Agtech business ApisProtect is working on revolutionising beekeeping by working with beekeepers around the world to develop innovative technology to remotely monitor honey bees.

Cork company ApisProtect has revealed that more than 100m honey bees around the world are being monitored using its technology.

In time for World Bee Day today (20 May) the company has expanded on its vision to save the bees by launching its first product for consumers, a device for beekeeping hobbyists.

“With the help of our technology, we want to secure the supply of one-third of our diet, and make sure we can nourish and feed the 9.7bn people on planet earth by 2050”

The latest European Wide Coloss report highlighted that winter honey bee losses of up to 32pc were experienced in Europe. Winter losses can be reduced by ensuring the hive is healthy throughout the year by catching pests and diseases earlier. ApisProtect monitors can remotely monitor hives 24/7 and alert beekeepers to the hives that need their attention the most, thus ensuring colonies are strong and healthy before overwintering.

Feed the world

Honey bee collecting pollen.

“For the past three years, we have worked side by side with commercial and hobbyist beekeepers in the US and Ireland to develop our remote beehive monitoring system, collating over 15m data sets,” said Fiona Edwards-Murphy, CEO and co-founder of ApisProtect.

“As we have seen with smart technology in all elements of our lives, the potential of collating data for improved decision making is transformative. By utilizing sensor technology within the beehive, we can provide the beekeeper with data to improve decision making and increase the strength and health of their honey bee colonies.”

The hobbyist version of this Irish designed and manufactured technology is now available exclusively in Ireland for Irish beekeepers prior to a European wide launch later next year.

Irish beekeepers have worked with ApisProtect to develop this award-winning technology and helped to ensure that this product is robust enough to survive the tough conditions inside the hive.

ApisProtect hobbyist honey product.

“We are really excited to be working with ApisProtect this year,” said Kyle Petrie of OpenHive. “This sort of technology is really interesting for us and we’re very much looking forward to getting it in our hands and in turn, into our hives.”

Not only is this technology helping beekeepers to build strong colonies for honey production, it is also vital for pollination of many food crops. The production of 80pc of the 264 crop species cultivated in the EU depends directly on insect pollinators, and the global annual monetary value of pollination is estimated to be €153bn.

Beekeeper at work.

Photo: Jonathan Fleury

“Our technology has the potential to save and even expand the professional beekeeping industry in Europe which makes a significant and vital contribution to crop pollination,” said Dr Pádraig Whelan, CSO and co-founder of ApisProtect.

“European honey bees have provided approximately half of the recorded crop visits in European studies. In a survey of farmers from 10 European countries, 49pc indicated that they experienced yield deficits due to inadequate pollination.”

Dr Edwards Murphy added: “The pollination service provided by honey bees overall has a far greater economic and social significance than the sale of apicultural products alone. With the help of our technology, we want to secure the supply of one-third of our diet, and make sure we can nourish and feed the 9.7bn people on planet earth by 2050.” 

Main image at top: ApisProtect co-founder and CEO Dr Fiona Edwards-Murphy. Photo: Jonathan Fleury

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 2021