In fine weather, nearly 50,000 workers take off each day from the hive to go but within a radius of 3 km, before returning to the fold to feed the colony. The bees’ job is far from being limited to the production of honey, since by roaming orchards and gardens in search of nectar, they participate in pollination.
But it happens that some do not return to their queen, victims of catastrophic weather conditions as in 2021, lack of food or chemical pollution of the surrounding spaces. Each year, 35% of colonies die and 75% of crops need to be pollinated and grow.
An excess mortality that beekeepers cannot immediately realize, sometimes discovering after a few weeks that their hive has lost more than half of its workers. To avoid losing the entire test, BeeGuard, a Toulouse start-up that launched a few years ago in connected hives, has just launched ApiAlert.
Learn more about the bee’s environment
This bee counter by video analysis, embedded in the hive, allows daily biomonitoring and complements the humidity sensors or even the weather already present.
“We continuously film the take-off board and thanks to artificial intelligence we detect bees and follow them. We will then link the data between those that go out and those that come in, which allows us to know the mortality on a daily basis, with an error error of 5%. If there is a depopulation of the hives due to a chemical impact, we know quickly and this prevents the whole hive from dying, ”explains Christian Lubat, the manager of BeeGuard.
The bee, a real living sensor, thus makes it possible to collect data on its environment and to give a photograph of it at a given moment. Like a drone, it sends back to the central server, the hive, and gives a lot of information on the biodiversity of a territory. For beekeepers, this makes it possible to better organize the monitoring of their apiary, to anticipate production increases or to move their herds in the event of danger due to the spreading of phytosanitary products nearby.
BeeGuard sees other uses as well. Knowing now “the strength of his colony”, the beekeeper can offer his hives for hire for farmers who need pollination. “This can also be used in areas such as viticulture which has a dynamic towards greener production, it can be a tool, especially for labeling. ApiAlert can also be used by public authorities, in particular in the implementation of biodiversity plans to find out if they are effective or during actions to compensate or balance biodiversity ”, continues Christian Lubat, whose company based in Labège a launch fundraising on the Wiseed platform. With the objective of being able to install an ApiAlert target on its connected beehives from next year.
Outsmart the theft of beehives
Today, BeeGuard counts 4,000 in France, in Italy or in Switzerland equipped with its traditional sensors which make it possible to measure the hygrometry and the temperature or the weight of the hive to know its output. Thanks to a GPS tracking system, they also benefit from a security system, which makes it possible to thwart certain thefts. Because with the increase in losses, and the difficulty in finding tests, some malicious beekeepers have decided to go help themselves to their “colleagues”. This was the case in Occitania not so long ago, where a hive operator was able to recover them using GPS. But also in Italy about two weeks ago where the thieves had come to load the beehives in trucks.
From classic surveillance to biomonitoring, BeeGuard is making beekeepers have a little less bumblebee with new technologies.