A new platform uses sensors to monitor the health of pollinators, helping farmers and beekeepers improve yields
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Spotted: The world’s pollinators are in trouble. Climate change, colony collapse, and a loss of habitat have led to drastic reductions in the number of wild pollinators. This could have serious knock-on consequences – pollination is crucial to maintaining healthy ecosystems and encouraging natural biodiversity. British company AgriSound is working to improve ecosystems management and beekeeping technology with a low-cost sensor – the Polly – that monitors insect activity.
The sensor works by detecting the specific sound signatures of insect wingbeats, collecting data on the activity of key pollinators, including honeybees. This information is then sent back to a web app where it is analysed and accessed by beekeepers and farmers, who use the information to take targeted action to boost crop yields and protect pollinators.
The sensors can be easily deployed in a few minutes and users can access the platform using mobile phones or computers in near real-time. Areas of low pollinator count can then be targeted for remedial action or more management of bee populations – for example, by planting wildflowers.
AgriSound began trialling the product with companies like Innocent Drinks and National Trust Scotland last year, and in January this year started working with UK food producer Cranswick to install the devices on the company’s outdoor pig farms.
Drastic falls in pollinator counts are leading to a number of innovations aimed at protecting them. Some recent developments Springwise has spotted include the use of bees as environmental drones to measure pollution and biodiversity, and the use of AI-powered hive monitoring technology.
Written By: Lisa Magloff