The World Bee Project is a worldwide effort to research combined data from beehives around the globe to find out what helps bees thrive, patterns of behavior, trends, and the world’s hive health. More than 40 percent of honeybees are facing extinction, according to scientists. If the threat is not addressed, this will be devastating for pollination. The World Bee Project has partnered with Oracle to create a new way to collect, analyze, and share essential data from hives, as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gather data through communication from beekeepers as they assess hive health first-hand. The world is taking notice of the essential role honeybees play in our ecosystem and using technology to achieve greater collaboration is gaining momentum.
The Oracle program is used commercially and for smaller farmers, and there are millions and millions around the world. Small farmers rely heavily on honeybee pollination to maintain crop health. The goal is to ultimately have every hive connected to the data-sharing cloud for researchers and scientists to analyze data. Additionally, farmers and beekeepers can access the data results to stay connected. Programming that can track the tiniest of details and predict the future behavior of a hive based on audio signal tracking is allowing beekeepers to keep their hives healthy in a more proactive approach.
The Beekeepers are the Experts
The World Bee Project recognizes that nobody is more qualified to assess a hive’s health than the beekeeper. The technology designed to gather hive data from around the world makes the collection easier and more convenient for those who would have previously collected data manually or on their devices while in a protective bee suit. The AI program that walks beekeepers through observations automatically gathers information from the interface and uploads it, providing instant data invaluable to monitoring hive health around the globe. The advanced collection of data helps researchers and scientists analyze the data, compare trends between countries, identify problems in hive health and specific food crops related to pollination, and find out what makes honeybees thrive.
An example is that bees do not fly in the rain. They stay in the hive during rain, which can impact hive health and pollination, so the ability to compare data across countries and climates is pioneering honeybee activity analysis.
Beehive Tenants Taking Up Space
If you do not know much about beehives and who the occupants are, it is fascinating to understand the roles of specific bees in the hive. The queen, of course, the one and only, is precious to the hive. The queen has two jobs, and one of them is laying fertilized eggs. It is exclusively her task alone, and she is the only one that can fulfill that critical need. Secondly, the queen bee gives off a scent (pheromone) to attract male bees when she leaves the hive to mate. The scent she emits provides stability to the hive, which is incredibly important to hive health.
The nurse bees take care of the queen. They are essentially her assistants and care for her. They are also responsible for preparing her for swarming and hive relocation. The incredible audio signal detection of the Oracle program tracks the nurse bees’ wings’ speed, indicating something is about to happen with the hive as it varies. Researchers have determined that when the nurse bees’ wing speed changes, the hive may be ready to swarm, and alerting beekeepers of this possibility gives them an advantage not previously possible. Beekeepers want to keep their bees, so when they swarm to another area, the beekeeper can locate the new spot, gather them up and bring them back to the hive.
Drone honeybees have one job – mate with the queen. Otherwise, it appears they have no other job. They do not even have a stinger, so they cannot protect the hive if a threat comes, such as a hornet. The worker bee is the multitasker of the group. It has been shown through research that worker bees may change specific jobs within the hive and appear to be able to do many things to help. Worker bees may help smaller bees, clean honeycomb, protect the hive or find new locations if the hive is looking to relocate.
What is incredible is how all the bees who reside in the hive work together and how a healthy hive has balance, temperature, weight, and expected audio signals. The new technology used to track this is reaching new heights as more beekeepers join. The World Bee Project hopes to connect every beehive to the Global Hive Network. The more hive data collected, the more valuable the research will be as it relates to the global health of honeybees.