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Swarmonitor - Development of a tool for effective diagnostic monitoring of honey bee colonies

Unit(s) of assessment: General Engineering

School: School of Science and Technology


The Swarmonitor project will develop the first monitoring tool that will detect changes in honey bee activity within the beehive for the effective management of bees.

Funding Scheme: EU FP7 SME grant number 315146

Value: €1.425 million

Duration: 36 months (start date: 1 October 2012)

The Swarmonitor consortium is carrying out a study investigating changes and patterns in buzzing in the hive which may indicate swarming, health disorders or deterioration in the hive.

There are 600,000 beekeepers in the European sector and the industry generates revenue of more than 400 million euros. However, the number of beekeepers in Europe is declining at an alarming rate. Honey imports to the EU have risen by 20% since 2001. Bees also play a vital role in agricultural productivity and their economic value as pollinators far exceeds all hive products.

A remote monitoring tool would significantly improve the efficiency of beekeeping making it far less time-consuming and costly. Beekeeping currently requires physical visits to the hive and regular inspections.