Smart Honeycomb Could Save Bee Colonies

honeyA research team at the University of Minnesota has developed an Internet of Things device that could help to mitigate colony collapse disorder, according to a Yahoo Tech article by Dan Tynan.

Colony collapse disorder is a serious ecological issue that has essentially seen a major die-off among the honeybee population, which has a major impact on pollination patterns and, therefore, our food supply. Its cause remains something of a mystery to scientists, but some speculate that a tiny parasite called the Varroa destructor mite is invading honeybee colonies and spreading a virus it carries.

The U of M team’s Eltopia MiteNot device is essentially a fake honeycomb frame equipped with special circuitry and 3G connectivity. It features embedded sensors that detect temperature fluctuations, by which it can actually determine when female mites have laid their eggs. Once that has happened, the system’s circuit board can be commanded to heat up to the point where male mites will be sterilized before they can fertilize the eggs.

It’s still being tested, but it could end up being one of the most novel and important devices making up the diverse IoT ecosystem.