Study co-author Jennifer Geib photographed a honeybee

Amid increasingly concern about the disappearing honeybee populations, researchers are creating an easy, downloadable app that may be used by amateur and professional enthusiasts alike to help monitor bee species worldwide.

Scientists at the University of Missouri cobbled together an inexpensive acoustic listening system that collected data from small microphones in the field to monitor bees in flight. Using the data, they developed algorithms to identify and quantify the number of bee buzzes in any location.

“For more than 100 years, scientists have used sonic vibrations to monitor birds, bats, frogs and insects. We wanted to test the potential for remote monitoring programs that use acoustics to track bee flight activities,” said researcher Candace Galen.

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Basically, farmers and backyard honeybee fans will be able to use the software to check up on the numbers of honeybees and pollination activity in their area and react accordingly, based on the readings.

“Eavesdropping on the acoustic signatures of bee flights tells the story of bee activity and pollination services,” said Galen. “Farmers may be able to use the exact methods to monitor pollination of their orchards and vegetable crops and head off pollination deficits. Finally, global ‘citizen scientists’ could get involved, monitoring bees in their backyards.”

Galen’s team is currently working on creating a downloadable smartphone app that will detect and record the buzzing of bees and calculate the status of the local population based on the buzz activity, giving every user a valuable tool in their quest to care for the pollinators.

Click To Share The Buzz With Your Friends (Photo by study co-author, Jennifer Geib, Appalachian State University)

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