A global beehive monitoring network has been launched using big data analytics and cloud technology to produce the first ever global picture of the state of the world’s bee population.

The World Bee Project Hive Network will eventually analyse huge amounts of data from beehives around the world and thanks to Oracle Cloud provide access to the data for governments, policy makers, scientists, researchers, farmers, food producers and beekeepers.

It is hoped that the project will contribute to worldwide action to monitor pollinator decline, identify practices and build capacity in the management of pollination services for sustainable agriculture, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods.

Bees and other pollinators are priceless when it comes to ensuring the global safety of the food supply chain. One in every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on honey bees and other pollinators such as wild bees.

1.4 billion jobs and 77% of global food supply worth up to $577 billion annually depend on pollinators, but the global bee population is in rapid decline. England’s bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with a 54% decline in beehives between 1985 and 2005.

Scientists estimate one third of all honey bee colonies in the United States have already vanished but what scientists lack is a comprehensive global set of data to analyse the rates of decline in different parts of the world and the differing reasons in each region in order to find a solution to reduce the rate of decline.

The World Bee Project Hive Network is a partnership between the World Bee Project CIC and Oracle Cloud. Traditionally, data on bee health has been collected using different methods, many still recorded with pen and paper, with no way to share the data for true global analysis.

Sophisticated remote monitoring equipment has been installed in a number of British hives to monitor their surrounding environment and ecosystems. In a world-first, scientists and researchers will use Oracle Cloud technology to ‘listen’ to the bees by using intricate acoustic data captured in the hive, including the movement of bees’ wings and feet.

The huge amount of data generated by each hive will then be analysed by Oracle Cloud so scientists can easily collect and share this data across an international network of hives, enabling more detailed and advanced research on a global scale not previously achieved.

The goal is to share this knowledge in order to prevent the further decline of the world’s honey bee populations. The World Bee Project Hive Network hopes the UK pilot scheme can be rolled out globally.

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