To establish recent and ongoing trends in pollinator populations and their status and to help develop a long term sustainable monitoring programme for pollinators, the World Bee Project is launching the National Sentinel Hive Network (SHN) in partnership with Arnia, a British technology company working with scientists around the world since early 2011. The Sentinel Hive Network will support policy needs and contribute to Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy Implementation Plan 2014-2024 ambition to establish recent and ongoing trends in pollinator populations and their status, and develop a long term sustainable monitoring programme for pollinators.
At present there is no geographic wide-scale data available about the status and dynamics of honey bee and bumble bee populations in the UK and Ireland. Through a network of remotely monitored honeybee hives and bumblebee nests, the World Bee Project will generate significant data on the impact of factors such as land use, agricultural practices and forage quality, on the health and productivity of honey bees and bumble bees.
The Sentinel Hive Network aims to refine understanding of agri-environment monitoring and evaluation in England, strengthen existing surveillance, refine understanding of pollination deficits, support the needs of policy and help develop a long term sustainable monitoring programme for pollinators.
The Sentinel Hive Network aims to contribute to Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy Implementation Plan 2014-2024 ambition to establish recent and ongoing trends in pollinator populations and their status, and develop a long- term sustainable monitoring programme for pollinators.
Biodiversity and Pollinator Welfare Dataset for scientists and government
Through a geographically widespread network of remotely monitored hives the Sentinel Hive Network will provide an immensely rich dataset for scientists and government to assess the health and dynamics of honeybee and bumblebee populations and will keep us informed of the positive changes we can make to our environment and practices to improve bee welfare.
BEE HEALTH AND ECOLOGY ALERTS FOR BEEKEEPERS
The Sentinel Hive Network can provide an early warning system to alert beekeepers of potential problems due to increases in diseases, pests or shortages of forage, and so forth.
The Sentinel Hive Network monitoring technology can identify local issues in real time and facilitate warnings to beekeepers in affected areas to allow prompt action (for example, a nectar dearth requiring beekeepers to check food stores, or identification of pests such as small hive beetle or the Asian hornet). The automatic, remote collection of data will contribute to the understanding of diseases, parasites and predatory species and will help with the development of control measures.
COLLABORATION WITH BEEKEEPING TRAINING AND EDUCATION
The Sentinel Hive Network can enable the development of data driven best management practices for beekeepers to make a valuable contribution to beekeeping training and education programmes.
citizen engagement in pollinator conservation
The Sentinel Hive Network is a unique way of engaging the general public with issues of biodiversity and pollinator conservation. By following the lives of real bee colonies in gardens, parks, wildflower meadows and vegetable gardens people can gain insights into what bees need to survive and thrive .
COLLABORATION WITH SCHOOLS
WE WANT CHILDREN TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
It’s important that children learn that bees rely on habitat, that all species of bees are essential for pollination and there are other pollinators such as butterflies and bats, that without pollination very many flowers wouldn’t be able to produce seeds, and without seeds we wouldn’t have fruits and vegetables. It’s important that children participate in bigger conversations about biodiversity and engage in activities that inspire them to live lives that make a difference to the lives of others.
IN COLLABORATION WITH SCHOOLS WE WILL LAUNCH ‘BEE FOR BIODIVERSITY’ SCHOOLS
Our programmes will spark children’s inherent sense of wonder and curiosity and enhance their learning ability. We will explore bees and pollination to understand biodiversity, ecosystems, climate change, food security and sustainability, democracy, animal welfare, history, art, maths and music. We will also offer opportunities for developing practical skills, for example, learning basic carpentry skills to construct hives and planting skills to plant pollinator gardens.
The activities will include interpreting the Sentinel Hive Network audio data to inspire children to do all they can to look after bees and other pollinators. The Sentinel Hive Network can provide an endless well of resources which can be used in STEM education, covering topics such as:
- Biology/Botany: Bee and plant anatomy, bee/plant interactions, seasonal changes, pollination.
- Geography/Environment: Ecosystem, land use, food chain, food security, weather, climate change.
- Design & Technology: Computing, programming, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Big Data.
- Science/Mathematics: Measurement, data analysis, generating graphs, statistics, correlations.
The dataset the Sentinel Hive Network generates will help assess the health and dynamics of the honeybee and bumblebee populations, informing us of the positive changes we can make to our environment and practices to improve bee health and welfare.