Listening to honey bees may improve colony health

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In Canada, using a platform with tiny sensors that detect sound and vibration placed along the wall of the hive, Simon Fraser University graduate student Oldooz Pooyanfar is monitoring what more than 20,000 honeybees housed in hives in a Cloverdale field are saying to each other.

Honey bees play a major role in agriculture as pollinators of crops and biologists are working to better understand Colony Collapse Disorder.  Monitoring bee activity and improving monitoring systems may help to address the issue.

“To learn about what bees are communicating, we can either look at pheromones – the chemical they produce – or sound,” says Pooyanfar.  “With this monitoring system, we are collecting data in real time on what the bees are saying about foraging, or if they’re swarming, or if the queen bee is present – right now we are collecting as much data as possible that will pinpoint what they are actually doing.”