The Problems of Bees Are the Problems of Agriculture

25 million bee colonies die every year. An important reason is modern farming and forestry that creates deserts. Brown, green or yellow deserts of monocultures where no insects, no birds, no small animals can live.

Industrial agriculture means that many stressors coincide, malnutrition due to uniform pollen, lack of housing, chemical treatment of soil, crops and pesticides pollutes water and pollen, preventive medication of bees creates resistance in parasites, bacteria and viruses.

Transports for pollination in monocultures, the spread of diseases between bee colonies, alien bumblebees mingling with local species. The parasite varroa and the accompanying virus tip the scales and lead to catastrophic losses. The developed revolutionary AI technology save bees called BeeScanning. Now to start a research centre to broaden the use of technology and use AI to help create healthy landscapes for bees and other pollinators.

BeeScanning has been funded by the European Innovation Program, Swedish Board of Agriculture and Vinnova. BeeScanning has built the world’s largest database with pictures of bees that beekeepers around the world take with BeeScanning’s app.

The app is used globally and is free to diagnose the mite parasite varroa. In 2020, the app has found about 200,000 varroa and saved thousands of bee colonies. The largest markets are Sweden, the US and Germany.

BeeScanning’s analyses are lightning-fast and give users immediate results. Everything is done completely cloud-based, the analyses and storage of images and results. The results are used to help individual growers but also for research to find areas with healthy bees for breeding. The system is self-reinforcing so that the growing database can be used to strengthen the AI system both when it is about improved performance but also for analysing new types of objects.

By applying BeeScanning’s technology to other problem areas within agriculture and forestry, food production, we can help change the future land use. The landscape needs to consist of a variety of flowering plants scattered throughout the season. In contrast to monocultures is needed biodiversity for a sustainable future.

The Swarm has been contacted by a number of companies and projects that want to use BeeScanning’s technology and infrastructure. An example is protein production from mealworm developed by Tebrito AB. The Swarm project starts with a crowdfunding campaign to finance the development of a research centre that will collaborate with Örebro University AI research.

The base plate should make it possible to recruit a group of leading experts in AI, IT systems, agriculture and forestry, insect cultivation and beekeeping of course.