The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Frank Linton

DS Tea
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 8:00pm

Title: Data Analytics for Honey Bee Health


Abstract: The pollination services that honey bees provide are essential to the nation’s food supply. Yet commercial beekeepers may lose half their colonies in a given year from pathogens, parasites, pesticides, and predators.


The technology needed to sense conditions within beehives and transmit early warnings of problems to beekeepers exists. These monitoring systems are for early adopters, as data is presented in charts and graphs, leaving interpretation of its meaning to the beekeeper. Still, these systems have begun to produce large data sets.


What is missing now is software to interpret the video, audio, weight, temperature, odor, CO2, etc., data streams to inform beekeepers that each colony is healthy and productive, or if not, what the nature of the problem might be. For this task, advanced data analytics methods appear to be called for.


Bio: Frank Linton, Ed.D. (UMass, Amherst, 1995), retired artificial intelligence engineer, has kept honey bees since 2005. An EAS-Certified Master Beekeeper, his main interest is in finding ways to use remote sensing technologies to monitor and improve honey bee colony health and productivity. Frank first monitored his colonies with economical indoor-outdoor thermometers and mechanical bathroom scales when winter weather prevented him from opening his colonies to inspect them. Author of The Observation Hive Handbook, maintainer of the websites and, contributor to beekeeping magazines, invited speaker at beekeeping associations and civic groups, and mentor to new beekeepers, Frank runs a few hives on his suburban deck and hosts one, a glass observation hive, in his dining room.