Saving Honeybees With the Internet of Things?

Saving Honeybees With the Internet of Things?

Colony collapse disorder is wiping out the world's honeybees at an unprecedented rate. Scientists are at a loss as to how to tackle this problem -  and indeed what's causing it - but finding a way to do so is essential in saving honeybees. A complete loss of this valuable pollinators would mean that the vast majority of plants grown for food would fail. A scary thought. 

Now, Australia‚Äôs lead scientific research agency, CSIRO, has partnered with Intel to attempt to unravel the mystery using Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Their Global Initiative for Honeybee Health (GIHH) hopes to establish more knowledge about how colony collapse disorder is affecting honeybee populations. 

The primary approach being taken by the research project is to gather information directly from the bees and their behaviour using IoT technology, to try and get a true picture of what's really going on. The Initiative is linking up researchers, beekeepers, farmers and companies to help monitor local honeybee populations. Every member receives bee micro-sensor kits, including postage stamp-sized sensors that a replaced inside hives and tiny Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags which are fixed onto the backs of bees. The two sensors 'talk' to each other to build a picture of what's happening in the hive. If a hive later collapses, then the system may have recorded vital clues as to what went wrong. 

The IoT system doesn't just track the behaviour of individual bees. It can also analyse the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate.

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