Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 5 to 10 students
  • 1 lecture unit
    Up to 3 lecture units
    4-7 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

beeomonitor(Resource ID: 210)

A show-hive has been installed in Tulln and provided with sensors. The sensors (weight, temperature, humidity, frequency meter for tone and vibration of the bees, and IR camera) were set so that the hive can be externally observed and the data can be recorded in real time. Thus, the data can be used to explore a living colony of bees.

At the same time, the products manufactured by the bees (honey, wax) can be used as a biomonitor and analyzed in comparison with precipitation water, air and soil samples.

How to use the component – beeomonitor?

The learning tools provided via this platform can be used in 5 steps:

Step zero is a basic information on honey bees, their function and their role in a sustainable ecosystem. This basic set of information provides  basic knowledge about the honey bee and can be used in lectures directly.

Step one is a presentation linked to this basic information. This presentation can be used as such, divided in subgroups etc.

Moreover, the presentation already provides a direct link to the beeomonitor observatory to have an insight into the bee's life. ( The on-line cameras and on-line data collection can be used within lectures.

Step two enhances the understanding of lectures or courses by making an excursion to the bee hive, where the students have the possibility to study the bee hive and the setup of an own monitoring experiment. Detailed explanation at the hive can be given by the excursion leader and after advanced registration, the project leader or a collaborating apiarist will be happy to assist at the site. The site is freely accessible.

Step three provides access to the monitoring station in order to embedd the collected data for enquiry based learning projects. Students can learn, how to collect and interprete data by making use of an online monitoring station.

The direct access to the monitoring station can be used in order to embed the on-line collected data for enquiry based learning projects.


  • combine temperature and weight of the hive (are the activities of the bee dependent on the temperature?);
  • combine temperature outside the hive and insde the hive (do bees keep the temperature stable in the hive);
  • combine light and weight of the hive (bee activity dependent on a sunny day)

By using the setup of the hive (construction and monitoring tools), students can learn, how to collect and interprete data and they can start to build up their own online monitoring station by making use of the detailed construction plan.

Get more information and collect the data at!

Step four provides access to the hive, addition of monitoring tools and provision of collected material by submission of a research proposal. The students can collect samples on-site, as well.

The collected material consists of water, soil, plants, honey, bee, wax, pollen – This material is collected regularely on-site to provide a distinct monitoring tool for student based projects.


  • The heavy metals in soil or plant vs. honey can be measured.
  • Measure the accumulation of pesticides in honey/wax and compare to the pesticides found on the plants
  • Combine the humidity and the content of toxic elements
  • Analyse the stability of carbon isotopes
  • Analyse Boron or Strontium isotopes for e.g. determining an isotopic fingerprint for provenance studies.

Step four is linked to the sustainibility of the project:

You submit additional teaching tools, comments and add-ons to the provided tools as well as links, reports and publications of projects in connection with beeomonitoring.

Get more information and collect the data at!

Contact details for borrowing physical devices
Thomas Prohaska
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
+43 1 47654-6031
Learning Outcomes
(1) The students learn about the honey bee, its environment, its role in the modern society. The live stream and the data can be used to explain the living of a bee and its hive, its growth and the swarming.

The interaction with the living hive enables the direct visualisation of a hive in a classroom. Moreover, the hive can be visited on-site and the bees activities can be monitored through the windows of the hive which can be opened from the side as well as from top.

(2) The students can use the continuously recorded data in small enquiry based projects and learn the evaluation of recorded data in a biomonitoring station.
The direct access to the monitoring station can be used in order to embed the on-line collected data for enquiry based learning projects.


- combine temperature and weight of the hive (are the activities of the bee dependent on the temperature?);
- combine temperature outside the hive and insde the hive (do bees keep the temperature stable in the hive);
- combine light and weight of the hive (bee activity dependent on a sunny day)

By using the setup of the hive (construction and monitoring tools), students can learn, how to collect and interprete data and they can start to build up their own online monitoring station by making use of the detailed construction plan.

(3) The students can learn to setup their own research project (hypothesis, how can the hypothesis be proven, what is needed to prove the hypothesis...)
The continuously collected material (water, soil, plants, honey, wax, bees) can be used in enquiry based projects e.g. for biomonitoring of the effects of pesticides on the population (combine the measurement of pesticides in plants, honey and bees and combine it e.g. with the growth of the hive monitored via the weight.
Relevance for Sustainability
Questions of sustainability and future development are mostly correlated with usage of resouces and energy, biodiversity and social living conditions.

How are we - as society - dealing with these questions?
How do we use energy and natural resources?
How do we act as society?

Here, we can dare a gaze in a bee-hive delivering a large potential of awareness and cognition:

Pollen, nectar and water suffice to guarantee the survival of a hive consisting of up to 50.000 individual bees and ensure a sustainable supply and maintenance of the hive.
The collective of all individuals - the 'Bien' - can be seen as super organism and has the ability to keep a constant temperature and humidity inside the hive (note: these data are measured inline inside the hive).

Moreover, honey bees are an essential link in natural processes, an important ecosystem service provider and are at the begin of the food chain. The perserve biodiversity and are an important factor to control and maximize food production based on agricultural products.

Honey as product is the essence of the surrounding landscape, a concentrate of the information representing the identity of its environment.

Bees help to understand natural cycles, food production and biodiversity.
The usage of bees of biomonitor of their surrounding environment is just the logical next step. The continuous interaction of bees with their environment can be translated into data and the data can be used to visualize the continuous monitoring within the perimeter of the environment. (e.g. translate the heavy metal content in honey via the weight increase into an environmental information, or: use the amount of pesticides in combination with the growth of a hive in order to monitor the effect of pesticides on bees).
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links



  • Adamczyk, S., Lazaro, R., Perez-Arquillue, C. Herrera, A. 2007. Determination of synthetic acaricides residues in beeswax by high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detector. Anal Chim Acta, 581, 95-101.
  • Aggarwal, J.K., Sheppard, D., Mezger, K. Pernicka, E. 2003. Precise and accurate determination of boron isotope ratios by multiple collector ICP-MS: origin of boron in the Ngawha geothermal system, New Zealand. Chemical Geology, 199, 331-342.
  • Almeida-Silva, M., Canha, N., Galinha, C., Dung, H.M., Freitas, M.C. Sitoe, T. 2011. Trace elements in wild and orchard honeys. Appl Radiat Isot, 69, 1592-5.
  • Baroni, M., Arrua, C., Nores, M., Faye, P., Diaz, M., Chiabrando, G. Wunderlin, D. 2009. Composition of honey from Córdoba (Argentina): Assessment of North/South provenance by chemometrics. Food Chemistry, 114, 727-733.
  • Barth, S. 1993b. Boron isotope variations in nature: a synthesis. Springer Verlag, 82, 640-651.
  • Barth, S. 1998. Application of boron isotopes for tracing sources of anthropogenic contamination in groundwater. Water Research, 32, 685-690.
  • Bogdanov, S. 2005. Contaminants of bee products. Apidologie, 37, 1-18.
  • Brown, P.H. Shelp, B.J. 1997. Boron mobility in plants. Plant and Soil, 193, 85-101.
  • Chauzat, M.P. Faucon, J.P. 2007. Pesticide residues in beeswax samples collected from honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) in France. Pest Manag Sci, 63, 1100-6.
  • Chesson, L.A., Tipple, B.J., Erkkila, B.R., Cerling, T.E. Ehleringer, J.R. 2011. B-HIVE: Beeswax hydrogen isotopes as validation of environment. Part I: Bulk honey and honeycomb stable isotope analysis. Food Chemistry, 125, 576-581.
  • Chetelat, B., Liu, C.Q., Gaillardet, J., Wang, Q.L., Zhao, Z.Q., Liang, C.S. Xiao, Y.K. 2009. Boron isotopes geochemistry of the Changjiang basin rivers. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73, 6084-6097.
  • Chua, L.S., Abdul-Rahaman, N.L., Sarmidi, M.R. Aziz, R. 2012. Multi-elemental composition and physical properties of honey samples from Malaysia. Food Chem, 135, 880-7.
  • Chudzinska, M. Baralkiewicz, D. 2011. Application of ICP-MS method of determination of 15 elements in honey with chemometric approach for the verification of their authenticity. Food Chem Toxicol, 49, 2741-9.
  • Chudzinska, M., Debska, A. Baralkiewicz, D. 2011. Method validation for determination of 13 elements in honey samples by ICP-MS. Accreditation and Quality Assurance, 17, 65-73.
  • Coetzee, P.P., Greeff, L. Vanhaecke, F. 2011. ICP-MS Measurement of B-11/B-10 Isotope Ratios in Grapevine Leaves and the Investigation of Possible Boron Isotope Fractionation in Grapevine Plants. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF ENOLOGY AND VITICULTURE, 32, 28-34.
  • Coetzee, P.P. Vanhaecke, F. 2005. Classifying wine according to geographical origin via quadrupole-based ICP-mass spectrometry measurements of boron isotope ratios. Anal Bioanal Chem, 383, 977-84.
  • Cotte, J.F., Casabianca, H., Lheritier, J., Perrucchietti, C., Sanglar, C., Waton, H. Grenier-Loustalot, M.F. 2007. Study and validity of 13C stable carbon isotopic ratio analysis by mass spectrometry and 2H site-specific natural isotopic fractionation by nuclear magnetic resonance isotopic measurements to characterize and control the authenticity of honey. Anal Chim Acta, 582, 125-36.
  • de Alda-Garcilope, C., Gallego-Pico, A., Bravo-Yague, J.C., Garcinuno-Martinez, R.M. Fernandez-Hernando, P. 2012. Characterization of Spanish honeys with protected designation of origin "Miel de Granada" according to their mineral content. Food Chem, 135, 1785-8.
  • Elflein, L. Raezke, K.-P. 2008. Improved detection of honey adulteration by measuring differences between13C/12C stable carbon isotope ratios of protein and sugar compounds with a combination of elemental analyzer - isotope ratio mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography - isotope ratio mass spectrometry (δ13C-EA/LC-IRMS). Apidologie, 39, 574-587.
  • Erbilir, F. Erdogrul, O. 2005. Determination of heavy metals in honey in Kahramanmaras City, Turkey. Environ Monit Assess, 109, 181-7.
  • Fernandez-Torres, R., Perez-Bernal, J.L., Bello-Lopez, M.A., Callejon-Mochon, M., Jimenez-Sanchez, J.C. Guiraum-Perez, A. 2005. Mineral content and botanical origin of Spanish honeys. Talanta, 65, 686-91.
  • Golob, T., Doberšek, U., Kump, P. Nečemer, M. 2005. Determination of trace and minor elements in Slovenian honey by total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Food Chemistry, 91, 593-600.
  • Honig, B.f.G.u.F.ü. 2004. BGBl. II - Nr. 40 Honigverordnung.
  • Ioannidou, M.D., Zachariadis, G.A., Anthemidis, A.N. Stratis, J.A. 2005. Direct determination of toxic trace metals in honey and sugars using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. Talanta, 65, 92-7.
  • Kropf, U., Golob, T., Necemer, M., Kump, P., Korosec, M., Bertoncelj, J. Ogrinc, N. 2010a. Carbon and nitrogen natural stable isotopes in Slovene honey: adulteration and botanical and geographical aspects. J Agric Food Chem, 58, 12794-803.
  • Kropf, U., Korošec, M., Bertoncelj, J., Ogrinc, N., Nečemer, M., Kump, P. Golob, T. 2010b. Determination of the geographical origin of Slovenian black locust, lime and chestnut honey. Food Chemistry, 121, 839-846.
  • Lemarchand, D., Cividini, D., Turpault, M.P. Chabaux, F. 2012. Boron isotopes in different grain size fractions: Exploring past and present water–rock interactions from two soil profiles (Strengbach, Vosges Mountains). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 98, 78-93.
  • López-García, I., Viñas, P., Romero-Romero, R. Hernández-Córdoba, M. 2009. Preconcentration and determination of boron in milk, infant formula, and honey samples by solid phase extraction-electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, 64, 179-183.
  • Louvat, P., Gaillardet, J., Paris, G. Dessert, C. 2011. Boron isotope ratios of surface waters in Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles. Applied Geochemistry, 26, S76-S79.
  • Madejczyk, M. Baralkiewicz, D. 2008. Characterization of Polish rape and honeydew honey according to their mineral contents using ICP-MS and F-AAS/AES. Anal Chim Acta, 617, 11-7.
  • Orantes-Bermejo, F.J., Gómez Pajuelo, A., Megías Megías, M. Fernández-Píñar, C.T. 2010. Pesticide residues in beeswax and beebread samples collected from honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) in Spain. Possible implications for bee losses. Journal of Apicultural Research, 49, 243.
  • Palmer, M.R. Helvaci, C. 1995. The boron isotope geochemistry of the Kirka borate deposit, western Turkey. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 59, 3599-3605.
  • Park, H. Schlesinger, W.H. 2002. Global biogeochemical cycle of boron. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 16, 20-1-20-11.
  • Pellerano, R.G., Uñates, M.A., Cantarelli, M.A., Camiña, J.M. Marchevsky, E.J. 2012. Analysis of trace elements in multifloral Argentine honeys and their classification according to provenance. Food Chemistry, 134, 578-582.
  • Pisani, A., Protano, G. Riccobono, F. 2008. Minor and trace elements in different honey types produced in Siena County (Italy). Food Chemistry, 107, 1553-1560.
  • Przybylowski, P. Wilczynska, A. 2001. Honey as an environmental marker. Food Chemistry, 74, 289-291.
  • Schellenberg, A., Chmielus, S., Schlicht, C., Camin, F., Perini, M., Bontempo, L., Heinrich, K., Kelly, S.D., Rossmann, A., Thomas, F., Jamin, E. Horacek, M. 2010. Multielement stable isotope ratios (H, C, N, S) of honey from different European regions. Food Chemistry, 121, 770-777.
  • Serra-Bonvehi, J. Orantes-Bermejo, J. 2010. Acaricides and their residues in Spanish commercial beeswax. Pest Manag Sci, 66, 1230-5.
  • Serra, F., Guillou, C.G., Reniero, F., Ballarin, L., Cantagallo, M.I., Wieser, M., Iyer, S.S., Heberger, K. Vanhaecke, F. 2005. Determination of the geographical origin of green coffee by principal component analysis of carbon, nitrogen and boron stable isotope ratios. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom, 19, 2111-5.
  • Sivakesava, S. J., I. 2001. A Rapid Spectroscopic Technique for Determining Honey Adulteratoin with Corn Syrup. Journal of Food Science, 66.
  • Stankovska, E., Stafilov, T. Sajn, R. 2008. Monitoring of trace elements in honey from the Republic of Macedonia by atomic absorption spectrometry. Environ Monit Assess, 142, 117-26.
  • Tanner, G. Czerwenka, C. 2011. LC-MS/MS analysis of neonicotinoid insecticides in honey: methodology and residue findings in Austrian honeys. J Agric Food Chem, 59, 12271-7.
  • Wieser, M.E., Iyer, S.S., Krouse, H.R. Cantagallo, M.I. 2001. Variations in the boron isotope composition of Coffea arabica beans. Applied Geochemistry, 16, 317-322.
  • Williams, L.B., Hervig, R.L., Holloway, J.R. Hutcheon, I. 2001. Boron isotope geochemisty during diagenesis. Part I. Experimental determination of fractionation during illitization of smectite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 65, 1769-1782.
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment


Thomas Prohaska


Thomas Prohaska
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Department of Chemistry (BOKU Vienna)


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • formteaching_experiment