St. Louis, Missouri – ApisProtect had its principal executives in St. Louis on October 18th to begin the USA science validation phase of its previous published work in the use of IoT technology and machine learning for the improvement of honeybee health.
The rollout in St. Louis will involve 24/7 monitoring of 15 honeybee hives across three area apiaries managed by St. Louis County’s Isabee’s, including hives at Missouri Botanical Garden. At the Garden, the monitored hives are located across from the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, in the fruit garden. The monitoring will involve the ApisMonitor in-hive device installed by ApisProtect with bee health assessments and data provided by the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC), headquartered in Creve Coeur. Validation is expected to run through June 2019.
ApisProtect has committed to installing their device in 200 hives across the world for testing and development of this new monitoring technology, utilizing Internet of Things (IoT) enabled sensors and machine learning. According to ApisProtect’s Andrew Wood, “The goal is to provide beekeepers with important information when it’s difficult to inspect, say at night, during poor weather or when hives are a distance away. The information they receive will allow them to respond quicker to possible health concerns and be positioned to make more effective decisions. The economic impact we are looking for will provide cost savings for pollination services, improve honey production, and better prevent colony loss for beekeepers worldwide.”
ApisProtect is an Irish company, located in County Cork and headed up by Dr. Fiona Edwards Murphy, Andrew Wood and Dr. Padraig Whelan, a team with diverse backgrounds including engineering, scientific, beekeeping and commercial experience. Dr. Edwards Murphy has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and founded ApisProtect after receiving her BE from University College Cork in 2013. This project has received international recognition, including at least eight academic publications, awards from the Irish Research Council, IBM, The Irish Laboratory Awards, and Google. ApisProtect was partially funded by St. Louis-based agtech accelerator The Yield Lab in 2016.
Isabee’s is a home-grown business founded by Jane Sueme in 2009, currently housed in St. Louis County Economic Development’s VentureWorks business incubator in Lemay. Isabee’s is a unique, full-service beekeeping equipment supplier, providing bee stock, education and hive management services to the area’s 4,000+ beekeepers. Isabee’s will provide communications to ApisProtect and facilitate sampling for bee health analysis to NAGC during this testing period.
National Agricultural Genotyping Center, headquartered in Creve Coeur and staffed by Pete Snyder, President and CEO with laboratories in Fargo, ND, is a 501(c)5 corporation serving private and public scientists, from breeders to quality control and food safety researchers. NAGC was established in 2016 under a partnership of The National Corn Growers Association and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The United States commercial apiculture industry currently manages 2.6 million hives to pollinate over 90 different crops, creating a multi-billion dollar honeybee industry, the world’s largest.