Human uses of wood over the centuries and cultures have developed in direct links to the mechanical and physical and chemical characteristics of the wood material. In case of beehive timber, the links between timber material properties and human uses to build hives and rear domestic bees have been rarely studied. These questions require an interdisciplinary approach with the angles of anthropology of techniques, wood sciences (physics, mechanics and chesmistry) and chemical and behavioural ecology to understand the properties of wood sought by humans to build their hives in order to promote the life of the domestic bee populations they raise in there.
Hypothesis on the influence of wood material
BeeWood is based on an interdisciplinary approach that combines:
- the physico-mechanical study of heat and humidity transfers within the hive as a function of the combined thermal and hydric stresses to which the wood is subjected by the bee colony and the outside climate,
- the ecological study of the influence of wood chemistry on the behaviour of honeybees, their parasites (especially Varroa destructor) and the macrobiota of the hive,
- the anthropological approach of the practices, knowledge and perceptions of beekeepers and hive suppliers on the wood material used for the construction of hives.
Tools and methodologies implemented
- numerical simulation and inverse method,
- odour analysis (GC-MS), olfactory and behavioural tests (EAD),
- surveys and discourse analysis.
A device for measuring the parasitic load in Varroa destructor of a hive is being developed. It relies on artificial intelligence and semi-directed learning to automatically count the number of Varroas that fall on sticky bottom boards.