The success of the Internet of Bees depends mainly on two factors. First, being able to provide timely and accurate beehive monitoring, pairing it with relevant information from its surroundings. Second, and also a key factor, on the feedback that beekeepers offer for the development of the project. Direct contact with field practitioners is one of the pillars of the development IoBee. After initiating field tests in Italy and even some parallel testing the United States, the project continues its course in several other countries. On this entry, we will focus on one of the most recent arrivals, IoBee in Belgium.
As field tests for the project continue, IoBee partners selected several locations across Europe. Each site meets a particular criterion on which the monitoring of beehives and its surroundings will face a specific challenge. Therefore, IoBee has decided to reach Belgium with a couple of objectives in mind. The project is testing its monitoring systems and applications in conditions that field observations report as challenging for bees: such as the presence of varroa, Vespa Velutina (Asian hornet) and issues related to climate change. Besides, IoBee benefits from having expert beekeepers, who are aware of the risks for bees, adding their expertise and testing the developments of the project in real-life conditions. In the case of Belgium, it is particularly interesting, since it is a country where some bee-protection measures have already preceded European legislation . Hence, field testers will put IoBee’s monitoring to the test, checking its efficacy in conditions where precise data is needed.
IoBee field tests in Belgium
IoBee is working along with Belgian beekeepers with one objective in mind: to improve current monitoring systems, so better tools are available for beekeepers. Beekeepers, however, are not only interested in the development of the tool for private use. Continually aiming at improving environmental conditions for bees and their role in nature, beekeepers are also envisaging the future institutional application of IoBee’s monitoring. Applying IoBee’s developments on a large scale would help in providing necessary information about the risks that abound in the area, country or region. For beekeepers, this is paramount, since they require hard data to engage institutions to act. With a better understanding of the challenges that bees are facing on the field, and the consequences that they have on bee-health and colony performance, better-coordinated actions could be taken.
Thanks to the collaboration of local beekeepers, IoBee’s monitoring systems are currently installed in Rebecq, southwest of Brussels, in the Brabant Wallon region. During the remainder of the project, partners will continuously fine-tune these systems according to the collective feedback that the project will gain from beekeepers around Europe. From initial stages such as setup and learning to use the system, up to more fine procedures such as analysing the data, IoBee is continuously improving to serve beekeepers better.
The arrival of the project in Belgium is a new achieved milestone on which the future of beekeeping is nearer. With the support of local beekeepers, the project continues to improve. Field tests continue as planned and will soon reach more destinations, providing insights for diverse environmental conditions that directly influence bees.