High Tech Hives: how the IoT keeps bees buzzing
Bees may seem like nothing more than pests to swat away at picnics, but in reality they are profoundly important. Seventy of the top 100 food crops are pollinated by bees, which account for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Unfortunately, bee populations have declined precipitously in the recent past. In fact, beehives, also called colonies, have declined by 90% since 1962. The cause for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is believed to be a combination of factors, including pesticides, lack of wild forage, disease, and parasites. In particular, an aptly named mite called Varroa destructor has become a serious threat. These insects feed on the blood of honeybees, transmitting pathogens and suppressing bee immunity. Until now, the only way of controlling these invaders has been harmful pesticides.
Eltopia teams up with Gemalto for eco-friendly IoT solution to solve the bee crisis
Eltopia, an agricultural communications innovator, and Gemalto, the global leader in digital security and Machine to Machine (M2M) technology, have developed a pesticide-free Internet of Things (IoT) solution to eliminate mites in hives.MiteNot is a smart beehive frame that monitors and manages hive temperatures and prevents mites from reproducing. Easy to use, biodegradable, and non-toxic, MiteNot is essentially a flexible screen-printed circuit camouflaged as a honeycomb. Beekeepers simply swap out one frame within the beehive with a reusable, sensor-embedded MiteNot frame.
A controller sends sensor data 24/7 to Gemalto’s rugged Cinterion® PHS8, which in turn sends data over the Internet to Eltopia’s BeeSafe application. When temperature thresholds are met, BeeSafe sends commands back to the M2M Module, which instructs the controller to elevate heat in specific regions of the hive, sterilizing mite larva.
Blooms and bees thriving thanks to Eltopia, Gemalto and wireless IoT connectivity
According to renowned entomologist Marla Spivak, the Gemalto-powered Eltopia MiteNot may be the most innovative, effective method for turning the bee crisis around. The elegant solution is currently being tested at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab and in almond crops in California, where early results are extremely encouraging. Gemalto’s Cinterion® PHS8 module enables a full range of M2M IoT features leveraging 3G technologies today (HSPA+ and five band UMTS) while ensuring a reliable path to 4G in the future without expensive redesigns. Most importantly, Gemalto’s M2M technology helps mitigate the bee crisis and ultimately ensure a bountiful food supply.