Beekeeper Max Kane, who lives hundreds of kilometers from where bees pollinate his almond orchards in northwestern Victoria, uses innovative technology to improve the health of his bees. can be monitored.

Joel Kuperholz has worked on two technology projects designed to support the bee industry.

The first was the Purple Hive project, which uses cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor bees entering and exiting hives.

“So we’re taking multiple pictures from multiple angles of every bee that comes and goes, and going through every photo of the Varroa destructor or Varroa jacobsoni along the way. That’s the biosecurity system,” he said.

Nine bees are outlined in green, and varroa mite detections are highlighted in red boxes.
Artificial intelligence can recognize varroa mites.(attached)

Kuperholz’s company, Vimana Tech, has also developed a system that uses smart internet-connected sensors placed inside the beehive.

It has a stamp of approval from Max Kane’s brother Ian, a retired beekeeper.

“Via the app, you can see bee activity per hive,” he said.

“We can see the temperature of that hive and see if the queen bee is in the hive.”

Max Cane, Ian Cane, and Joel Kuperholz are wearing hi-vis vests and standing inside a beehive.
Ararat’s Max Cane (left) recently installed a Vimana Tech device in his hive.(attached)

Ian said it will change the way beekeepers manage and operate their hives remotely.

“It is very reassuring to know exactly what is going on in each hive. And I don’t have to go through a truckload of 150 hives. You can go to specific hives that you know,” he says. He said.

Five men from the Purple Hive Project stand around a bright purple beehive.
The Purple Hive project uses cameras and artificial intelligence to scan bees entering and leaving hives to see if they are carrying varroa mites.(attached)

Currently, to check for varroa mites, beekeepers collect samples of 300 bees and give them a sugar shake or alcohol wash.

It’s possible to uncap drones and breeding cells to look for parasites, but that’s all manual and time-consuming work.

According to Kuperholz, the Purple Hive Project took 20 photos of each bee entering and exiting the hive and combined this with artificial intelligence.

When something is detected, an alert is sent to the beekeeper.

Use a special fork to pry open cells in the beehive frame.pupae caught in teeth
Beekeepers check pupae that have been hidden under the capping for signs of varroa mites.(ABC Mildura Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)

Millions of dollars are being spent to eradicate varroa mite from New South Wales, but Kuperholz said the government is not helping to fund the new technology.

“We’re not flashy. We’re ultimately short on resources,” he said.

“We’re really focused on trying to do something good.”


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