The plight of the world’s honeybees and their struggle against colony collapse disorder has been well documented. In 2016 alone, more than 40 percent of colonies in the United States perished. To fight this troubling trend, many beekeepers have turned to technology for help — and soon they might have another high tech tool at their disposal. Say hellow to BuzzBox: an innovative hive monitoring device designed to keep beekeepers more in touch with their buzzing broods.
Bees are finicky creatures, and a wide variety of different factors can affect the overall activity and health of a given hive. The BuzzBox system is based around a series of sensors that track these factors — things like ambient temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and more. As an added bonus, the entire unit is powered via a two-watt solar panel. The device also has a a built-in anti-theft accelerometer to monitor movement just in case someone tries to nab your kit and/or hived.
The BuzzBox is also capable of recording and analyzing the acoustics inside of a hive and recognize patterns over time. This enables the device to detect a panoply of diseases, parasites, and other health issues facing a colony — which gives beekeepers time to intercede before the issues spread to the entire hive.
All of this information is readily available via the accompanying BuzzBox Hive Health Monitor app (available on both Android and iOS). Once installed, the app will will allow beekeepers to receive updates from BuzzBox, and more aptly monitor their hives and analyze the data they create. The app will be able to track and relay information pertaining to collapsed colonies, swarm and pre-swarm behavior, and also detect a missing Queen (a common factor in collapsed colonies).
The campaign’s creators plan to incorporate other features in the future based on community beekeeper feedback. Currently, BuzzBox is working with a lab to gather data from 24 hives that have been exposed to an array of pesticides. The company hopes these pesticides will prompt the exposed bees to emit a unique audio signal. This acoustic fingerprint could be used to add a pesticide toxicity detection element to the platform. The company claims the BuzzBox will be automatically updated with more accurate hive health reports as the company learns other indicators.