Could your school be the next to host a beehive?
SPONSORED: Sarah Austwick speaks to founder of BeesMAX, Mark Gale, about the decline of the honeybee and how schools can help
A major environmental problem facing Europe today is the decline of the honeybee; BeesMAX plans to tackle this.
Through the use of their Blue Box Rehoming Scheme, they aim to provide depleted wild colonies with a new habitat in which the bees can reorganise and restructure. As well as placing these in woodland areas, they also offer schools and businesses the opportunity to install hives on their sites.
What are your goals?
We aim to have 1,000 schools either watching data or hosting hives across both the state and independent sectors. Schools will become the custodians of a vast beehive network across the country.
Our primary goal is to widen the availability of beehive data to the state sector. This will promote the sharing of resources and the building of local community connections. This is a completely new and unique way for the independent sector to directly influence and contribute to the state sector.
If all the bees die out in the wild due to pollution, the only people who are going to be involved in the reintroduction are the schools.
Arnia, similarly, is a company concerned with bee health, but from a more technical standpoint. They have developed technology that goes into a hive and records data that is sent back to the beekeeper. Sensors are fitted inside the hive in order to monitor the colony’s behaviour and these statistics are then sent, via a gateway, to the user’s devices, allowing them to better understand their own bees. The data collected can be compared across different hives using the same technology.
After working together, BeesMAX have decided to enter an official partnership, using Arnia technology in our rehoming scheme. This opens up a whole world of educational opportunities and provides a more in-depth experience.
The BeesMAX rehoming scheme moves on
It’s a regeneration and renewal project for bee colonies. BeesMAX rehoming bees into the wild was the original idea and then six months down the road, it has morphed into working with schools. Schools can help by potentially hosting the hives on their grounds, or if they haven’t got the space, they can rehome them into the Country Land and Business Association’s locations that have been volunteered.
“The system is unique in combining colony acoustics monitoring with brood temperature, hive humidity, hive weight and apiary weather to provide detailed insight into hive conditions and bee behaviour.”
How has Arnia already helped?
Arnia is the principal reason for the schools taking part because without their technology, the only way schools can get involved with bees is the way they’ve done it for the last 50 years – to put the hat and gloves on, take the top off a beehive and have a look to see what’s going on. It would be very much down to the expertise of your local beekeeper to say what’s happening. We are now moving it into the digital age and online. It’s a revolutionary change.
How is the system unique?
Without the Arnia system, we wouldn’t exist in the same way at all. The system is unique in combining colony acoustics monitoring with brood temperature, hive humidity, hive weight and apiary weather to provide detailed insight into hive conditions and bee behaviour. No other system provides this richness of data. Also Arnia is a UK business; the technology is developed and manufactured in the UK. BeesMAX is keen to promote British business.
How does this partnership benefit both companies and the rehoming scheme?
Arnia already have connections with the British Beekeeper’s Association (BBKA) and have been working with some schools in the North East of England, but they haven’t really gone UK-wide and they haven’t had access to the independent sector, which is where BeesMAX is focusing.
From the point of view of BeesMAX, Arnia provide the complete range of services. The other European companies haven’t caught up as Arnia was the first in the field. No one has really taken it on to share the data with the educational establishments yet and that’s what gives us an advantage with our rehoming scheme.