Schwarmalarm using mqttwarn



mqttwarn is a great tool by Jan-Piet Mens and Ben Jones. For an intro, please have a look at Introducing mqttwarn, a pluggable MQTT notifier or MQTTwarn, Ein Rundum-Sorglos-Notifier (german). Kudos to Jan-Piet and Ben for conceiving this, it is an exceptional powerful and versatile swiss-army knife style tool.

We are using mqttwarn as an alerting and notification subsystem, started adding foundation functionality a while ago (incorporate topic names into topic targets) and finally managed to provide a simple yet complete implementation for delivering alert notifications to beekeepers based on measurement data arriving on the MQTT bus. Read on, my dear.

Weight-loss events

Beekeepers usually want to know their colony is swarming, to come catch it back to their own beehives. To get a feeling about what we are after, a picture is worth a thousand words:

This is a weight-loss event from The “Beutenkarl” scale recorded on May 20, 2016 between 10:11 and 10:26 hours CEST after a bee colony started swarming at the Hiveeyes labs beehive in Berlin Wedding.

Data-loss events

As a matter of fact, batteries are always draining. If capacity is too low and sensor nodes stop transmitting due to shortage on power, a software watchdog with a configurable timeout will recognize and notify beekeepers about data-loss events.


While we are operating an instance of this setup on our Backend platform, you can always setup an instance on your own machine.


Setup dependencies:

pip install xmpppy==0.5.0rc1 jinja2==2.8

Setup mqttwarn:

git clone
cd mqttwarn


Please configure examples/hiveeyes/hiveeyes.ini accordingly.


Use the MQTT broker

hostname     = ''

Notification targets

For setting up notification targets, please configure the left-hand side of the targets mapping to match your Hiveeyes user identifier UUID (here: “testdrive” for demonstration purposes) and the right-hand side to match email or xmpp addresses of your choice.

Setup email notification delivery:

server  =  'localhost:25'
sender  =  "hiveeyes-alerts <>"
username  =  None
password  =  None
starttls  =  False
targets = {
    'testdrive' : [''],

Setup XMPP notification delivery (you have to register an XMPP account first):

sender   = ''
password = 'yourcatsname'
targets  = {
    'testdrive' : [''],


Run mqttwarn:

export MQTTWARNINI=examples/hiveeyes/hiveeyes.ini


Trigger an alarm by simulating a weight loss event:

echo '{"wght2": 43.0}' | mosquitto_pub -h -t hiveeyes/testdrive/area-42/beehive-1/data.json -l
echo '{"wght2": 42.0}' | mosquitto_pub -h -t hiveeyes/testdrive/area-42/beehive-1/data.json -l

You should be seeing and receiving an alert message like:

2016-05-30 14:47:47,692 CRITICAL [log] Alarm from beehive beehive-1.

Network..............: testdrive
Gateway..............: area-42
Node.................: beehive-1
Timestamp............: 2016-05-30T12:47:47.677973Z
Original payload.....: {"wght2": 42}
Current data.........: {u'wght2': 42}
History data.........: {u'wght2': 43}


We are still working on this alerting subsystem to improve all details of its implementation including the format of the message reported to beekeepers and its overall robustness. Please consider the current state as a working prototype.