Preliminary figures from the US Department of Agriculture show that the bee population in the United States continues to decline. This decline is partly the result of pesticides, but also of natural factors such as insects that infect hives. As Voice of America correspondent Kevin Enochs reports, technology company Oracle has joined forces with beekeepers on a global scale to help them monitor the progress of colonies.
London beekeeper John Davey is taking part in a unique experiment to collect data on bees from around the world.
“We have two cables, one collects data from the hive, such as the percentage of humidity, the other records the temperature in the hive. These are very important throughout the season.”
There are other sensors in the hive that analyze the noise and relay the data to a computer system in cyberspace created by the technology company Oracle. This company is working with the British non-profit association ‘The World Bee Project’ which is run by Sabiha Malik and aims to ensure that humanity will continue to have bees for the vital pollination process that provides us with food.
“This is the necessary link that many of us often forget. Bees are not only needed to produce honey, but also for pollination, as without this process no food is produced,” says Sabiha Malik.
All the data collected by the sensors is analyzed through artificial intelligence to identify ways to distinguish problem hives. John Abel works for Oracle:
“We record data on bee movement, location, environmental pollution, cases when bees are near industrial areas. We can see how location near a railroad or a river affects it. All serve to analyze how the hive will react in relation to the environment”.
But data from a single hive is not enough for analysis, so Oracle is creating a giant network of hives under surveillance. The system will compare the data and draw conclusions on the factors that enable healthy hives:
“We are using an open system where anyone can register data, so we can collect as much information as possible. We need millions of hives for the system to work independently,” says Mr. Abel.
An independent system would be able to send beekeepers warnings if something is not right in the hive, as well as send information to researchers about the spots on the globe where bees are healthiest. Healthy bees enable a healthy food production system.
“Beekeepers can use this data to understand how they can create a dynamic ecosystem that creates opportunities for better pollination, which means more food for the country, for their communities, and for the world,” he says. Mr. Abel.
Hive monitoring systems are relatively inexpensive, says Mr. Abel. He hopes that every beekeeper who is interested in this project will contact the Oracle company to be included in the data network. /Source: https://www.zeriamerices.com