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wfp-todd-fitchette-honeybees-15.jpg Todd Fitchette
Ground truthing bee health issues is said to be easier through sensor technology being developed by a California company.

Bee sensor technology aided by $4m in seed money

Sensor technology promises to help beekeepers better manage colonies

Investors recently gave $4 million in seed money to a company developing sensors to study honeybee behavior. The idea behind this is to better predict issues before they lead to colony collapse.

The small sensors are being installed in hives in partnership with beekeepers to track insect behavior in real time. According to Omer Davidi, chief executive officer and co-founder of BeeHero, the sensors can detect certain behaviors in the hive that can be extrapolated. For instance, a high level of Varroa mites in the hive could lead large numbers of bees to perform certain behaviors that can lead beekeepers to make a physical inspection of the hive.

This sort of "ground truthing" can aid in management efficiencies, he said.

Seed funding for the sensors comes from Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, UpWest, iAngels, Plug and Play, and J-Ventures to help implement technology and services for growers and maximize out put potential during pollination. The platform uses a combination of machine learning algorithms and low-cost sensors, including smart beehives, to report hive health in real time.

BeeHero is based in California, where it operates the largest databases of bees and pollination performance and analysis.

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