Albert Einstein said that if the honey bee disappeared from the face of the Earth, man would have only fours to live. No bees, no pollination, no plants, no animals, no man. The worldwide honeybee community is in crisis. Over one third of the nearly 90 million managed beehives were lost last year. Bees are the most numerous and efficient pollinators on the planet. Over 70% of the crops we eat are pollinated by bees.
There is high demand and low supply of honey in Nigeria. Nigeria spends $2 Billion annually importing honey. There is a lack of bee farmers in Nigeria coupled with outdated traditional harvesting and processing techniques, which leads to poor-quality honey. Approximately 98% of bee farming is carried out by hobbyists, and the number of women and youths actively practicing bee farming is very low. It usually takes 24 hours to 72 hours to process honey from a single beehive. Honey processing equipment can cost between $2,000 to $45,000. Distance and lack of data makes it difficult to monitor the activity and health of the bees and the integrity of beehives.
Our mission is to use the apiculture to reduce poverty rates and generate positive ecological consequence worldwide to save our bees and produce. We aim to improve per capita income indicators, generate data to advance the understanding of honey bees and beekeeping, strengthen existing surveillance and enhance agri-environment monitoring and evaluation. Focusing on rural communities, building the capacity of women to maintain a beekeeping culture that will aid in income generation and improvement in the bee habitat.
Our solution will provide economic opportunities to working-age women and youths from low-income rural areas. The goal is to bring a sustainable industry to women and youths in communities that suffer from poverty and low employment. It will improve lives by giving women and youth the skills and ability they need to succeed and advance economically, thereby reducing poverty rates among women and youth and their households. As part of our program, women and youth will be taught practical training sessions in entrepreneurship skills development and beekeeping best practices.
Our project is different than existing solutions because it provides efficient and effective ways for bee farmers to harvest and process honey, while empowering women and youths, and supporting the local economy.
Honey bees are a vital part of the agricultural industry not only in Nigeria, but worldwide. Pollination by honey bees provides billions of dollars in added value to crops. As high demand increases, methods must be devised to develop, increase and sustain colonies in the years ahead.
Bee products are used in various foods and also enjoy extensive use in several industries including medicine, food processing, industrial manufacturing and natural healing. In medicine, honey is used as a sweetening agent for children’s drugs and the treatment of sore throat, cough, hay fever and burns. It is also used to produce cleansers, lotions and creams in the cosmetic industry and used as a nutritional supplement for children, athletes and people suffering from diabetes.
We are using the "Flow Hive" that is a revolutionary beehive to harvest fresh honey without opening the beehive and minimal disturbance to the bees. Less labour, more love. It takes less than 2 hours to harvest honey from a single beehive by just turning a tap. No mess, no fuss, no heavy lifting and no expensive processing equipment.
We will be using the power of IoT to monitor our beehives, bees and their activity in real time. We will be able to measure temperature, humidity, swarm alerts, queenless hive, barometric pressure, audio playback and a host of other features to monitor the beehive in real time using AI and data science.
Increase Honey Yield and Profitability
Our IoT System is specifically designed to help increase efficiency and profitability of honey production. The system remotely monitors a sample of ‘indicator’ hives at each apiary to accurately track nectar flows, providing significant benefits:-
- Increased Honey Yield
Enables more precise timing of apiary visits to add supers, collect honey or move the bees to a new location.
- Reduced operating costs
Fewer visits required just to check apiary status.
- Improved Productivity
Make season to season comparisons of apiary/hive productivity and nectar flow timings.
Product features of the system include:-
- Highly robust and transportable. Designed to monitor hives on pallets or separate hive stands.
- Integrated weather station so that hive data can be directly correlated with weather conditions; this provides vital context for hive weight monitoring.
- Automatic email alerts to notify beekeeper of specified weight changes. We can also receive daily honey reports from each apiary during a nectar flow.
- Instant alerts will tell us when honey boxes are full and can be removed or new boxes need to be added. As well as optimizing the honey crop it will help to reduce swarming from overcrowded hives.
Additional Long Term Benefits
The monitors also allows us to compare hive homeostasis, colony strength, and activity and assess the efficiency of nectar collection and processing. This is useful when trying to compare, assess or quantify differences between bee colonies affected with things like: pests and parasites (Varroa, Small Hive Beetle, Wax Moth, Tropilaelaps etc.), viruses (DWV, CBPV, APV etc.) bacterial infections (EFB, AFB etc.), fungal infections (chalk brood, stone brood etc.) exposure to chemicals (hive treatments, pesticides), supplementing nutrition, evaluating genetic strains. In this type of experiment, the bees tend to be at the same location to minimize climactic and external environmental differences.