Sensors and Machine Learning to Help Beekeeping

An Irish startup intends to employ IoT technology to monitor bees, track their movement, and learn from their behaviors. ApisProtect outfits bees with sensors that can be used to collect data which can be further processed. The system also utilizes a satellite connection to enable for the transmission of data between sets of hives. The intent was to present a solution for beekeepers that they can use to gain insight about their bees’ pollination functions. At current, beekeepers earn more from renting their hives for pollination than they do from honey production.

The startup intends to enter the market sometime in 2020 and will use a “per hive, per annum” pricing model. The sensor node operates from in a tiny plastic box and measures data such as humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide content, movement data, and sound. Combining these data points allows for beekeepers to have an idea of the conditions around hives, not only in their general area but across a broader region.

Scaling Up for Agriculture

Traditionally, scaling up beekeeping operations has been difficult because of the logistics involved. ApisProtect aims to address this problem by offering an in-depth solution for the gathering of data and management of hives across a broad region. However, such large volumes of data could be daunting in its raw form for beekeepers. The company’s secondary function would be compiling reports based on the data received by the insect-borne devices.

Additionally, the collection of spatial data can help to alert beekeepers of emergencies in remote locations. If a hive gets knocked over because of a wandering animal or some other means, the data sent from the individual bees can build up a picture and offer real-time information about the collapsed structure. Overall, the new technology provides a different method for beekeepers to manage their bees. It is likely to provide valuable insight into bee behavior that will interest scientific researchers as well.