Sustainability

How Technology Is Saving the Bee Population

Overview Much of our ecosystem depends on pollinators such as bees. The bee population is declining, but technology such as artificial intelligence, internet of things and more can reverse that trend.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 35% of food crops and 75% of the world’s flowering plants depend on bees and other pollinators. Much of our global food supply rely on the work of this population, whose existence is in decline.

From habitat destruction and urbanization to climate change and the use of pesticides, the existence of much-needed bees is in danger.

But technology is offering new solutions to help beekeepers reduce bee losses and improve bee health.


Predicting Bee Behavior

By using microphones, cameras and more, advanced sensors can see invasive predators and capture data from the bees and hives. Temperature, humidity, acoustic data, bee density and more are collected through various sensors placed around beehives and then sent to the cloud.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data science helps companies such as Oracle process data from global beehives and look for patterns and anomalies in bee colony health. Dissecting patterns based on regional or distinct factors, companies — and in turn beekeepers — are able to better prevent losses or mitigate problems in methods specific to each bee colony.


Robot Bee Queen

Robotics can also play a role, such as a robot bee that can direct all the bees in a hive, created by an EU-funded research project called HIVEOPOLIS. The digital bee is able to direct the other bees toward nectar and pollen and also help navigate them away from dangerous areas that contain pesticides or other obstacles.

Another company’s Robobees can perform crop pollination in addition to surveillance and weather monitoring.


The Power of the Sun

In efforts to eradicate predators and mite infestations in bee colonies, scientists and beekeepers are turning to solar power. The Thermosolar Hive uses solar power to heat up to 40 degrees Celsius for periods of time. The temperature is not harmful to the bees but is able to remove the mites.
The solar power technology is environmentally friendly, not harmful to the bees, and preferable to pesticides or other chemicals to which mites are becoming resistant.

Using big data and other technology, beekeepers are able to carefully look after their bees — even from remote locations — analyze critical data and help save the global population of essential pollinators.

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