The Uniqueness of Israel
An Israeli Start-up Tackling the Declining Bee Population
It has long been known that the world’s bee population is in trouble and that this could have devastating consequences. Numerous crops are dependent upon bees for pollination; in fact, about one third of all plants and plant products that we consume. At present, all of these crops are very much under threat as the number of bees continues to decline across the world.
However, there is hope in the form of an Israeli start-up that has set about tackling the issue head on using innovative technologies including AI, computer vision and robotics. The company Beewise has developed an autonomous beehive. Known as Beehome, it can contain up to 40 bee colonies, or two million bees, and beekeepers are able to take care of them using a simple app.
The company CEO, Saar Safra, has described it as a “disruptive” technology and hopes to see the Beehome replace all of the beehives in the world. The inspiration for the Beehome came from Eliyah Radzyner, a professional beekeeper who noted that methods have not changed in a very long while. He was sure that modern technology could aid the process and he set about working up with Safra, an entrepreneur.
The vast majority of beehives have not changed in more than a century. They are simple wooden constructions and most people will be familiar with the image of a beekeeper in full protective gear complete with a smoker opening up the hives to take care of the bees and harvest the honey.
As it is a far from simple task, many beekeepers are unable to service their hives more than once every few weeks and this means that many bees are lost due to predators, illnesses, and other issues.
Safra and Radzyner looked at ways of tackling problems before they really became an issue and before any lasting damage was done. They set about creating a beehive that was able to do all of these things using the technologies mentioned above.
Artificial intelligence is used to identify problems the moment they occur. It is then possible to respond to these problems immediately using computer vision to monitor the situation and robotics to enact the solution. The only direct human input that is required is filling water and food and collecting the honey, which is first harvested automatically.
Beewise is not the only company trying to address the issue, but it is the first to have created an autonomous beehive. While the company is in its early stages, the product is already being tested by commercial beekeepers and has received an incredibly positive response.
According to Safra, they are often greeted with scepticism but as soon as people see the product in action, they are hugely impressed. He said it also leads to far greater honey yields. As a result, there are high hopes that the Beehome will soon start to replace many of the 90 million beehives around the world and help to reverse the worrying decline in the bee population.