New Software that Deciphers Bee Buzzes Can Help Save Dwindling Bee Population
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership, which includes the Apiary Inspectors of America and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), beekeepers all over the US experienced a 44% loss in the their colonies.
But thanks to groundbreaking scientists and researchers, both professional beekeepers and enthusiasts can now better track and anticipate the health of their bee colonies, and thus hopefully save them.
This is made possible simply through downloadable software developed by a team of scientists at the University of Missouri. They have cleverly come up with a low-cost acoustic listening system, which utilizes audio data collected and recorded from tiny microphones that have been installed in the field for the specific purpose of accurately monitoring buzzes as they work mid-air.
Said software makes use of specific algorithms to detect various unique buzzing sound patterns, from which the status of a local population can be calculated.
“Causes of pollinator decline are complex and include diminishing flower resources, habitat loss, climate change, increased disease incidence and exposure to pesticides, so pinpointing the driving forces remains a challenge,” researcher and professor of Biological Sciences Candace Galen explains. “For more than 100 years, scientists have used sonic vibrations to monitor birds, bats, frogs and insects. We wanted to test the potential for remote monitoring programs that use acoustics to track bee flight activities.”
In a nutshell, beekeepers and enthusiasts will benefit from the software in that the accurate readings it provides will allow them to create a better plan of action to better maintain their bee colony.
Professor Galen further explains: “Eavesdropping on the acoustic signatures of bee flights tells the story of bee activity and pollination services. Farmers may be able to use the exact methods to monitor pollination of their orchards and vegetable crops and head off pollination deficits. Finally, global ‘citizen scientists’ could get involved, monitoring bees in their backyards.”
A downloadable app for said bee-saving software may soon be available on your smartphone.
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