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Software shows just how busy honeybees are

BOONE—A web application for beekeepers called Hive Tracks, co-developed by a faculty member in Appalachian State University’s Department of Computer Science, is now being used by bee keepers in 142 countries to track beehive activity. There are currently more than 16,000 registered users of Hive Tracks, including beekeepers in Tanzania.

View larger imageBeekeepers can keep track of hive activity and bee health with software called Hive Tracks co-developed by an Appalachian State University professor. (Photo by Todd Bush courtesy of Hive Tracks)View larger image

“It’s grown very organically through conference presentations, social media and word of mouth,” said Hive Tracks cofounder Dr. James Wilkes, a beekeeper and chair of the Department of Computer Science.

While the web-based and smart phone application was initially free in its beta version, the developers now charge a maximum $5 a month for the application which facilitates software updates. Beekeepers use the program to track and store information about their hives and hive activity, such as the location of hives, bee productivity and health, and to record hive inspections, along with other information useful in making management decisions.

Registered aparies, or beehives, include those in the U.S., across Europe, Africa, China and Saudi Arabia.

Wilkes is consulting with a bee supplier who is working with the Tanzanian government to use beekeeping as an economic development engine for villages in that country.

“We want to help beekeepers and let them know what other people are doing in their neighborhood and give them the tools and information to make good decisions,” Wilkes said in a 2014 TEDX talk in Hickory. To learn more about beekeeping and computing, Wilkes’ talk is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFkaq_7a5B0.

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