Fighting Honey-Bee Colony Mortality through IoT

IoBee aims to disrupt the bee-keeping market by providing effective, timely and user-friendly monitoring systems. The project focuses on the commercialisation of a new application of the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor, able to automatically assess the health and threat status of colonies, becoming the technical framework for a European Interoperable and Open Surveillance Network for Bee Health.

THE SITUATION

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would only have four years left to live”
Albert Einstein

For the past 25 years, European beekeepers have been reporting weakening bee numbers and colony losses, and the situation is worsening. According to the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) for honey-bee health, some countries in the EU are losing up to a third of their colonies every year.

The most important contribution bees make to agriculture is the pollination service they provide. The direct value of honey produced in the EU is estimated at €140 million, while the value of insect pollination for European agriculture has been estimated to be approximately €20 billion per year, and €153 billion worldwide.

Pollinators’ decline brings along a significant loss of pollination services, which have negative ecological and economic impacts affecting the maintenance of wild plant diversity, large-scale ecosystem stability with potentially harmful effects on crop production, food security and human welfare.

Honeybee mortality in the EU 2013. Anything above 10% is unacceptable according to experts.

“The Plight of the Honeybee” article published in Time Magazine August 19, 2013.

HOW IoBee WORKS

IoBee sets itself apart from numerous Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) sensing solutions being sold today to equip beehives… it is the missing disruptive technology to complement them!

The system will wirelessly transmit health and threat status results to a cloud server complying with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards, making data available to run prediction models and risk assessments, issuing warnings and producing historical analyses.

This will allow beekeepers, researchers and public authorities to be active participants in colony surveillance programmes. With unprecedented accuracy and responsiveness, they will be able to overcome labour costs of manual inspections. Thanks to IoB’s monitoring, healthy or threatened colonies will be remotely detected with greater precision, saving millions of Euros in potential losses.

IoBee will enable the possibility to set-up the first European Network for Integrated Beehive Health Management. The IoBee systems in each beekeeping SME can be connected to their respective associations. The information collected by each bee-keeper association or cluster, can provide bee health/threat/mortality status information at regional and national scales, giving regional and national authorities a powerful tool to understand at a higher level the impacts and risks imposed by the presence of a disease or pest. As IoBee follows IoT and Geospatial standards ensuring full interoperability, EU countries using this system can share their data at a transnational level between themselves and with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), other authorities (e.g. EEA), and professional networks (e.g. Bee2Bees and COLOSS), establishing the 1st EU Bee Health surveillance network.

FEATURED NEWS

Each IoBee module will be able to:

Automatically count bees entering / exiting the hive, with higher accuracy.

Profile bees’ bioacoustic fingerprint as normal (healthy) or abnormal (unhealthy) and assess the potential risk of abnormal mortality.

Automatically detect the potential presence of invasive species (wasps, moths, flies, beetles, Africanized bees, etc.) that may harm the colony or bring diseases.

Collect, share data and analyze information of importance, and simulate the spread of infectious bee diseases / pests.

Provide a space-time information system that integrates data in one information environment for planning and decision.

PARTNERS

The consortium

The consortium has the complementary business capabilities, commercial networks and research expertise to guarantee a quick route to market for the technology, driven by: IRIDEON expert in IoT Sensor Applications, Avia-GIS expert in Insect Spatial Decision Support Systems and Arnia expert in smart beehive systems. These will be supported by TEIC, expert in Insect Bioacoustics, Pattern Recognition and Acoustic Surveillance, and Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination.

IRIDEON SL (Coordinator) – Spain

IRIDEON SL is a Spanish-German company founded by a multidisciplinary team of engineers with experience in industry and academia. Since 2011 this team provides technical consultancy services and solutions to SMEs and research organizations throughout Europe, primarily in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT) and sensor systems.

www.irideon.eu

Arnia Limited – UK

Arnia manufactures and sells high quality remote hive monitoring systems to beekeepers, bee researchers and the crop protection industry. Arnia is the world leader in hive monitoring, with the most advanced system and largest network of installed monitors. The system is unique in combing hive acoustics monitoring with other parameters such as brood temperature, humidity, hive weight and apiary weather conditions.

www.arnia.co.uk

Technological Educational Institute of Crete – Greece

TEIC, the Technological Educational Institute of Crete is a higher education and research organization, founded in 1983 by the Hellenic Ministry of Education. The TEI of Crete is a thriving academic community with an expert faculty of 350 members, over 300 administrative and technical staff and approximately 12000 students.

www.teicrete.gr

Avia-GIS BVBA – Belgium

Avia-GIS bvba, “Agriculture and Veterinary Information and Analysis” is a Belgian SME founded in 2001 that specializes in the collection, processing and analysis of spatial information as a basis for the development of data driven space-time information systems applied to veterinary and public health in general and (emerging) zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (VBD) in particular.

www.avia-gis.com

Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination – Belgium

BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination is a non-profit organisation composed by beekeepers from the different EU Member States who share the same goal to protect bees. Bee Life welcomes members ranging from beekeeping and agricultural organisations to pollinator protection NGOs.Currently, its members spread to Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain and Sweden. However, BeeLife’s network within the beekeeping sector goes far beyond these countries.

www.bee-life.eu

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 760342.