HIVE GRADING TECHNOLOGY TESTED IN SUNFLOWER FIELDS
The Bee Corp (www.thebeecorp.com/) and Syngenta Seeds recently announced a partnership to trial Verifli hive grading technology on a pilot sunflower plot. Verifli is a technology that uses infrared imagery and data analytics to predict the size of the colony inside the hive without disturbing hives for manual inspection. This is the first time hive grading technology has been introduced in sunflower pollination. Planned to commence in June 2021, this trial will take place on seed production fields located in the Sacramento Valley area in California.
“We are continually leveraging digital technologies to enable data-driven decisions,” said Itacir Feldhaus, North America Seeds Production Research Leader at Syngenta. “This partnership with The Bee Corp will allow us to test and prove Verifli has the potential to help Syngenta Seeds, growers and beekeepers to improve beehive management and pollination in seed production. If proven, Verifli will help make seed production more efficient and environmentally sustainable.”
Funding for this pilot study will come in part from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through The Bee Corp’s Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant.
Hive grading, though vital to pollination success, is still often a heavily manual process. Verifli is stepping in to provide a solution that delivers consistent, accurate and objective data to ensure optimal pollination for successful seed production. With pollination being critical for seed production worldwide, this could open up Verifli to a $70 billion global market. The Bee Corp has built a strong foundation in successful almond pollination, and they are confident in Verifli positively impacting additional crop industries.
“We’re grateful to Syngenta Seeds and NSF for supporting our effort to introduce Verifli to more areas of agriculture production dependent on pollination,” said Ellie Symes, The Bee Corp Co-founder. “Standardizing how bee colonies are measured is a pressing need for growers of a wide variety of crops who lack information on pollination effectiveness.”
Verifli is a digital hive grading service powered by infrared (IR) image analysis. The Bee Corp team uses Verifli to grade hives overnight when IR is most accurate. Growers wake up to results on Verifli’s hive strength dashboard, where they can assess pollination potential across different sites, compare beekeeper performance and pinpoint the locations of weak bees. Verifli’s non-invasive technology allows early recognition of issues before they have detrimental impacts on crop yields.
“Though initially built for almond growers, we designed the Verifli platform to deliver objective hive strength data for all crops that rely on honey bee pollination,” said Wyatt Wells, The Bee Corp Co-founder. “Verifli offers a fast and reliable way for growers to evaluate pollination and for beekeepers prove the value they provide.”