the two-dozen ground mounted microphones, amplifiers and data recorders, not to mention the computer and the wifi link. This is a big challenge.

Some other creative people have figured out how to do this within a small space of a utility type cargo trailer.  Here is an interesting website that shows a food cart powered by a used Tesla battery and the image here is from that site. 

Tesla batteries are very expensive, require exact charge controls, and can't be allowed to freeze or be overcharged.  Our system will use two Tesla Model S battery packs salvaged from wrecked cars. The control electronics consist of a charge controller that takes voltage from the roof mounted solar panels, an inverter, and temperature and other controls.  Over 4.5 kWh per battery pack can be expected which is amazing considering one pack weighs only 55 pounds. Unfortunately, even this amount of power will not run all of our instruments, let alone the needed irrigation pump for phase 2.  Another problem has been the safety of the Tesla batteries which can catch fire if overcharged, requiring us to abandon our hope of unattended operation. Yet another concern is security, even thought the neighbors (pretty far away) are supportive, there is always the potential for human and animal mischief, requiring even more power to run the alarm and electric fence that will surround the instruments to keep curious browsers away from expensive cables.

Right across the street on Bay Rd. behind Pride gas station is a Tesla charge station! Interesting coincidence, or fate?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bee Science Farm basic habitat plantings

Above is a link to an article that also recommends pretty much what Bee Science Farm in Hadley will create as a habitat for bee study.  And here is an aerial view of the farm looking at Bay Rd. in Hadley across from the Hampton Inn. The triangle of land at the top is partly within the property boundary, and the strip to its right is at least 20' above the level of the field. Next year plantings in the field will include clover and native-only wildflowers, and up the middle will be a path to the research platform which initially will just be a portable base that can be moved to different spots. Since there is no electricity, all the equipment will have to be solar-powered, and data from instruments will have to be relayed over either a cellular link, or perhaps via a wifi link to a LAN connection somewhere across the street.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Soundwave Research Labs prepares bee microphones

At Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc. in Ashland Massachusetts we have developed a number of new sensors that can be used for studying the acoustic emissions of bees. Bee sounds have been studied and measured in the past - see this study - and there is some reason to think that control of the acoustic environment may affect bee behavior.

Soundwave is known for its microphones and in the past developed Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones, now produced by Shure, Inc. - the world's largest mic maker. 

Bob Crowley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Soundwave 
Research, Crowley and Tripp, New55, RF Venue and Bee Science 
Farms in Hadley MA. Here Crowley presents microphones at an 
audio conference. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

A view of the Bee Science property

The Bee Science Farm field in Hadley is located between Bay Rd. and Aqua Vitae Rd and is a long, narrow 7+ acre strip of nearly flat farmland. We are looking South from Bay Rd in this view and you can see the 230' of frontage along Bay Rd, opposite the Hampton Inn.  At the lower right corner there is a town utility shed with some sort of equipment in it, hidden by the overgrown bushes and trees.

Looking Southward in this view, there is a stream that pools somewhat in the foreground.  Access to the field is difficult from Bay Rd because of this water feature, so we think that rather than try to create a pathway, there is enough land to create a lookout spot from the North.  That part of the land is at least 25' higher than the rest, and should provide a nice overall view to the field.

You might have noticed that the fields don't seem to line up perfectly with the property lines: This is OK because the farmer also farmed adjacent plots.  Later on the rows of wildflower and clover should help delineate the property as well.

It's mostly on facebook for now