Many people fear bees for obvious reasons. Often, these creatures are viewed as pesky, flying insects who create a lot of buzz — literally — and might sting you if they feel like to. But despite the hostility towards bees, these pollinators serve the world in a such a way that our food system will be thrown off balance without them.
The buzz of bees might be disturbing, but according to apiarists, the sound bees make actually tell a lot about their current condition. When you hear a steady hum, it’s a sign that the hive is healthy and well-content. A change in tone, on the other hand, means that the bees are about to swarm.
The soundness of bees according to the noise they create haven’t actually been put into scientific writing, but this institution might soon be proven as the truth. A time will come that beekeepers will soon be glued to their smartphones to check on the status of the hive and find out what’s troubling them.
An App to Detect Bee Problems
Developed by Jerry Bromenshenk and the University of Montana’s bee experts, this yet-to-be-named bee app is still in the final stages of testing. What’s known so far is that it’s integrated with artificial intelligence that analyzes the sound of bees to detect if they have contracted diseases.
The maladies that bees might have developed might serve as a signal for an upcoming Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon that the world is currently facing and the main cause of bee crisis. CCD is the term used if worker bees suddenly go missing leaving the queen behind, whereas a normal swarm makes sure a queen exists so a new colony can be formed.
As of this writing, there are reports suggesting that the death toll of dying bees had significantly reduced, but it doesn’t wipe out the fact that millions of hives had died off in the years 2006 through 2013. The result is a shortage of honey and a halt to the pollination of important crops.
The app still has a long way to go, but for it to work, it is crucial that the developers find out what specific sounds bees make when they are ill or if a hive is in distress. This is why Dr. Bromenshenk and his colleagues reached out to numerous beekeepers around the world to seek out colonies inflicted with a certain health problem and acquire sound recordings of bees.
With this information, the developers were able to create a database with all sorts of sounds, pattern recognition software, and artificial neural network. This will allow algorithms to associate sounds with certain bee health problems.
The commercial value of the contribution of bees in America is $15 billion annually. In the UK, it is estimated to be at around £200 million per year. The contribution of pollination to the agricultural industry is so immense that governments are more than willing to fund resources to preserve the bee population.
The bee app is one such effort, but apart from scientists and researchers, regular people can help in this endeavor as well. It’s not too late to save bees. Beekeepers and honey farm owners are also encouraged to use natural supplementation for bees like BeesVita Plus from makers Healthy Bees LLC, which boosts the resistance of bees to diseases and parasites.
Meanwhile, the developers of the so-called bee app are yet to announce when the project will be completed and when it will be released. For now, researchers want to continue increasing awareness and inform the masses that bees are not pests — they are creatures that benefit all of humankind.