Remote monitoring technology has provided numerous solutions for collecting data in an easy and effective way, from monitoring collars on livestock to satellite imaging of horticultural crop development. In the apiculture sector there are many testing this technology which can help beekeepers and researchers to better understand bee behaviour and hive activity levels. Hive telemetry can help answer questions on the effects or implications of different management approaches, disease treatments, and environmental conditions without the need for hive visits. Last summer, FutureBees, in collaboration with industrial partners, deployed many hives to sites to help study pollination activity in orchards. This, in conjunction with the breeding research above, has given us a couple of seasons of experience with hive telemetry.
When thinking about pollination, we need to think about the pollinator and the plant. The key is to understand plant / pollinator interactions. Hive telemetry data can help us better understand how the pollinator deals with the plant. When we look at the direct interactions on the trees and the resulting yield, we can get a much better idea of this interaction. If you're thinking about investing in IoT equipment to better understand the efficiency of pollination taking place in your orchard, you need to make an investment in how you will make observations of your plants as well. The most effective use of bee IoT equipment in orchards is taking place in conjunction with measurements of fruit yield, pollination success, or both.