A Buzzworthy New Beehive Monitoring System

Scientists around the world are sounding alarm bells about the dwindling number of bees. With this in mind, Latvian startup BeeSage has created a monitoring system to give beekeepers the tools and information they need to ensure their hives can thrive.

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Beekeeper is working with bees and beehives
With bee colonies across the world disappearing, likely due to a combination of parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and sublethal exposure to pesticides, it’s especially important that we protect this valuable resource. Photo: Serhii / stock.com.pl

It is a fact that the humble bee is one of the most valuable insects on the planet. Sure, honey is delicious and has medicinal values that are hard to underestimate, but it’s really the crucial role of pollination where bees are the most indispensable. They are so necessary, in fact, that a world without bees would mean a world without fruits, vegetables, and nuts, like apples, almonds, coffee, tomatoes, or cocoa, just to name a few; this would lead to a global food crisis.

Problematic pollination

That’s not even mentioning that in economic terms, numerous studies have shown a direct link between a farmer’s yield and the presence of bees. Some experts estimate that pollination due to bees is worth somewhere in the ballpark of USD 35 billion worldwide annually. With bee colonies across the world disappearing, likely due to a combination of parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and sublethal exposure to pesticides, it’s especially important that we protect this valuable resource.

BeeSage has a possible solution – with a long waitlist – to aid beekeepers in protecting their hives: the Smart Beehive Scale, which is a beehive monitoring product that gives beekeepers real-time information about current hive conditions, including humidity, temperature, theft, and more. This helps beekeepers make informed decisions on beehive maintenance, which in turn leads to a more supportive environment for the bees, not to mention helping to evaluate the strength of a colony and take advantage of peak blooming periods.

BeeSage to the rescue

The company was started by co-founders Ru Wikmann and Girts Kagis, who met at an IoT Hackathon event held in Riga, Latvia. They ultimately won the competition with a prototype of their Smart Scales, which they created in a mere 36 hours.

The idea behind the company’s novel invention was inspired by an unfortunate occurrence. One spring, Kagis’s father, who is a hobby beekeeper, discovered that his honeybee hive had died during the winter with no clues as to why. Kagis, who has a background in electronics engineering, thought that sensors and monitors might help solve the mystery. Together with coding specialist Wikmann, they devised the plan for BeeSage.

As for what’s next for this promising startup, they are currently testing their latest product, Sensor Node, which utilizes sound frequency to derive insights and mitigate risks during the overwintering of honeybee colonies. That’s in addition to a data analytics platform, which will enable beekeeper associations and other entities to understand geographical trends in honey production and pollination. 

According to the company’s website, “Our mission is to enable bees to share knowledge with the human race through real-time data, thus influencing policymakers towards environmental protection.” A commendable goal, indeed.

Cynthia Sklodowski

freelance editor and writer from Dallas, Texas, who has been living in Warsaw, Poland for over a decade with her husband and 2 kids. She has worked for publications such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, and is still hard at work trying to figure out the Polish language.

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