Vive le Canada! In September, we’re headed to Montréal for the 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress. I’ll be getting on stage to showcase our work building Verifli, our infrared hive grading solution, to the global scientific beekeeping community. I first became exposed to the world of beekeeping when I joined The Bee Corp less than two years ago. After a drastic career shift, it’s rather validating for me to have this opportunity to share this work with the scientific beekeeping community.
WHAT MY TALK WILL COVER
A major pain for growers, especially almond growers in California, is renting enough strong beehives to pollinate their trees. Almonds bloom in February when most of the nation’s bee colonies are in winter survival mode. Since it’s difficult to build up hive population so early in the season, almond pollination contract prices are based on colony strength. To validate hive strength, growers hire trained inspectors to pop open hives and estimate colony size, measured by how many frames are covered by bees. Frame counts are time consuming and disruptive to bee activity. Because of how long it takes, inspectors typically only grade a small sample of a grower’s hives. Verifli allows growers to measure colony size without opening any hives. Users simply plug the FLIR infrared camera into their smartphone, snap a picture of as many hives as they’d like, and receive a report of each hive’s frame count. Each picture takes just a few seconds and no bees are disturbed in the process. We also built Verifli to help beekeepers. By providing Verifli reports to their growers, beekeepers can be transparent about their quality of their hives, reinforcing grower’s confidence in the relationship. Beekeepers can also use Verifli as a point of comparison to other hives on the market, which can be used to justify the price they’re charging. America’s National Science Foundation is excited about the broader impacts of Verifli. Data collected with Verifli can be used to optimize hive placement rate and distribution of hives during pollination. Since almond pollination requires more than 2/3 of the nation’s hives, this information could help reduce the strain on the country’s hive population as almond acreage continues to grow. Verifli data can also help companies that develop pesticides and fungicides for crops that require bee population. These companies understand that they can’t sell products that interfere with another input, especially an input as important as bees. With Verifli, these companies can measure whether products in development have an adverse impact on honeybees.
Apimondia will be my first-ever bee conference and it’s crazy to think that I’m going to be on stage presenting my work. I hope some of you are able to attend. If not, I’ll go ahead and have that extra honey sample for you at the conference! Au revoir! See my talk on Tuesday the 10th at 11AM in Room 517C