IoT technology helps save bees: an innovative way to monitor the inside of the hive

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Every third bite you take depends on bees – that's the amount of food that couldn't be grown without these little workers. The changing climate and other challenges have encouraged beekeepers to take even greater care of the well-being of bees, and this is already being done with the help of the highly advanced technology of one technology company's Internet of Things. According to Ernesto Stačiūnas, head of the business solutions team, the smart maintenance solution allows real-time monitoring of the hive interior. This prevents common problems and preserves the bee-friendly environment.

Saves bees

It is probably already known to many that the bee is one of the most unique insects, and one of the most important for people's daily lives. Bees – both wild and cultivated – not only collect nectar and turn it into honey, but they also pollinate plants and are responsible for one-third of the food consumed by humans.

However, climate change, pesticides, bee diseases and toxins can severely affect these animals, threatening the success of the food supply chain. Pollinating insects are declining in numbers worldwide, which is a cause of concern not only for farmers, but also for scientists and the general public.

In response to these challenges, companies in the technology sector have been looking for a solution, and a tool based on IoT technologies has been developed.

„The Hive Monitoring Solution provides beekeepers with all the insights and information they need to ensure optimal hive conditions. Data collected by sensors based on IoT technology is sent over the „Tele2“ network to the „Beezum“ platform, where beekeepers can monitor the hive environment in real time. As the information is transmitted via a mobile connection, there is no need to install any wires or cables that would make it difficult to move the hive from one place to another," says E. Stačiūnas.

The hive's built-in sensors collect information about everything that happens inside – sounds, humidity, temperature, air pressure, weight of contents. This allows beekeepers to monitor how colonies are growing during the season, how the queen is holding up, and decide when it's time to remove the honey. With all this data, beekeepers can make timely and important decisions and even save their hives in the event of a negative change in their environment.

He adds that the sensors in the hives also use solar panels, but they can work in all weather conditions – even in freezing weather, when bees are much less active. This solution allows users to identify problems in beehives in real time and address them immediately.

„To assess the situation inside a hive, beekeepers usually have to physically listen to what is going on inside the hive, either by putting their ear to it or by opening the hive frames. However, bees are sensitive to disturbances and beekeepers are often advised not to do this. Bees need a stable environment with the right temperature and humidity. So this innovative solution will make hive maintenance easier and contribute to smoother beekeeping," says Stačiūnas.

Getting ready for the next step

Although the IoT-based solution is only being tested in Sweden so far, preparations are already underway for new investments and expansion across Europe and beyond. The company's main goal is to help large bee keepers with several hundred or several thousand hives that require daily maintenance.