No bees, no people
A world without bees, bumblebees and other so-called pollinator insects would be fatal. Without them, many fruits and plants would not even exist. The yields of up to three quarters of crops would shrink considerably – or would have to be pollinated differently and artificially. But not only the Sunday apple pie would disappear, also many animal species would lose their food or habitat and become extinct. In short, the extinction of pollinator insects would be the beginning of the end of our earth as we know it.
You are what you eat
The phrase “you are what you eat” applies not only to humans. The variety, quality and quantity of available pollen that bees collect during pollination have a strong influence on the health of colonies and other insects. Through queen and young bee feeding, the quality and diversity of pollen affects the morphology, physiology, and behavior of all individuals in a colony. Shortages in availability can lead from behavioral changes to cannibalism. Similarly, the quality of pollination performance suffers when young bees are not adequately supplied with pollen during their development. This is roughly comparable to vitamin deficiency due to too many cheeseburgers and too few fresh fruits and vegetables in humans. In a study with undersupplied bees, life expectancy also decreased, sources of pollen were not communicated or communicated less, and collecting bees died significantly more often after a single day of collecting than those in the comparison group.
Bee360 puts innovative technology site for preserving biodiversity in Schuttertal
The Karlsruhe-based startup apic.ai has set itself the goal of researching and combating bee mortality. In collaboration with Bee360 and other companies, a small but high-tech installation was set up at the edge of a forest in Schuttertal starting on August 19. At the entrance of two bee colonies of beekeeper Mattias Vetterer, a camera-based monitoring system developed by apic.ai was installed. From then on, these registered the incoming and outgoing bees and, in particular, the pollen they carried into the hive on their legs.
Research was conducted to determine whether the diversity of the local flora can be automatically recorded by “reading” the bee as a biosensor.
In detail it was investigated whether:
– it is possible to determine the pollen colors on image material,
– the diversity of the plants in the environment can be deduced from the color differences of the pollen and
– an assignment of single plants to certain pollen colors is possible.
The data collected in Schuttertal were used and further evaluated as part of the OCELI research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which apic.ai carried out with four other partners. Whether the research project was successful, how high the diversity of the food supply of the pollinators was on site and which measures are now planned to counteract so-called Trachtlücken (in about a food shortage) read here the official final report.