Polish bees may soon be sent for two weeks "trips to Mars". How is this possible? Well, the ULmonitor system has been included in the LUNARES research lab as part of the automatic bee testing within the Noah's Ark project.
Beekeeping and production of honey are traditional crafts. Meanwhile, modern devices such as intelligent honey extractors, which facilitate the work of beekeepers, are appearing more and more often on the market. Honey is not the only benefit that bees bring. These insects are crucial for humans. Thanks to them we have fruits, vegetables or edible oils. Bees pollinate 80 percent of edible plants and increase yields by 40%, without the use of chemicals.
- Only in Europe, over 4,000 varieties of vegetables depend on pollination by bees and other insects. New technologies contribute to learning about bees, their behaviors, diseases and needs. As a result, they can bring benefits for farmers and honey producers. An example is ULmonitor - a system developed by Ryszard Krzyśka, who runs a non-commercial apiary in Poznań, Poland.
ULmonitor is based on an innovative solution that allows wireless data transfer. It uses the credit card size data loggers placed inside the hive, created by Polish-French company Blulog.
Our devices transmit key information using the Internet, NFC technology or radio waves. In a convenient way, on the screen of a smartphone, computer or TV, you can look after bees every day, observe and interpret the changes in temperature, humidity and weight of each hive, which is monitored - explains Jérémy Laurens, CEO at Blulog.
Thanks to this, the bees family is under observation all year round. Changes to the three most important parameters of the bee colony are recorded and archived in the form of tables and graphs. Without unnecessary interference inside the hive you can receive precise information about the conditions prevailing in it: temperature with an accuracy of 0.1 degrees Celsius, humidity - up to 5 percent. and weight with an accuracy of 100 grams.
Bees maintain permanent conditions in different parts of the hive, and all changes carry specific information about the condition and actions of the hive. Such data is a valuable news for the beekeeper, who can use it to effectively manage the apiary also in the city.
In the city and ... in space
- Bees in cities have paradoxically good living conditions. They are not poisoned with pesticides and have a much more varied menu. Biodiversity is better for them than agricultural monocultures. The inflow of pollen throughout the season and careful care ensure that families are healthy and in great condition. We have excellent quality honey, which is confirmed by research, but we do not take the spoil from the bees. Their only task is to be constantly present in the ecosystem of our city, and recently also to participate in scientific research - says Ryszard Krzyśka.
Polish bees may soon be sent for two weeks "trips to Mars". How is this possible? Well, the ULmonitor system has been included in the LUNARES research lab as part of the automatic bee testing within the Noah's Ark project. The aim of the project is to research and develop self-contained micro ecosystems for production of food and medicines on board spacecraft and future extraterrestrial colonies. The ULmonitor solution will be used to observe how the isolation of the Apis mellifera family (honey bee) placed in an artificial environment affects the parameters inside the hive, and thus the condition of the entire bee colony.
Noah's Ark project will be presented at the prestigious 70th International Astronaut Congress in October 2019 in Washington.
- Bees elevated in future extraterrestrial colonies may be necessary as plant pollinators and thus as food suppliers for food and medical purposes. Taking into account the limitations of future Mars colonies - artificial environment, small area, intensity of human work, the process of taking care of bees should be as effortless as possible and autonomous - continues Ryszard Krzyśka.
Data on the activity of the hive and its behavior in unusual conditions can be widely used in many fields of science, including the development of artificial intelligence systems, but also direct agricultural production on Earth.