What’s the Buzz About Saving Honey Bees with the Internet of Things?

Researchers at University of Minnesota in partnership with a company called Eltopia, have developed a new technology which sterilizes varroa mites without harming bees in the process.  By swapping out one frame of the bee hive with a compostable circuit board, the MiteNot technology gathers environmental data and targets prime conditions for mite reproduction.  The Internet of Things makes this possible by sending data up to the cloud via mobile app for storage and analysis.  The systems interact with no human intervention and literally turn up the heat just enough to sterilize male mites before the female’s eggs are fertilized.  Eltopia hopes to make the devices available before the end of the year.

BeeMiteInfestedBee

The Technology

  • MiteNot device uses circuit board, sensors gather environmental data: temp, humidity, etc.
  • Monitors prime conditions for mite reproduction
  • Detects when female mites have laid eggs, send info to Eltopia’s cloud based application
  • BeeSafe app sends signal to warm up hive enough to sterilize male mites before eggs are fertilized
  • Being tested; still in research and development stage

MiteNot Panel

The Sustainability Problem

  • High rate of loss of bees due to pesticides, climate change (less rain), mite infestation
  • Device target: destructive parasites destroying colonies and decimating bee population
  • Loss of bees is a threat to pollination which in turn impacts food supply
  • MiteNot is a green solution without pesticides
  • Circuit board is created from renewable resources, it is also compostable
  • Internet of Things (IoT) allows for the efficient collection of huge amounts of data required

Beekeeper

The Stakeholders

  • Academics: University of Minnesota and others agricultural and engineering institutions
  • Commercial Beekeepers
  • Growers of flowers and fruits which require cross-pollination
  • Major food manufacturers: General Mills, Kellog’s, Kraft, PepsiCo, etc.
  • Consumers

The Process of Technology Implementation

  • Continue research and development
  • Determine economic efficiency/profitability; cost of tech vs ROI
  • Expand pilot project to other professional beekeepers and academic labs
  • Share new technology and best practices

You’ll find more on Eltopia’s innovative MiteNot technonogy here.

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