CARE Faculty and Brazilian Researchers publish paper on combining datasets to predict hive health

January 13, 2020

By Andrew Scott


Associate Research Fellow for the Center for Analytics Research & Education (CARE) Antonio Rafael Braga, Ph.D. Candidate recently published “A method for mining combined data from in-hive sensors, weather and apiary inspections to forecast the health status of honey bee colonies.” Associate Research Fellow, Richard Rogers M.Sc, Chief Data Officer for CARE and Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems, Dr. Edgar Hassler and Executive Director for CARE and Professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems, Dr. Joseph Cazier, were also authors on the paper. Braga is supervised by Prof. Danielo G. Gomes in the Sm@rtbee project who also co-authored the paper along with Prof. Breno Freitas, both from the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil.

"The development of research with the CARE team is a really stimulating experience. The work environment is very productive, with excellent support from Professors Joseph Cazier, Ed Hassler, and Richard Rogers. It has been a really important experience in my career," stated Braga. 

The research completed utilized real datasets from 6 apiaries and 27 Western honeybee hives over a three year time period. The datasets combined in the study included weather information, internal hive temperature, and weekly beekeeper inspection data to create the algorithms. Data collected for this study was done through the use of in-hive sensors, an emerging technology in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, where devices wirelessly connected to the internet share data. IoT can be anything from a wirelessly controlled lightbulb to a doorbell; however, CARE focuses on the ways that IoT can assist in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Braga tested the machine learning capabilities using three models: k-Nearest Neighbors, Random Forest and Neural Networks. 

"This paper shows the feasibility of merging sensors and apiary inspection data to predict colony bee health. This is a very good finding considering the common problems that beehives are facing, especially losses due to winter extremes and diseases. With these results, a trained machine learning model can be integrated into a colony monitoring system to forecast a dangerous state to colony life, and then, warn the beekeeper. Consequently, helping the beekeeper to do in advance procedures in the beehive to avoid losses," shared Braga.

The paper was recently accepted and published in the journal, Computer and Electronics in Agriculture, a popular source for cutting edge research on Computer Information Systems and the impact it can have on agriculture. According to the journal, “Computers and Electronics in Agriculture provides international coverage of advances in the development and application of computer hardware, software, electronic instrumentation, and control systems for solving problems in agriculture, including agronomy, horticulture (in both its food and amenity aspects), forestry, aquaculture, and animal/livestock farming.” 


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About the Center for Analytics Research & Education
The Center for Analytics Research & Education is housed within the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University. The mission of CARE is to engage and utilize the knowledge of our students, faculty and staff to help promote prosocial behavioral change within organizations and society. 


About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.



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Antonio Rafael Braga headshot
Published: Jan 13, 2020 3:50pm

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