IoBee focuses on applying new technological developments to help improve the health of bees. For this purpose, field tests are being carried out throughout several European countries. One of the essential pillars of the project is its reliance on the feedback of expert beekeepers. In this case, we can see how IoBee is working with Italian beekeepers to tailor its monitoring devices and network for real in-field conditions.

The project has a two-stage development for acquiring data from beehives. Digital monitors gather data from the hive such as temperature, activity and weight. With an effective system that lets beekeepers know how their bees are doing, its cloud application compiles data and pairs it with satellite imaging. In-field data added to satellite achieved phenology make for a valuable tool to better care for bees. Currently, IoBee is testing its developments in the field. However, not all conditions are the same.

Landscape, weather and external stressors such as pests and diseases continuously vary depending on the context. Therefore, tests are necessary to have a dynamic and reliable monitoring system, one that is effective in real conditions. Testing translates into fine-tuning for more reliable monitoring for beekeepers and all stakeholders surrounding the health of bees.

IoBee had already marked its arrival to Italy thanks to its participation in the grand beekeeping event, Apimell. Now, field tests are running in cooperation with the Association of Italian Beekeepers Unions (UNAAPI). Testing the functioning of monitoring systems with such expert beekeepers is essential for the development of the project. Only they can provide the necessary feedback for producing a long-lasting and practical tool for better listening to what bees have to say.

Field test site in the Piedmont region of Italy

In collaboration with Italian beekeepers, Iobee is developing its tests in three different conditions, measuring the effectiveness of monitoring in different contexts. The first of them is short-migration, where beekeepers transport their hives in a distance range of 2-20 kilometres. Second, on long-range migration, ranging in distances between 200 and 300 kilometres. On a third case, it measures the use of the monitoring systems in areas where there have been reports of small hive beetle (Aethina Thumida), a beehive pest that feeds on its resources during larvae stages and may also bring a damaging yeast that could lead to colony collapse.

The installation process is now complete, and data collection is in operation. Thanks to the easy installation of in-field monitoring devices, tests have initiated without any setbacks. The equipment can easily be set-up by the beekeeper or assistant in a short time. As soon as they install it, IoBee starts to gather and centralise all information through its cloud application. Besides, the beekeepers can also continue monitoring their hive activity, its health and its surrounding conditions through the User Interface.

IoBee User interface

Italy is one of the several countries where IoBee is conducting field tests. The variability of conditions within the country and the valuable collaboration with beekeepers from UNAAPI are helping shape the future of digital beehive monitoring. The project continues to move forward, particularly pairing its efforts in Italy with field tests in other locations throughout Europe.