Two years after it was originally planned, 9th European Congress of Apidology (EurBee 9) finally took place in September of 2022, in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, under the motto: “Save the bees for our future”. European Association for Bee Research (EurBee) is an international forum for scientists researching all aspects of managed and wild bees, from genetics to pollination, beekeeping management to biodiversity and monitoring. Moreover, effects of rapidly changing climate on bee populations and ultimately food security were some of the themes of the congress. The congress promotes collaboration and the exchange of approaches, knowledge and techniques among the scientists, extension experts and students from Europe and beyond.
In the Monitoring symposium Canetis SRL presented the aims and findings of the iPollinate during the first 18 months of the project. We have shared the insights from the data collected using the sensors developed under the project auspices, such as foraging force at any given time, total number of foraging trips, mortality in the field and daily flight profiles, all directly related to the efficiency of pollination service provided. Current methods for assessing pollination efficiency rely on meteorologically driven models which, while indicative, do not deal with borderline conditions effectively, be it climatic conditions or the colony strength inconsistencies. Our data have shown that flight hours of bees in almonds can vary drastically from those derived from models as they are subject to an interplay of factors that include not only weather conditions and colony strength but also colony composition, energy reward available to foragers and even the microclimate differences between seemingly identical geographic areas. Real time information allows for timely intervention where necessary thus mitigating inadequacies in pollination. While almonds form the model crop in this project the same principle is being applied to other crops such as sunflowers, strawberries etc. Our results demonstrate that continuous tracking of bee colonies’ foraging activity provides unprecedented insight into colony behaviour and hence the effectiveness of pollination. This will create a new data driven, technology enabled business model for the delivery of Precision.