A Cork-based company is aiming to revolutionise beekeeping by developing technology that can remotely monitor honey bees.
Agtech start-up ApisProtect’s new device has facilitated the monitoring of more than 100 million honey bees all around the world.
This technology will help keep hives healthy and build strong honey-producing colonies.
The latest European-wide Coloss report highlighted that winter honey bee losses of up to 32% were experienced in Europe.
Winter losses can be reduced by ensuring the hive is healthy throughout the year by catching pests and diseases earlier.
ApisProtect monitors can remotely monitor hives 24/7 and alert beekeepers to the hives that need their attention the most, thus ensuring colonies are strong and healthy before overwintering.
The hobbyist version of this Irish designed and manufactured technology is now available exclusively in Ireland for Irish beekeepers prior to a European-wide launch later next year.
Irish beekeepers have worked with ApisProtect to develop this award-winning technology and helped to ensure that this product is robust enough to survive the tough conditions inside the hive.
Smart tech for beekeeping
Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO and co-founder of ApisProtect, highlighted the importance of using the ‘Internet of Things’ to monitor honey bees:
“For the past three years, we have worked side by side with commercial and hobbyist beekeepers in the US and Ireland to develop our remote beehive monitoring system, collating over 15 million data sets.
“As we have seen with smart technology in all elements of our lives, the potential of collating data for improved decision making is transformative.
“By utilising sensor technology within the beehive, we can provide the beekeeper with data to improve decision making and increase the strength and health of their honey bee colonies.”
Vital for pollination
Not only is this technology helping beekeepers to build strong colonies for honey production, it is also vital for pollination of many food crops.
The production of 80% of the 264 crop species cultivated in the EU depends directly on insect pollinators, and the global annual monetary value of pollination is estimated to be €153 billion.
World Bee Day
To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN has designated May 20, as World Bee Day.
Dr. Pádraig Whelan, CSO and co-founder added:
“Our technology has the potential to save and even expand the professional beekeeping industry in Europe which makes a significant and vital contribution to crop pollination.
“European honey bees have provided approximately half of the recorded crop visits in European studies.
“In a survey of farmers from 10 European countries, 49% indicated that they experienced yield deficits due to inadequate pollination.”