Homegrown Hive to save Bees in Ireland

Student: Jessica Yu | Uni: Jy3076

Problem:

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More than 30% of Irish bee species are threatened with extinction, part of the reason that bee populations have undergone a rapid decline is the rise in imports of international bees. Originating from totally different climates, these bees and others, like the Italian bee, are used to warmer weather. They can’t survive the Irish rain.

Technology:

Niamh built a hive (Econooc) that’s designed to help save the native bee population. It will not reject international bees, but it will focus on conserving black bees.

  • This self-assembly hive “biomimics” the shape of a tree hollow, this being the perfect shape for bees to move around in a cluster during the winter months.
  • The base of the Econooc is made from mycelium, which is grown from mushrooms, and is similar to polystyrene, while also having natural substances that give the bees an extra defense against the varroa mite that can carry viruses into the hive.
  • The hive comes with a calendar that teaches the user about biodiversity and how to create a more diverse garden. This calendar is made from paper embedded with wildflower seeds which the user can plant to encourage pollinators.

Source: http://thenewnow.ie/students/niamh-damery/econooc/

Stakeholders:

  • Local Farmers
  • Government
  • Food companies

Implementation:

1.) Identify the areas that have wide green space and trees. Or work with Farms that have the area to install these hives

2.) Partner with farmers and local government to monitor the process and track the increase of bee growth

3.) Ensure this program and initiative has continuously grown and been maintained and can look into expanding into other areas

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.