Technology tracks ‘bee talk’ to help improve honey bee health – Phys.Org

Posted: August 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

August 4, 2017 SFU Mechatronics Systems Engineering graduate student Oldooz Poyanfar and her bee monitoring system PRO. Credit: Simon Fraser University

Biologists are working to better understand Colony Collapse Disorder given the value of honey bees to the economy and the environment. Monitoring bee activity and improving monitoring systems may help to address the issue.

Simon Fraser University graduate student Oldooz Pooyanfar is monitoring what more than 20,000 honeybees housed in hives in a Cloverdale field are "saying" to each otherlooking for clues about their health.

Pooyanfar's technology is gleaning communication details from sound within the hives with her beehive monitoring systemtechnology she developed at SFU. She says improving knowledge about honey bee activity is critical, given a 30 per cent decline in the honeybee population over the past decade in North America. Research into the causes of what is referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder continues. The presence of fewer bees affects both crop pollination and the environment.

Pooyanfar's monitoring platform is placed along the wall of the hive and fitted with tiny sensors containing microphones (and eventually, accelometers) that monitor sound and vibration. Temperature and humidity are also recorded. Her system enables data collection on sound within the hives and also tracks any abnormalities to which beekeepers can immediately respond.

The high-tech smart system is being used to gather data over the summer.

Pooyanfar, who has been working with Chilliwack-based Worker Bee Honey Company, believes that better understanding the daily patterns and conditions, using an artificial neural network in the hive, will help to improve bee colony management. Current methods of monitoring provide less detailed information and can disrupt bee activity for up to 24 hours every time the hive is opened.

"To learn about what bees are communicating, we can either look at pheromonesthe chemical they produceor sound," says Pooyanfar, who initially received funding through the MITACS Accelerate program. The City of Surrey is providing the field space for her research.

The video will load shortly

"With this monitoring system, we are collecting data in real time on what the bees are 'saying' about foraging, or if they're swarming, or if the queen bee is present right now we are collecting as much data as possible that will pinpoint what they are actually doing."

Pooyanfar, a graduate student in SFU's School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering, plans to eventually manufacture a sensor package for this application to help lower the costs of monitoring and allow more beekeepers to monitor their hives in real-time. Her initial-stage research was featured at the Greater Vancouver Clean Technology Expo last fall.

Explore further: Vibrating bees tell the state of the hive

Before eating your next meal, pause for a moment to thank the humble honeybee. Farmers of almonds, broccoli, cantaloupe and many other nuts, vegetables and fruits rely heavily on managed honeybees to pollinate their crops ...

It was a sticky situation.

Honey bees are responsible for pollinating crops worth more than US$19 billion and for producing about US$385 million in honey a year in the United States. In Australia, honey bee production is a A$92-million industry.

Thousands of honey bees in Australia are being fitted with tiny sensors as part of a world-first research program to monitor the insects and their environment using a technique known as 'swarm sensing'.

Molly Keck, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and integrated pest management specialist in Bexar County, has been receiving a number of phone calls from area residents bewildered by recent bee activity.

Despite having few taste genes, honey bees are fine-tuned to know what minerals the colony may lack and proactively seek out nutrients in conjunction with the season when their floral diet varies.

(Phys.org)An international team of researchers has found evidence showing that maize evolved to survive in the U.S. southwest highlands thousands of years ago. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group ...

A chance discovery has opened up a new method of finding unknown viruses.

When trouble looms, the fish-scale geckos of Madagascar resort to what might seem like an extreme form of self-defensetearing out of their own skin.

Scientists have developed a computational method to detect chemical changes in DNA that highlight cell diversity and may lead to a better understanding of cancer.

A new study led by the Australian National University (ANU) has found that plants are able to forget stressful weather events to rapidly recover.

In the last 20 years, the field of animal coloration research has experienced explosive growth thanks to numerous technological advances, and it now stands on the threshold of a new era.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Here is the original post:

Technology tracks 'bee talk' to help improve honey bee health - Phys.Org

Related Post