“To bee or not to be.” — BeeWise website slogan
Around the globe, bees are in trouble. Experts say a population decline is largely due to rigorous farming, some pesticides, and natural parasites. The bee trauma forecasts problems for fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts. But a new robotic hive could help bees come buzzing back.
God made bees to transfer pollen from blossom to blossom, thereby participating in pollination. Once pollinated, plants produce fruits and seeds that will become new plants. Some birds and butterflies also pollinate, but honeybees are the world’s top pollinators.
Bee expert Hallel Schreier says, “Bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, nuts [that] we eat.” Some scientists predict that without bees, about a third of all human food would disappear.
For years, companies have experimented with technologies to slow down mass colony collapse (loss of worker bees in a hive). Tactics have included placing sensors on traditional wooden beehives as well as methods like artificial pollination.
But Israeli startup BeeWise insists the problem is beekeeping’s “150-year-old technology: a wooden box.” The company’s promo video proposes that “to save the bees, we don’t need to think outside the box. We need to reinvent the box.”
To that end, BeeWise has developed a next-generation hive.
Roughly the size of a cargo trailer, BeeWise’s high-tech hive—called a BeeHome—houses 24 colonies. The solar-powered hive allows beekeepers to monitor and treat bees and hives remotely.
A computer addresses hive and bee health onsite, when needed—without human intervention. This kind of ’round-the-clock care minimizes the risk of collapse.
Buzzing bees drown out the hum of a robotic arm. One after another, the BeeHome scans stacks of honeycombs housing up to two million bees. The machine inspects for disease, monitors for pesticides, and then reports any hazards threatening the colony. It can also harvest honey inside the hive, adjust temperature and humidity, apply medicine, and combine or split hives.
BeeHome features computer vision, artificial intelligence, and precision robotics. Color-coded openings on the sides allow bees to come and go. “Anything a beekeeper would do, the robotic mechanism can mimic and do it more effectively without ever getting tired, without going on vacation, and without complaining,” says BeeWise CEO Saar Safra.
BeeHome doesn’t replace the human beekeeper. Like any machine, the BeeHome must be programmed and serviced. But with an efficiency no human could match, it sure makes the apiarist’s job easier.
The BeeWise website claims its computerized BeeHome works “as if every bee had her own beekeeper 24/7, rain or shine.”
Why? In wisdom, God created both bees and beekeepers. As new challenges arise, God also gives creativity and wisdom to face those challenges with innovation for all the world’s good.
Pray: For the thriving of bees around the world and for hearts to protect God’s creation by our actions and thereby honor Him.