Tech help for bees
Many folks have a phobia of bees; insects smaller than the size of their thumbs. The fear lays in the accidental encounter with a bee which in order to protect itself, gives off a nasty sting. Tragically, the sting kills the little soldier which is better off travelling in large swarms. But more folks love bees for the sweet honey they produce. Across all species, including humans, bees are an important part of the food chain.
World-wide, the existence of bees is threatened, mainly by the rapid urbanisation of previously natural habitats. It could be said that bees are being swarmed out by humans. The endangerment of bees has grave consequences for all species. On the west coast of the US, the decimation of bee populations has had a negative impact on the region’s almond nut crops. While in China, people are carrying out pollination in the absence of bees.
Paulo de Souza is a CSIRO scientist, specialising in micro-sensing technologies. Recently, he suggested that the regular use of pesticides in agriculture and extreme weather patterns have contributed towards the endangerment of bees. Australia’s CSIRO is heading up The Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health. Scientists from around the globe are on board to deal with the precarious state of bee populations. Tech companies Intel and Hitachi Chemical are two of a number of companies involved in this project.
Thousands of bees will be fitted with radio frequency identification micro-sensors. As a monitoring device it will be the bees’ survival backpacks.