Could Smart Technology Help Save the World’s Honey Bees?

CNN Business reports:

Climate change, intensive agriculture, and the use of pesticides and fungicides in farming is ravaging the world’s bees. Commercial beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their managed colonies in 2019, according to research from the University of Maryland. Now, technology startups are developing smart devices that give beekeepers access to detailed information about the state of their hives, aiming to reduce losses and improve bee health.

Among them is Ireland’s ApisProtect, which has just launched a sensor that alerts beekeepers if there is a problem in their hives. The small internet-connected sensor is placed under the roof of the beehive and measures a number of metrics including temperature, humidity, sound and movement. Data from the sensor is sent via the cloud to ApisProtect’s HQ in Cork, Ireland, where the data is processed, analyzed and then sent back to the beekeeper…

With bees in demand for a booming pollination industry, there are a number of other startups promoting new technologies, including Pollenity in Bulgaria, Arnia in the United Kingdom and BeeHero in Israel.Pollenity was founded in 2015 by Sergey Petrov and has raised $1.2 million in funding. Its Beebot smart sensor device is aimed at small and hobbyist beekeepers, and it is also working with six universities from across Europe on an EU-funded research project called HIVEOPOLIS. The project aims to improve the welfare of bees by reinventing hives using a number of technologies, including a robot bee capable of “dancing” to direct the hive’s swarm.

“The robot bee will tell the other bees where to go to find nectar and pollen,” Petrov says. “Not only will this direct them to certain fields for pollination but also navigate the bees away from dangerous areas, like where pesticides are being used.”

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