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Solving the World Bee Crisis with Oracle Analytics

Michael Singer
Director, Product Marketing, Oracle Analytics

Bees and other insects that pollinate flowers are being driven toward extinction, according to the World Bee Project (WBP), so the global community launched a new initiative in partnership with Oracle using analytics to help slow the decline.

At the "Nature of Data" customer event during Oracle OpenWorld, WBP Founder Sabiha Malik discussed the increasingly inhospitable conditions for bees, driven by loss of flower habitats, intensified farming methods, climate change, and increased use of pesticides.

"The more we understand the relationships between pollination, food, and human well-being, the more we can do to protect bees and pollinators—and help protect our planet and ourselves," Malik said.

Consider the following:

  • Bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of the global food supply
  • Of the 100 crop species that feed 90 percent of the world's population, bees pollinate 70 percent
  • England's honey bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with a 54-percent decline between 1985 and 2005

"Imagine a farmer whose crops yield one-third less than they did before. That is what we are faced with if bee colonies continue to decline."

“The World Bee Project Hive Network will remotely collect data using a network of connected beehives,” Malik added. The data will then be fed into an Oracle Analytics Cloud, which will use analytics tools, including artificial intelligence (AI) and data visualization, to give researchers new insights into the relationships between honey bees and their environments.

WBP's partnership with Oracle and the University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy, and Development (SAPD) will allow researchers to 'listen' to the honey bees and analyze intricate acoustic data captured inside the smart hives, including the movement of bees' wings and feet.

Combined with other precision measurements—including temperature, humidity, and honey yield—researchers will be able to closely monitor bee colonies, detecting patterns and predicting behaviors. This will enable conservationists and bee keepers to act to protect colonies, such as preventing swarming at the wrong time of year or removing predators like the invasive Asian hornet.

The WBP Hive Network launched in the United Kingdom with expansion expected in the United States and Africa next. The value of the data is in informing beekeepers of the various different states of the colony throughout the year to aid colony management.

Check out the following video to see how the project came together.

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