The World Bee Project is collaborating with Arnia, a UK technology company working with scientists around the world since early 2011 to launch the Sentinel Hive Network in the UK.
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.
We aim to contribute to Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy ambition to “improve evidence on the status of pollinators and pollinations services by developing a sustainable long-term monitoring programme to draw together all existing data to produce candidate indicators of change for insect pollinators, and for important crop pollinators”.
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.
At present there is no geographic wide-scale data available about the status and dynamics of honeybee and bumblebee populations in the UK.
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
It’s important that children understand the role of bees as pollinators, and learn what they can do to help bees, bumblebees and other pollinators to thrive.
In collaboration with schools the Sentinel Hive Network will be used to inspire children to understand ecosystems, biodiversity, climate change and food security, and encourage them to understand various scientific and technological concepts as well . Our activities will include interpreting hive 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.
People are taking up beekeeping with enthusiasm but scientists warn that the boom could be bad for honeybees, bumblebees and other pollinators as it risks overtaxing the available nectar and pollen supply, and potentially lowering pollinator resistance and encouraging the spread of diseases.
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.