Intelligent Pollination

Real time monitoring of honeybee colonies

IoT Technologies and Data Analytics

Generation of new metrics for foraging and pollination effectiveness

Pollination at Risk

A vital input for world food production and nutritional security

Intelligent Pollination
for Sustainable Increases
in Crop Yields and
Global Food Security

This project will bring to market a unique IoT sensor application that will provide real time monitoring of the foraging rate of honeybee colonies used for pollination services. This information will be correlated with hive strength and health data using sophisticated machine learning algorithms to provide a precision pollination service enabling farmers to optimise pollination efficiency and crop yields. Our aim is to enable sustainable increases in crop yields of 30% through improved management of pollination services.

pollination challenge

The challenge

Sustainably and nutritiously feeding a rapidly growing population is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.  But scarcity of available arable land means production increases need to come from advances in yield-enhancing technologies.  About 75% of the world’s food crops rely on insect pollination (mainly bees); the pollination services they provide are a vital input for world food production and nutritional security. Yet, whilst other agricultural inputs such as irrigation, pest and weed control and soil nutrition are highly regulated practices, crop pollination is subject to little or no direct management and is provided almost entirely as an ecosystem service, which reduces the stability of productivity and capacity for production improvement.

The keys of iPollinate


Real time monitoring and quality assurance of pollination services that optimize efficiencies and crop yields.

Pollination and crop yield analytics for benchmarking and evidence based guidance for different crop types, locations and climates.

Provision of pollination data to Governments and NGOs data for better-informed policy choices that will help protect ecosystem services and food security.

A new Pollination as a Service (PaaS) business model based on smart devices and data analytics.

keys of ipollinate

How iPollinate works


iPollinate sensors are installed in beehives used for pollination


Generation of new metrics for foraging and pollination effectiveness

The data is presented in a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) for more effective pollination

How are the iPollinate IoT sensors used?

iPollinate sensors are installed in beehives used for pollination

Bee traffic sensor

In-hive sensor + gateway:
TᵒC, %RH, Accelerometer, Light, Acoustics, GPS

What will each iPollinate unit generate?

Generation of new metrics for foraging and pollination effectiveness

Foraging Strength: The number of foragers in the field at any given time.

Foraging Rate: Real time tracking of the number of foraging trips throughout the day

Proportion Pollen foragers: Proportion of bees returning with pollen, and also the from the target crop

Pollination trips per hectare of crop: Combined foraging trips from all hives in a given area

Number of flowers pollinated: Estimates based on known foraging behaviour of bees on the target crop

Nectar/Pollen Availability: Average time per trip

In-field Death Rate: How many bees don’t return

What is done with the field data collected by iPollinate sensors?

The data is presented in a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) for more effective pollination

Pollination Activity Reports

Live feeds of pollination progress

Range of reports and graphics

Notifications for any events that require intervention by the beekeeper or farmer

The impact of pollination

75% of the world’s food crops depend on insect pollination, with an annual value of up to US $577 billion. There has been a 300% increase in the volume of agricultural production dependent on insect pollination in the last 50 years. Demand will continue to grow as the world population increases and there is a move towards plant based products as meat and dairy substitutes.

Studies have shown that bee pollination not only increases crop yields; but also quality, nutritional value and commercial value.  Also some self-pollinating crops considered less dependent on insect pollinators can have significant yield and quality improvements from enhanced insect pollination provision, this includes globally important crops such as soybean (18% increase), cotton (37% increase) and coffee (36-50% increase).

Intensive agriculture, in which large areas of land are dedicated to a single, crop requires more pollinating insects during crop bloom than is available naturally. This has led to increased demand for – and reliance upon – managed honeybee colonies that are placed into fields during flowering periods to pollinate the crop. In the USA in 2018, Californian almond growers took in 2 million honeybee colonies (more than half of all US honeybees) to pollinate their almond orchards at an average price of $150-$200 per hive and a total cost of US $400 million.

“…the beekeeping sector throughout the world, and more particularly in Europe, is encountering very serious difficulties…(and) only bees, in sufficient numbers, can guarantee pollination…it is essential to respond without delay to the crisis in bee health in an appropriate manner and with effective weapons.”

Resolution T6-0579/2008 of the European Parliament

Our solution compared to the state-of-the-art (SoA)
and unique selling proposition

SoA: Commercial hive monitoring systems provide beekeepers with data to support bee husbandry and honey production, but not pollination. Pollination strength is assessed via manual inspection of a small sample of hives, which can disturb the colony and injure/kill the queen.

Advantage of iPollinate: Provides real-time foraging and hive strength data enabling beekeepers to manage their colonies to maximise pollination efficiency. Real time assessment of colony strength and productivity before, during and after pollination. Non-invasive monitoring does not disrupt or interfere with the colony.

SoA: Precision farming systems help farmers to manage other agricultural inputs such as pest and weed control, soil nutrition etc. but none provide pollination management

Advantage of iPollinate: Enables crop farmers to optimise their use of pollination services, and their crop management practices, to create sustainable increases in crop yields and quality

SoA: SoA systems do not provide pollination data useful to Governments, regulatory authorities, associations or NGOs.

Advantage of iPollinate: Enables governments and regulatory authorities to develop better informed agricultural policies.

SoA: Crop protection products and methods can affect bee health and negatively impact foraging activity. SoA systems do not provide information to enable assessment of these impacts on foraging activity and hence pollination effectiveness.

Advantage of iPollinate: Enables crop protection companies to create products and application guidelines that minimise disruption of foraging bees and damage to colony health.

SoA: Emerging technologies for monitoring foraging activity are complex and expensive. Vision based systems have significant power and data requirements. None of these are scalable for large numbers of hives in remote areas.

Advantage of iPollinate: Utilises low cost sensors and components and is designed for volume production with minimal power and data requirements. Thus it is scalable and economical for use on large numbers of hives as required in pollination services.

SoA: Bee counting developments have failed address bee behaviour Counts are inaccurate and cannot differentiate size, shape or colour. All have failed to reach the market.

Advantage of iPollinate: Provides accurate 2 way counts of bees, taking into consideration bee behaviour and sunlight effects.  Also ability to differentiate size, shape and colour.



Global food security dependent on bee pollination


Insufficient bee pollination capacity to meet demand


Rising costs for pollination services


No monitoring or data solutions available



Real time data on effectiveness of crop pollination


Delivery of managed precision pollination services


Pollination intelligence service for beekeepers and crop farmers


Increase in crop yield, quality, and value while maintaining bee health



Growers of crops that benefit from bee pollination


Beekeepers providing pollination services


Government and NGOs responsible for agricultural policy


Food processors



ipollinate working

Members of the Consortium

We have an industrial consortium of 3 independent SMEs from three different countries with complementary expertise and knowledge:

IRIDEON (Spain): IoT applications, electronics and software development, prototyping and contract manufacture

CANETIS (Italy): Development of tools and systems for analysing bee health and behaviour

BEE HERO (Israel): Smart pollination services for crop growers using hive sensors and data analytics.


Irideon SL is a Spanish company, founded by a multidisciplinary team of engineers with experience in industry and academia. Since 2011 this team provides technical consultancy services and solutions to SMEs and research organizations throughout Europe, primarily in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT) and sensor systems. The company is divided between two business units that complement each other: the development and production unit, and the contract development unit. Research and development is a strong point of the company as IRIDEON continuously develops and refines the services and products the company offers. Public and private entities all over Europe already use solutions provided by IRIDEON. We are a young and small company, with a consolidated international presence and an outstanding and diversified customer base.



Canetis SRL is an Italian company which designs, manufactures and markets high quality remote hive monitoring systems for beekeepers, bee researchers and the crop protection industry. Canetis is a market leader in hive monitoring, with the most advanced system and range of sensors available on the market. The system combines hive acoustics monitoring with other parameters such as brood temperature, humidity, bee counts, hive weight and apiary weather conditions. The Canetis system can monitor and interpret the sound of a bee colony to assess colony behaviour, strength and health. The hive data can be accessed remotely from any internet enabled device in any web browser. Canetis also produced the worlds’ first Bumble Bee monitoring system. The monitoring systems have been supplied to 25 countries worldwide, including most of Europe, USA, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and Russia.


Bee Hero provides precision pollination services that increase crop yields and quality through stronger, healthier bee colonies. Based in Israel, with an office in the USA, BeeHero works with beekeepers and farmers across the world to improve food and nutritional security through enhanced pollination. We combine remote sensing with machine learning algorithms to track colony health and pollination performance in real time, providing benefits for beekeepers and farmers.

BeeHero manages the world’s largest database of bees and pollination, which feeds powerful analytics, and prediction modelling that can increase crop yields by 30% on average. Our precision pollination services can work for 70% of food crops, including wind and self-pollinated crops.


Contact Us

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958827