The WBP Hive Network’s ultimate goal is to help inform and implement global actions to improve habitats, create more sustainable ecosystems, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods.
The World Bee Project’s ultimate vision is to place the natural world at the heart of public policy and enshrine environmental protection in national constitutions.
The World Bee Project Hive Network (WBP Hive Network) is an international network of remotely monitored honey bee hives expanding the knowledge base by contributing to invaluable local and global research projects.
With food security, biodiversity and pollination under critical global threat, the World Bee Project and Oracle have come together to harvest and analyse vital data from the World Bee Project’s Hive Network. The World Bee Project and Oracle will remotely collect data from the WBP’s network of globally connected beehives. The data will be fed into Oracle’s Cloud, which will use analytics tools, including artificial intelligence (AI) and data visualisation, to garner crucial and unprecedented insights into the relationships between honey bees and their environments.
The World Bee Project Hive Network hopes to contribute to worldwide action to monitor bee and pollinator decline, identify practices and build capacity in the management of pollination services for sustainable agriculture, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods.
Ultimately, the WBP Hive Network can generate insights 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, as well as to better understanding of diseases, parasites and predatory species and the development of control measures. The insights can improve understanding of pollination deficits and refine understanding of agri-environment monitoring and evaluation, strengthen existing surveillance, support the needs of policy and contribute to Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy.
An unprecedented study integrating data from around the globe has shown that honey bees are the world's most important single species of pollinator in natural ecosystems and a key contributor to natural ecosystem functions. One out of eight interactions between a non-agricultural plant and a pollinator is carried out by the honey bee, the study revealed. The honey bee's global importance is further underscored when considering that it is but one of tens of thousands of pollinating species in the world, including wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths and other bee species. The report weaves together information from 80 plant-pollinator interaction networks. The results clearly identify the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as the single most frequent visitor to flowers of naturally occurring (non-crop) plants worldwide. Honey bees were recorded in 89 percent of the pollination networks in the honey bee's native range and in 61 percent in regions where honey bees have been introduced by humans.
Understanding how pollinators live is a vital component in helping us to ensure that they not only survive, but also how we can help them thrive.
REMOTE MONITORING AND BEEKEEPING
The technologies the World Bee Project is deploying makes it possible through Warble observations to predict if a honey bee colony is going to swarm. This is vital data for a beekeeper as it is merely one of the key management tasks during the beekeeping season.
However, swarm preparation is merely one ‘state’ of a colony at a certain time of the season. The value of bee data is in informing beekeepers of various different states of the colony throughout the year to aid colony management, not just swarming.
Other states the technology can remotely identify and alert beekeepers of are: queenless-ness, low food stores, robbing (by wasps/other bees, which can decimate a colony), queen mating flights (also critical), nectar flow/dearth, when supers need removing/adding and, more recently attack by Asian Hornet. This helps beekeepers to manage colonies; timing inspections, feeding, hive manipulations and treatments more accurately whilst minimizing disruption to the colony. This will help build more resilient honeybee colonies.
The technology aids in the development of data driven best practices and beekeeper training and education. Specific information on colony status helps improve productivity and honey yields, combat the spread of disease, parasites and pests.
BEES, BIODIVERSITY AND LEARNING
At Royal Botanic Gardens Kew we have been talking with children about plant-pollinator interactions and about the global importance of honey bees. Children are fascinated to learn that all bee and pollinator species rely on habitat, and all are essential for pollination without which we wouldn’t have the fruits and vegetables we love to eat.
“School doesn’t have to be a place, but rather a frame of mind that uses the Arts as a lever to explosive growth, social-emotional connections, and the foundation for the innovators of tomorrow…today!”
The WBP Hive Network can provide an endless well of resources for use in STEAM education programmes, covering topics such as bee and plant anatomy, bee and plant interactions, seasonal changes, pollination and environment, ecosystems, land use, food chain, food security, weather, climate change, computing, programming, science/mathematics: measurement, data analysis, and generation of graphs, statistics, correlations.
We are designing programmes to spark children’s inherent sense of wonder and curiosity and enhance their learning ability. The programmes will interpret the World Bee Project Hive Network sound data to inspire children to do all they can to look after bees and other pollinators, and explore pollination to understand biodiversity, ecosystems, climate change, food security and sustainability, democracy, animal welfare, history, art, maths and music.