As we all know, the bee population is declining at an alarming rate, and while the causes are many, the solutions are few. At the very least, beekeepers need to keep an extra-close eye on their hives which can be difficult when there are a few thousand of them. A Canadian researcher is working on a monitoring system that listens to the buzz and passes on word if things are going south.
Oldooz Pooyanfar, a graduate student at Simon Fraser University, created the device to improve data collection and hopefully lead to some insight into colony collapse disorder, the mysterious affliction that has claimed many a hive.
With this monitoring system, we are collecting data in real time on what the bees are saying about foraging, or if theyre swarming, or if the queen bee is present, Pooyanfar said in a news release.
Ultimately, with enough of these things going and contributing data to a central pool in real time, a neural network would be trained to watch for problems. Thats part of Pooyanfars thesis work (in progress).
Right now the device is built from off-the-shelf parts, so its a bit bulky and expensive, but its hoped that a custom-manufactured sensor package could get the cost down. Shes working with local beekeepers to develop the hardware and software, and says theres been quite a bit of interest.
Pooyanfars ongoing work is funded by the Mitacs Accelerate program.