It is observed that honey bees and hives are affecting grievously due to current era’s climate change, pesticides and Varroa destructor. A study started in 2010 revealed that during period April 2019 and 2020 43.7% of US hives were lost. This was the second highest percentage showed by the study.
Noah Wilson Rich is the chief scientific officer of USA firm Best Bees. She says that it is alarming that many American honeybee colonies (hives) die off every year. She was addressing and quoting in response to the honeybee research study.
In current era, tech industry is trying to digitize and automate honeybees monitoring system to achieve greater production out of honeybee industry.
“That just shows how messed up things are currently. We are looking at why thriving beehives live. We need to understand why they are doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits… it is telling us how the bees are actually doing.” says Mr. Wilson-Rich.
Mr. Wilson-Rich’s firm has a strategy to cope with honeybee production. His team installs honeybee colonies (hives) on commercial and residential properties. They do it on rooftops and back gardens etc. After performing the installation, the firm use specialize software technology to monitor and record the performance and health of all installed hives.
With the global honey industry worth an estimated $9.2bn (£6.5bn) in 2020, the honeybee companies focusing on use of modern and AI based software technology just like many other agriculture sectors have adopted. Of course, this leads to increased benefits in terms of monitoring, matai Nance and production and ultimately profits.
Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, the focus is shifted towards technology, as people are more conscious when it comes to food and wider food supply issues have emerged.
One leading firm in honeybee production is Irish company ApisProtect. It uses wireless in-hive sensors to monitor, gather and upload data to software database. Then this data is used to show web application reports or dashboard. This approach helps in eliminating manual monitoring work and better understands the statistics of honeybee health, performance and production.
“We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data,” says chief executive Fiona Edwards Murphy.
“What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead.”
The technology, she adds, marks a significant shift from traditional beekeeping practices, whereby beekeepers have to manually inspect hives. In the US, where some of the very largest beekeeping firms have more than 90,000 hives, that is a lot of work.
“What we do is enable them to get a picture of what’s happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping.”
In Pakistan, four species of honeybees are found. One is imported other of other three indigenous. The honeybees find in different ecological areas of the country. The indigenous species are Apis dorsata, Apis cerana, and Apis florea while imported one is Apis mellifera.
A government institute, dominating in honeybee industry is PARC (Pakistan Agricultural Research Coundil) or PARC Agrotech Company Limited. It is trying to adopt management technology for higher honey production, however, there is no statistics available regarding use of modern AI or specialize software technology having sensors and honeybee health measuring instruments in honeybee industry.
Sources: bbc.com, parc.gov.pk, apisprotect.com