National Honeybee Day 2020, COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the food supply chain that helps nourish people in all corners of the world. But an even older “pandemic” – the plight of honeybees – also threatens the world’s food supply. In both cases, SAS analytics makes it easier to understand data signals as they’re happening so effective interventions can take place. In this instance, SAS technologies are at work to save honeybees, the world’s No. 1 food crop pollinator.

“SAS’ passion for innovation and sustainability helped us find technology solutions to better understand the health of beehives,” said Sarah Myers, AgTech Marketing Manager at SAS. “I’m an avid beekeeper, and it’s exciting to work with a group of data scientists who want find new ways to support this critical global effort.”

Four ways data science tracks hive health

SAS Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled beehives use streaming analytics to interpret hive data flowing from embedded sensors to help beekeepers better understand which units need help. Hive data is sent to the cloud to allow for the continuous measurement of:

  • Weight. A connected scale sensor tells beekeepers if the hive is producing honey and gaining weight – a sign of a healthy bee activity. If the scale indicates weight loss in one hive compared to its neighbor, beekeepers can intervene.
  • Temperature and humidity. An ideal climate inside the hive creates baby bees and keeps the queen warm enough to survive the winter. Honeybees regulate hive temperature and humidity by moving, flapping and clustering. Internal sensors collect temperature and humidity data then analyze it to alert beekeepers about concerning fluctuations.
  • Acoustics. The hum of honeybees buzzing indicates health, stress, swarming, and the condition of the queen. SAS hives monitor audio data continuously and use machine learning models to listen for anomalies. These audio clips help illustrate the difference between a healthy hive and an endangered hive.
  • Flight activity. Bees flying in and out of a hive indicates foraging activity, a sign the hive is healthy. Applying computer vision technology to the bees’ flight patterns helps beekeepers understand when the hive is happy or in trouble.


M.N is a seasoned journalist and tracks stories on a variety of topics in the food processing industry. A journalist with an editing background at news services and magazines, he is also driving editorial projects in few other B2B segments.

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