It seems the weather in Alberta operates in extremes, whether they be too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet. Our too hot, dry fall has now become too cold and wet. Luckily we got our bees all wrapped before the switch was flipped (October 21st) but I'm certain the many challenges we face keeping bees healthy in this province are largely due to the wild fluctuations in weather!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could control that? If there are controlled climate gardens such as Nuleaf Farms, why not beehives? Well, now there is a climate controlled beehive. In fact, it's much more than that!
A commercial beekeeper and an entrepreneur in Israel got together and created a 'Robotic' beekeeper which brings beekeeping into the 21st century using smart technology and artificial intelligence (AI). The solar powered, insulated 'Beehome' is roughly 2m x 2m x 3m and houses 24 separate honeybee colonies. Each is connected to a monitoring system which can detect hive temperature, humidity, weight and other parameters. Each honeycomb cell and frame is robotically inspected on a regular schedule, internally. Cameras and sensors are used to examine every aspect of each colony the same way a beekeeper would. Observations are then converted to data and then reported as required to a remote headquarters. From that information, actions are taken either by the robot or manually. For instance, internal temperature and humidity can be adjusted automatically as needed. Is there surplus honey to be harvested? It can be robotically harvested. Is the colony low on food resources? It can automatically receive additional feed and water too. Any threats to the bees health, such as pests (i.e.mites) and pesticides can be monitored and responses actioned. The technology effectively provides each hive with a personal beekeeper 24/7.
Their company, Beewise, has recently established a US distribution point in Oakland, CA. and started supplying the US market. It will be interesting to see if this state-of-the-art technology will revolutionize our beekeeping world!