Announcement

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MAJOR REVISIONS, 2021

Bee Health Guru KS has been extensively revised. We have added user functions such as the ability to save your own records, map the locations of your colonies, produce a map of the health of your colonies by each of the eight health factors such as queen status, presence or absence of mites, foul brood, etc.

The mapping function is based on visual inspections. For the first time ever, each user can contribute to a global database of colony health variables in real-time, as soon as the visual inspection reports are uploaded with the acoustic recordings.

We are still asking for help with respect to calibrating the acoustics. We received thousands of recordings, but many were of poor quality or submitted without any inspection reports. For 2021, we are asking our community of citizen scientists to use a recommended external microphone - and please, don't sing or talk while recording your colonies.

Everyone who donated and received a copy of bee health guru ks should be able to download the 2021 upgrade, if you use the same email by which you received the original copy. If you donate again, you will be providing funds to add more user-friendly options.

If you belong to a bee association, consider organizing a group effort to help us plot bee health problems in real time and to continue to calibrate the app.

Thank you for your continued support. We are adding training videos and will start hosting live virtual meetings to meet with and talk to users about our app.
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Downloadable Instructions Under Articles

For 2021, we have added Instructions Sheets under Articles on the www.beehealth.guru site. These cover step-by-step screen shots of the upgraded app's screens, how to set up a Smart Lav+ microphone for use with the app, and how to create Barcode Hive ID tags using a Spreadsheet such as Excel.
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History and Rationale of the Bee Health Guru App

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  • History and Rationale of the Bee Health Guru App

    History and Rationale

    The Bee Health Guru smartphone application is designed for electronic colony health management. It is based on analyzing the sounds of a honey bee colony and is the culmination of over ten years of intensive research. The app, however, will not be accurate until it is tuned for a variety of smartphones, as well as regional variations in bee colony sound. This is a long-term project. The exact timing for when the tuning will be completed is unknown, as its history has already shown.

    In 2017, we mistakenly thought we'd have the app available in 90 days after initial Beta testing. However, based on feedback and issues discovered when the app was being used by beekeepers in other countries - e.g., the bees produce somewhat different sounds compared to North American bees, some upload systems stalled, we ended up making some substantive changes in the app. At that point, we set up a Kickstarter Project (May 2019) to recruit collaborators and provide funding for going forward with the tuning of the app.

    Bee Health Guru works very well with high-end digital recorders and desktop computers. Until recently, smartphones were too slow. With version 6 of the iPhone and Android operating systems, performance improved. By version 8, analyses on top-of-the-line phones took less than 15 seconds. However, the quality of internal microphones and audio cards vary by phone brand and phone model. In addition, as mentioned, we have discovered that bees have regional accents.

    Again, before the app can be trusted as a reliable, accurate diagnostic instrument, we need to screen phones for the quality of the recordings and tune the app for smartphones. To do that, we need app recordings, analyses, and colony inspection reports. The more recordings we get, for example, of colonies without laying queens versus colonies with laying queens, the better we can tune the app to recognize this condition. We literally train the app. It learns the sound patterns. But it doesn't learn on the phone itself. That's why we need to tune the app. The more users, the more reports, the more areas, the better the tune. We need to do this for all eight of the app's colony health factors.

    Unfortunately, just as we completed the May Kickstarter Project, our database service and upload system were bought out by a larger company, who radically increased prices. We have been working hard throughout June and July to swap out the backend database to our Bee Health Guru app. We have now completed that work. It was more extensive than one might imagine: first we had to select a new cloud provider, then we had to set up and configure the new solution, then we had to move our old data over and test that it was adequately there, then we had to send new data through the app and test that that data got into the new database, and finally we had to make sure we could access everything we needed in our new database.

    We are starting this BHGA citizen science research project with the funding and participation of 653 Kickstarter backers. They should receive a pre-release version of the app (August 2019).
    .
    We are now at what we believe is the very last step: configuring the app stores (Google and Apple) so that we can get the Bee Health Guru app to our official backers. Our most recent test of the apps stores threw up an error in that the app stores did not recognize the email addresses that we had registered in their systems! We had to figure out why Apple and Google do not want to have our app, but we think we now have it figured out. However, we strongly recommend that our Kickstarter participants read the App store download instructions before attempting to install the app. Android and iPhone stores have different installation procedures.

    Once tuned, the app is expected to be available in the Google and iPhone apps stores for purchase by small scale beekeepers or by subscription for professional beekeepers. Please be patient. Notices will be posted when each version of the app is accessible through the app stores. We anticipate a Community version of the app for backyard and small scale beekeepers. We have in development a Pro version for Commercial beekeepers. The Commercial app will allow crew members to scan lots of colonies. A summary report of each day's testing will be automatically compiled and sent to the appropriate field manager or owner.

    In all cases, our final objective is to provide in close to real-time, maps of incident reports from emergent bee health issues, as well as mapping of any spread of emergent problems. With our Cloud-based reporting, we should be able to automate this type of mapping, similar to the maps that the USA's Center for Disease Control provides to track human health issues such as the annual appearance and spread of influenza and measles outbreaks.
    The information provided by the Bee Health Guru is not intended to provide solutions to problems. It is given as a suggestion only. A multiplicity of factors could be impacting the health of your bees. We are not responsible for any health issues of your bees, including death, swarming, colony collapse, or issues arising from treatments as a result of any suggestions provided by the Bee Health Guru smartphone app, the Bee Health Guru team, or any answers posted in the accompanying BeeHealth.Guru online forum.

  • #2
    So, you want users to change the report with their own personal inspections and report that before the App has any AI.

    All my hives came back with similar results (none queen-less), yet I’m rather certain they are not all queen-right.

    So the AI is based on “facts” from beekeepers in the field? That’s the fine tuning? Good gracious. Please tell me I’m wrong.

    Oh, and the “?” for Not Normal” does not pop open a thing in my iPhone XS. The other “?” Do open up.

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    • #3
      I support your effort, but question the design of using random beekeeper inspections (I’m a USDA Bee Lab trained apiculturist with a Masters degree).

      Like any data... garbage in, garbage out.

      You will need a HUGE amount of data to rule out incorrect submissions. Truly, Good Luck.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SandyHamm View Post
        So, you want users to change the report with their own personal inspections and report that before the App has any AI.

        All my hives came back with similar results (none queen-less), yet I’m rather certain they are not all queen-right.

        So the AI is based on “facts” from beekeepers in the field? That’s the fine tuning? Good gracious. Please tell me I’m wrong.

        Oh, and the “?” for Not Normal” does not pop open a thing in my iPhone XS. The other “?” Do open up.
        Sandy, the Bee Health Guru app provides the AI report to the user first. What we're asking for is for the user to perform a personal inspection afterwards. The AI is based on a worldwide survey from professional beekeepers that gathered a proprietary database of sounds from hives that they'd verified had a particular health issue.

        We are now looking to build out and tune the app with our Kickstarter backers.

        iPhone 6 running Bee Health Guru
        The information provided by the Bee Health Guru is not intended to provide solutions to problems. It is given as a suggestion only. A multiplicity of factors could be impacting the health of your bees. We are not responsible for any health issues of your bees, including death, swarming, colony collapse, or issues arising from treatments as a result of any suggestions provided by the Bee Health Guru smartphone app, the Bee Health Guru team, or any answers posted in the accompanying BeeHealth.Guru online forum.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SandyHamm View Post
          I support your effort, but question the design of using random beekeeper inspections (I’m a USDA Bee Lab trained apiculturist with a Masters degree).

          Like any data... garbage in, garbage out.

          You will need a HUGE amount of data to rule out incorrect submissions. Truly, Good Luck.
          Thank you Sandy! We appreciate your support. We are well aware of the issues of GIGO. We are indeed hoping that we can collect lots of data.

          iPhone 6 running Bee Health Guru
          The information provided by the Bee Health Guru is not intended to provide solutions to problems. It is given as a suggestion only. A multiplicity of factors could be impacting the health of your bees. We are not responsible for any health issues of your bees, including death, swarming, colony collapse, or issues arising from treatments as a result of any suggestions provided by the Bee Health Guru smartphone app, the Bee Health Guru team, or any answers posted in the accompanying BeeHealth.Guru online forum.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you read our articles, we've repeatedly stated that the app needs to be tuned for the audio cards and microphones in smartphones. We agree that the quality of results from some users may vary. We also know that the sounds of bees vary by regions. We hope to get thousands of recordings - it works just like Siri, Alexa, etc. We train via an iterative process. We are also working with several bee researchers, inspectors, and commercial beekeepers to rapidly improve our smartphone analyses. They have hundreds to thousands of hives that can be recorded. Regardless, we can't tune without lots of tuners. And the phone doesn't learn on its own. We aggregate, sort, etc. and then use the uploaded recordings, analyses, and inspection reports to train.
            The information provided by the Bee Health Guru is not intended to provide solutions to problems. It is given as a suggestion only. A multiplicity of factors could be impacting the health of your bees. We are not responsible for any health issues of your bees, including death, swarming, colony collapse, or issues arising from treatments as a result of any suggestions provided by the Bee Health Guru smartphone app, the Bee Health Guru team, or any answers posted in the accompanying BeeHealth.Guru online forum.

            Comment


            • #7
              Wishing you the best. I think it’s good to keep expectations low for users regarding the timeframe for tuning the App.

              Without anything but encouragement, this seems like a 5-7 year effort before enough valid data is in hand.

              And as I said in a private msg, it seems imperative for users to be able to report which conditions they are reporting on and which they are not.

              Surely, there are several ways to accomplish that. One might be to simply add another “radio control” choice that says “Not Evaluated” and make that the default setting, instead of defaulting to “No” or “None”.

              Comment

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