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The well-being of a honeybee (Apis mellifera) colony depends on forager traffic. Consistent discrepancies in forager traffic indicate that the hive may not be healthy and require human intervention. Honeybee traffic in the vicinity of a hive can be divided into three types: incoming, outgoing, and lateral. These types constitute directional traffic, and are juxtaposed with omnidirectional traffic where bee motions are considered regardless of direction. Accurate measurement of directional honeybee traffic is fundamental to electronic beehive monitoring systems that continuously monitor honeybee colonies to detect deviations from the norm. An algorithm based on digital particle image velocimetry is proposed to measure directional traffic. The algorithm uses digital particle image velocimetry to compute motion vectors, analytically classifies them as incoming, outgoing, or lateral, and returns the classified vector counts as measurements of directional traffic levels. Dynamic time warping is used to compare the algorithm’s omnidirectional traffic curves to the curves produced by a previously proposed bee motion counting algorithm based on motion detection and deep learning and to the curves obtained from a human observer’s counts on four honeybee traffic videos (2976 video frames). The currently proposed algorithm not only approximates the human ground truth on par with the previously proposed algorithm in terms of omnidirectional bee motion counts but also provides estimates of directional bee traffic and does not require extensive training. An analysis of correlation vectors of consecutive image pairs with single bee motions indicates that correlation maps follow Gaussian distribution and the three-point Gaussian sub-pixel accuracy method appears feasible. Experimental evidence indicates it is reasonable to treat whole bees as tracers, because whole bee bodies and not parts thereof cause maximum motion. To ensure the replicability of the reported findings, these videos and frame-by-frame bee motion counts have been made public. The proposed algorithm is also used to investigate the incoming and outgoing traffic curves in a healthy hive on the same day and on different days on a dataset of 292 videos (216,956 video frames).
Mukherjee, S.; Kulyukin, V. Application of Digital Particle Image Velocimetry to Insect Motion: Measurement of Incoming, Outgoing, and Lateral Honeybee Traffic. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 2042. https://doi.org/10.3390/app10062042