Sentinel Hive Network
The Sentinel Hive Network is deploying over 1,000 AI powered Smart Beehives globally by 2022 in locations of strategic biosecurity importance . The network will provide an unparalleled fact base of real time intelligence into the state of honeybee and colony health.
The Sentinel Hive Network has the following objectives;
- Build awareness of honeybee colony health through community engagement
- Enable research utilising the latest technology
- Detect and respond to threats in real time
Every BeeMate purchased contributes to growing the Sentinel Hive Network.
The Importance of bees
Bees are renowned for their role in providing high-quality food (honey, royal jelly and pollen) and other products used in healthcare and other sectors (beeswax, propolis, honey bee venom). But the work of bees entails much more!
The greatest contribution of bees and other pollinators is the pollination of nearly three quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. A third of the world’s food production depends on bees, i.e. every third spoonful of food depends on pollination.
Over the past 50 years, the amount of crops that depend on pollinators (i.e. fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oilseeds) has tripled. Bees play an important role in relation to the scope of agricultural production. Effective pollination increases the amount of agricultural produce, improves their quality and enhances plants’ resistance to pests.
Cultivated plants that depend on pollination are an important source of income to farmers, especially smaller farmers and family-owned farms in developing countries. They provide jobs and income to millions of people. According to the estimates of an international study conducted in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the annual global production of food that depends directly on pollination was worth between $235 and $577 billion.
State of bees around the world
A mass disappearance of bees occurred in California in 2004. Since then, the US beekeepers have been facing great losses of bees over winter, which causes enormous economic damage. Bee losses in the USA amounted to 33% in 2017.
Bee losses have occurred in Europe as well. There are great differences in terms of individual countries and individual over-winterings of bee colonies, with 12% of bee colonies perishing on average in 2016.
Reasons for the decline
Researchers have established that the main reasons for the mortality of bees include:
- varroa mites, nosema disease and complications with queen bees, and viral infections in Europe;
- mass use of products intended to protect plants in modern farming and their potential impact on pollinators, especially plant protection products in the neonicotinoids classification, as their harmful effect on bees has been thoroughly documented;
- new pests, which spread faster around the world due to globalisation;
- urbanisation, which is shrinking the agricultural space;
- climate change;
- global trade in low-quality honey, which impacts the beekeeping economy.
If bee families continue to disappear in Europe at current or even higher rates, this could lead to the breakdown of the economy and put our health and well-being at risk.