Bee Observer (BOB)

Insects are dying worldwide and this worrying development has received medial attention and also raised public awareness of the fact that insects have a crucial role in the ecosystem and are an essential factor in agriculture: Without their pollination of crops, food production would be severely compromised. The lack of biomass on which other organisms build would severely disrupt food chains. The honeybee is also affected by this and plays a central role in the study of such processes: it is of agricultural importance because of its efficient pollination service and honey production. Due to the fact that it has been cared for by humans worldwide for centuries, it also represents an important indicator organism: Unlike many other insects, honey bees have a fixed nest to which they always return and where they can be studied easily. In the Bee Observer project more than hundred hives were equipped with temperature sensors, a humidity sensor and a scale. This information about the microclimate of bee hives was central server every 5-10 seconds. The data can be fused with data from other data sources, e.g. weather data. Beekeepers document their observations and beekeeping actions in an app. Multivariate algorithms can be used to draw conclusions about anomalies, the status of bee colonies and possible bee diseases. The project was funded by the German ministry of Education and Science (BMBF).

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