Could The IoT Save The Global Honeybee Population?

Bees are a vital part of the food chain, and if they disappeared, it could have a serious impact on life as we know it. In recent years, the global population of honeybees has dropped by a third, setting off alarm bells the world over. Bees are currently experiencing a very serious threat from pesticides, diseases carried by parasites, and monoculture growing operations that compromise their nutrition.

During the winter months, many honeybees run out of nutritious food sources and die, which has already significantly impacted agricultural yields. It is estimated that as much as 75 percent of our food supply relies on pollination from bees, and ensuring their survival is pertinent.

Better Data Could Stem Honeybee Losses
Beekeeper Andreas Nickel is using his technical expertise to help develop a beehive scale. These scales are used to keep track of how much nectar a bee has collected and whether action is needed to help the hive secure enough food to get through the colder months. Commercial operations tend to have many hives at their disposal, making traditional scales cost-prohibitive, and it’s also out of reach for hobby beekepers.

Thanks to Nickel’s cost-effective model, however, hive weights can be measured and warnings can be sent to a keeper’s computer or mobile device when anomalies are detected. This might indicate that the bees have moved on, their food supply is diminishing, the area is no longer suitable for honey production, or their hive has tipped over.

The IoT has even more potential here, allowing beekeepers to collect data on humidity and temperature as well as the effects of noise and light on the bees. This type of data could also prove useful to weather stations, and sharing the data could help beekeepers gain new insights into how practices might be improved. The future of the world depends on the survival of these bees, and the IoT could well hold the key.