In an effort to provide beekeepers with a more effective and comprehensive management system, two Healthy Hives 2020 grant recipients recently announced a new collaboration that could help transform commercial beekeeping practices by using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, combined with web and mobile apps, to track and manage honey bee colonies.
Hive Tracks, an apiary management software provider, and its chief executive officer, James Wilkes, PhD., have been an integral part of the Healthy Hives 2020 research conducted by Joseph Cazier, PhD., professor and director of the Center for Analytics Research and Education at Appalachian State University. Both Cazier and Brandon Hopkins, PhD., assistant research professor in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University, received research grants in 2016 that focused on how to improve management practices for commercial beekeepers.
“There are currently not a lot of management tools for commercial beekeepers. Many of them are still managing their operations with notebooks, pencil and paper, or trying to keep track of treatments and issues with objects like thumb tacks, cattle ear tags and wax pencils,” said Hopkins. “For our project, we’ve been developing a way to transform those systems into digital information that can be gathered without adding additional work or time in the field.”
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