EyesOnHives: Tool to Revolutionize Honey Bee Hive Monitoring
Keltronix Inc in the beggining of November announced the launch of EyesOnHivesTM a powerful analytics platform that helps beekeepers, scientists, and other researchers quantify and assess the activity and health of a beehive.
With EyesOnHives, beehive activity data and video is gathered more frequently and more accurately than previously possible, and a successful beta study has shown that the tool enabled beekeepers to reduce colony collapse and save beehives.
The company also announced their goal to make a version of EyesOnHives available to hobbyist beekeepers through a Kickstarter campaign. The company states that with enough support they can achieve their goal of building low cost systems, and compile an enormous dataset to further enable researchers to help bees.
Long Story Short
- EyesOnHives watches and learns about a beehive. Each device automatically uploads videos and data, and assesses what the bees are doing throughout the day.
- Through an app, real-time data is easily seen using graphs highlighting important changes in hive behavior.
- Beekeepers’ time is saved because they can prioritize the colonies that need management, when its needed.
- Knowledge is shared because beekeepers can see videos and data from other hives, remotely assess, and share beekeeping knowledge with the community.
- Proven in the field – There are presently 15 systems installed in the beta test, which has been running for 1 year.
It`s All About Passion
“We’re honored to work with worldclass beekeepers and provide them with tools to better understand bee health, and ultimately reduce colony collapse rates,” said Kelton Temby, founder of Keltronix. “In just ten months, EyesOnHives uncovered insights into queenlessness, ant attacks, growth trends and orientation activity the heartbeat of a bee colony. Beyond the science and tech, it’s really connecting people with bees.”
Beekeeping associations and researchers are able to review the growing database of over 350,000 videos and data from the study, and beekeepers report that EyesOnHives has led to timely Each EyesOnHives Model BTM device sits a foot in front of a beehive, and runs patent pending algorithms to measure bee activity while recording video, collecting environmental data, and uploading to the cloud-based analytics platform.
“We set out trying to document hive activity without interfering with it, and wound up with a health monitor for honey bees,” says Temby.
Bees are responsible for one in three bites of the food we eat, and humans have been keeping bees for thousands of years. But for the last decade, beekeepers have been reporting unsustainable losses of bees. In 2014, 42% of bee colonies died in the US. Beekeepers try to ‘split’ colonies and breed extra queens to replace the lost colonies, but with such high losses, beekeepers and researchers say the Until now, beekeepers weren’t getting early warnings that a honey bee colony was in trouble.
“The bees need help, and we want to help beekeepers deliver it,” says Temby, “so we built an analytics platform for monitoring honey bee hive health.” Asked why a technology company would focus on beekeeping, he answers, “We believe beekeeping, like organic farming, supports the health of the environment, and is key to sustainable agriculture. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to sustainable agriculture.”
The company has formed partnerships with beekeeping associations, and is in discussion with several universities on future collaboration.
After looking at the EyesOnHives system, Eric Mussen, Emeritus Extension Apiculturist, UC Davis, points out that
“Flight activity can be a pretty good indication of what is going on in a hive, but as soon as something looks erratic, you have to go find out why.”
Peter Loring Borst of Cornell University and a regular contributor to the American Bee Journal shares of EyesOnHives
“At this point you have identified several important changes of the colony’s behavior. The data that’s being captured by this process shows very clearly there are events that can be identified at a glance. Not just flight activity, but the signature of flight activity gives you a really interesting window into what’s going on in that colony at that point in time”.
Paul Cronshaw, a beekeeper of 40 years, and President of the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association adds
“I can now just take a quick snapshot to check in, like a patient and a doctor, to see how the hive is doing. With that information I can decide I don’t have to visit today, or decide there is something going on and I need to take care of it now, or else that hive isn’t going to be there in a couple of days”.
On using EyesOnHives for education and outreach Mr Cronshaw states
“I was able to take my phone, put it onto a tv screen, and show my students exactly what the bees are doing”.