BPI et ETICOOP soutiennent Mellisphera

BPI and ETICOOP are supporting Mellisphera

BPI and ETICOOP are supporting Mellisphera

That’s the good news of the fall. We have two new sponsors, BPI and ETICOOP, engaged with Mellisphera to support its development.

On the one hand, the Public Investment Bank supports the development of the Mellisphera platform. Indeed, the BPI, whose slogan is “serving the future”, is seduced by the prospects of our product.

On the other hand, ETICOOP, which integrates us into its 14th incubation course for innovative projects alongside the 9 other selected projects. This structure, supported by Crédit Agricole Pyrénées Gascogne, backs innovative and local initiatives. As a result it offers personalized support on all aspects of the company. And this, with a strong emphasis on territory and cooperation.

We are proud to have these two strong supporters to support our development. By committing to Mellisphera, BPI and ETICOOP are not only betting on our ability to offer a high value-added product. But also on the development of innovation and local employment.

We share 100% of these values, which are very concretely reflected in our daily lives. For example, when we support free software or participate in local events such as e-py or the Greta Digital Hackaton, to name a few.

Eticoop developpement régional

About BPI and Eticoop

Bpifrance www.bpifrance.fr is a public investment bank, a French financing and business development organisation. As such, it is responsible for supporting SMEs, TWAs and innovative companies in support of public policies of the State and regions.

Eticoop www.eticoop.fr is the Territorial School for Innovation and Cooperation. It is a structure for the development of entrepreneurship and cooperative values in our territories. Therefore it brings together three complementary players: the regional banks of Crédit Agricole Pyrénées Gascogne and Crédit Agricole Aquitaine, the INSUP association and the Mondragon group. To achieve its objectives, it implements operational actions. For example, the Support Programme for entrepreneurs alternates between collective and individual phases over a total period of 30 months.


Apimondia 2019

Apimondia 2019

apimondia 2019 montréal

Welcome to Apimondia 2019 🇨🇦

What is the international event that brings together every two years nations from Russia to Chile, from China to Australia, from the United States to Ethiopia, from Brazil to Slovenia? The Olympics ? no Apimondia!

If you are passionate about beekeeping, be certain that Apimondia is the event not to miss. We had a very intense week in Montreal. How lucky to have been able to participate in an event of this level. Extremely well organized, in a very welcoming city, gathering four days long the world’s beekeeping stakeholders.

A high quality program

On the content side, the high quality program brought together lecturers literally addressing the whole range of topics related to beekeeping. Five parallel sessions permanently, from Monday to Thursday. This makes conferences to follow (and leave …). There were also the daily poster sessions, and of course the exhibitors hall from around the globe.

Beautiful encounters

Apimondia is also the pleasure of discovery. Sharing with beekeepers from around the globe. Open to discuss their beekeeping practices on small or large farms. In this respect we have been able to deepen their conception of precision beekeeping. Many people make increasing use of the data to carry out their exploitation.

Know-how

We found our friends in Broodminder to build relationships and define the rest of our roadmap. We have good plans for 2020. As at every meeting, we took the opportunity to consolidate our vision in the medium / long term.

On the floor, we also found other international actors who share the mission to improve the conditions of beekeepers using modern technology. ApisProtect, Beeguard, Beehero, Hostabee or Nectar are just some of them.

Clearly the hive monitoring technologies have occupied a good place at Apimondia. Especially in the conference rooms but also on the expo. This is not only the signal that something is changing in the world of beekeeping. But also a wave of bottom that the most advanced beekeepers have already integrated into their practices.

And a state of mind turned towards the future

The only sad note of the event was that more than 50% of the honeys presented at the honey competition were rejected by the laboratory. This is the tangible signal of something wrong with the industry. And so much the better if it serves to raise global awareness to initiate change.

Finally, I would like to point the positive mindset of all the actors that I could cross during these four days. The bee and the beekeepers certainly have problems to overcome. But the desire to go beyond them was clearly tangible in every corner of the Palais des Congrès in Montreal.

apimondia 2019 montréal

suivi du rucher en temps réel

Beyond inspections: follow your apiary in real time

suivi du rucher en temps réel

Beyond inspections: follow your apiary in real time

Precision beekeeping is characterized by real-time apiary monitoring. This is useful at any time, even for carrying out the yearly review. This article presents a detailed analysis of three apiaries monitored throughout the 2019 season.

 

In an apiary as in life there are hives that are doing well, hives on average and others under poor condition. The beekeeper, as a good breeder, accompanies each colony to help it express its full potential.

The specificity of beekeeping compared to other breeding professions is to work with a super-organism. Conduct a colony that is not eye-visible and has a very variable development. This is the challenge for the beekeeper. In two weeks a colony can cross several states: accelerate or decline everything is possible.

Within an apiary, each hive follows its own dynamics. Generalizations are not very effective in beekeeping and it is necessary to manage – to the colony – to express the best of each one.

To face these constraints, beekeepers do inspections every 15 days on average. Two weeks in the life of a super-organism is far from being two weeks in the life of any other animal. The production of an entire season can be decided in 15 days, natural reproduction (swarming) can be triggered in 15 days. A colony that has 3,000 bees in February will have 60,000 in July: this is +2000% in 6 months, or about +166% every 15 days.

In the past, climatic and environmental hazards were less present and it was possible to practice calendar beekeeping. Those days are gone. Monitoring every 15 days has become the compromise that the beekeeper adopts to run his farm in a more or less profitable way.

Concept de suivi du rucher en temps réel

Precision beekeeping – a new paradigm

To ensure proper monitoring of the colonies, being informed in real time becomes a real asset. Know what happens to act at the right time. Precision beekeeping brings a radically different conception to calendar beekeeping. The inspection concept is reversed: You’re no longer heading to the apiary to diagnose but to act directly because the diagnostic has been made beforehand.

At Mellisphera we have developed algorithms to monitor colony development in real time throughout the season. It is now possible to know the brood level of each hive without opening it.

For the beekeeper, it is an excellent decision-making tool that allows him to quantify the situation at any time, ensure the health of his colonies have an improved risk management.

Valeurs et non-valeurs d'un rucher suivi en temps reel

Let’s look at this apiary with 5 monitored hives. While they all had a relatively tight start at the beginning of the season, on April 9 the breakaway squad started. The games are done at that moment, with those that will go into production and those that will not take off. The RHH green hive is the result of a division and has a delayed start, later in the season.

The best hives succeed in developing their brood quickly and maintain a good level throughout the season. The others will live for 3 months and eventually recover at the end of the season. Those will endure one or more descents with brood losses, swarming, changing queen, etc..

 

Each apiary has its own dynamics

The potential of this tool is multiplied when comparing several apiaries together. In our case three apiaries of three different beekeepers located at less than 40km apart from each other. They benefit from the same weather overall, (see the article “the case of the hive5” on this subject). However, depending on the local setup, resources and practices of the beekeeper, their trajectory will be completely different.

Suivi en temps reel de trois ruchers

Apiary A started in March, Apiary B in April and Apiary C in May. The process is quite similar: those who thrive, those who survive and those who stumble. At the end of the season, after the harvest, the descent of the brood is also different. For apiaries A and B it is moderate for C very accentuated… because of a very concrete reason that will be the subject for our next post.

Conclusion

We have seen that each apiary has a characteristic development. At the same time, each hive follows its own path. Precision beekeeping is based on knowledge of these dynamics. Real-time monitoring of the apiary gives the beekeeper increased visibility on his livestock. Resulting in a more relevant and informed decision-making.

With those new accurate practices, the beekeeper ends up wondering how he was doing, at the time when he was recording information every 15 days….


To go further

Colony dynamics is not a new topic. This 1996 report from the Swiss Bee Research Centre provides further details. We particularly recommend reading its conclusion.


blooming and honeydew

Blooming and honeydews

blooming and honeydew

Blooming and honeydews

One aspect that makes beekeeping an interesting practice is that it immerses you into nature. You become an informed observer of the ecosystem because you and your bees depend on it.

At the end of your first season you easily assimilate the blooming calendar: in March cherry trees, in April apple trees and rapeseed. May is for robinia and June for chestnut and lime tree. Then in August it’s the famine … This careful monitoring of your natural environment allows you to perceive events that go unnoticed to the uninitiated.

Flowers vs honeydew : necessary but not sufficient condition

Having flowers does not necessarily imply the existence of nectar, therefore resources for bees. The honey is conditioned by many factors: the ambient temperature and humidity, the last rains and their intensity, the depth of the roots for plants such as rapeseed or sunflower, etc.

The honeydew is neither acquired nor easy to identify. Especially since you will not stand guard under your neighbor’s apple tree to see when they come foraging!

To measure is to understand

A weight sensor installed under the hive will give you much more detailed information. At a glance it becomes possible to follow the honeydews, their intensity and also the periods of scarcity.

Beyond the fun aspect, it is a real decision-making tool that allows you to judge the appropriate moment to install a new supper or, on the contrary, to support a colony lacking reserves. .

Data transforms the practice of beekeeping. Our understanding of the surrounding environment becomes more precise, more intense.

Fig1: honeydew calendar for a beehive. Green dots indicate incoming resources, while reds indicate weight loss. Their size is proportional to the amount gained or lost.


The Digital Farm at the hearth of Paris

On June 5, 2019, we participated to LFDay. Here is the report of our impressions.

An initiative like no other

La Ferme Digitale (The Digital Farm) could be in some ways  compared with transformation initiatives such as the Factory of the Future or Industry 4.0. Nevertheless, it has two very specific characteristics:

The first is that it was founded by visionary entrepreneurs. They created this association without anyone asking them. Apart from any institutional or state initiative, it is the expression of the need to federate actors of a sector. Paolin Pascot founder of the marketplace agriconomie.com and Florian Breton founder of miimosa.com the site of crowdfunding for farmers are at the origin of this initiative.

The second concerns values. In the association founding objectives are clearly stated commitment to ecology, for society and for farmers.

The ambition is huge and technology is only a tool

It is not just about technology or digital: it is about fighting for agriculture and agronomy of tomorrow, to sustain French agriculture. It is necessary to succeed with the ecological and economic transformations as well as that of the consumption schemes.

These issues were palpable in the corridors of the exhibition with the hundred AgriTech startups who exhibited their products and ideas. A hundred actors is both a lot and not enough. With $ 13 billion invested worldwide in the last 5 years in AgriTech, including $ 5 billion in 2018 alone (source Digital Food Lab), this is a real acceleration, even if, unsurprisingly, China and the United States are on the podium and Europe is lagging behind with only 8% of these investments.

Farmers must be actors

One of the main messages was that farmers must take their communication in hand so that “others do not speak for us”. In my opinion, I prefer the idea of a revolution going on, and that farmers have to be part of it.

A movement is growing. Farmers must seize it at risk of being once again subject to forces that constrain them.

Tech for good ?

We still keep in mind the words of Cédric Villani during the closing speech “The dream is of course the reconciliation of humanity with agriculture and the environment“. Here is an idea that gives matter for thought and with which I want to close this article.

L. PONS


The case of hive #5

The case of hive #5

Our hive R5 which in 2018 had achieved a beautiful acacia honeydew does not seem very successful in 2019. While during inspections it seemed to develop well, the results are clear: 4.9kg against 15.8kg produced last year. The daily detail is given below:

The hasty beekeeper would attribute this fall in production to a honeydew lack, or to a queen in decline. “It worked well last year and must go down this year,” he (or she) would say.

That said, let’s see what the data says.

First of all, the state of brood

Our hive has excellent vitality, it displays a brood temperature at 35 °C ultra-constant all along April. Without inspecting it we can assure that it has at least 4 frames of beautiful brood. There was no swarm either during the period.

  • No, the queen is not declining.

Next, compare with peers

We are fortunate to have two other hives equipped with sensors in an apiary B just 2.6km as the crow flies. Hives R17 and R26 also have a fully developed brood like the R5 : We can compare these three colonies together and notice that finally, R17 and R26 are much better: + 7.2kg and + 10.5kg respectively.

Although the levels are different, the daily trends are quite similar between the three hives (see below) with red days and rather green days (they must all subscribe to Waze for bees?).

  • No, there’s no honeydew defect

So far, we can rule out as possible causes : 1/ aging queen and 2/ lack of resources.

What about the weather?

Normally the weather should not be the cause either. The two apiaries are very close and at this level the climatic conditions are identical. However, … let’s look at the maximum daily temperatures in each of the apiaries:

Very clearly, apiary A in which R5 is located is in a cooler environment than apiary B.

The average maximum temperature in April 2019 is 18.2°C in A and 21.2°C in B. A three degrees gap that seems to make all the difference.

The 20.5°C reached in 2018 on apiary A, seems to corroborate the hypothesis that the key parameter of our analysis is the sun exposure of the apiary. Indeed, it turns out that apiary A is in a wood under a cover of acacia plant, while apiary B is also in woodland but in the middle of a clearing.

Concluding remarks

Finally, the sun exposure of the apiary was at the origin of the production decrease of the hive 5. The bees were present, the resources and the weather too. But not the sunshine. In average April 2019 was 2°C cooler than April 2018 and this difference in local maximum average temperature had a strong impact in this apiary.

Apiary A

Apiary B


digital beekeeping - apiculture numérique

Precision Beekeeping 101

You have probably heard about Hive Monitoring technology. This is a part of a broader concept usually referred as Precision Beekeeping.

Precision Beekeeping adopts a systemic view of the beekeeping practice. It’s a coherent integration of a set of useful information for the beekeeper.

The four pillars

Generally speaking, precision beekeeping sits on four pillars:

  • bee colonies, with its vital parameters
  • environment, with meteorological and blooming events
  • beekeeper, who observes and acts
  • community, that opens the field for a deeper understanding.

Only when these four sources of information are linked can the system be approached as a whole. It then becomes possible to design relevant services.

  • Knowing the onset of a honeydew is useful information for the beekeeper. Being able to link it with the surrounding flowering and former blooming history is much better.
  • A hive with a declining brood temperature is annoying information pointing to a brood loss. Being able to link it with the beekeeper's recent operations or with the dynamics of the neighboring hives is much better.

Provide actionable information

The ultimate goal of precision beekeeping is to provide the beekeeper with actionable information.

This means information that is quickly understandable because it is expressed in the jargon of the profession, contextual, relevant at the given moment and opening the possibility for an action or a remedy.

In this state of mind, commercial beekeepers have a new lever to optimize their operations. As for backyard beekeepers, they can count on a guide to improve their practice, if they are initiating, or push their research and experiment further for the most advanced of them.

In all the cases the practice of beekeeping is transformed. It is more intense, more relevant and more precise.

A sixth sense

Digital tools do not extract the beekeeper from nature. On the contrary, they provide a new way to better understand events that are unfolding too often far-off our five senses.

 


vivatech paris mellisphera

Can't wait for Vivatech!

Mellisphera will participate in the VIVATECH 2019 show alongside the delegation of the New Aquitaine Region. It will be a great opportunity to show the public how data science contributes to the knowledge of bees.

We are already preparing various new media for the event. For the first time in Europe, we will be exhibiting the latest T2 sensor from our friends at Broodminder. This gem of technology designed specifically for the needs of beekeepers hides his game with a very affordable price and outstanding capabilities.

We will travel with our friends from ST37 Sport and Technology and Prof-en-Poche who will also be there, as well as the fifteen young shoots of the neo-Aquitaine ecosystem. A big thank you to the New Aquitaine Region for its trust.

See you in Paris on May 18th!


naia intelligence artificielle apiculture connectée

NAIA: artificial intelligence exhibition

We were in Bordeaux on March 19, 2019 to bring connected beekeeping closer to artificial intelligence. Mellisphera is currently shipping AI in the automatic notebook. This module allows the beekeeper to write his intervention as he would on paper and then processes the information to classify it in a relevant way.

The forum gave us the opportunity to meet the likes of LumenAI or SofTeamAI but also Cdiscount, INRIA and the University of Bordeaux. So many actors around the many digital start-ups have made this event very rich in content.

A special mention for Dr. Pellegrini who treated us to some digital bobos with his shock therapy ;)

NAIA is organized by the Sud Ouest newspaper and the Suez group.


Meeting American beekeepers

ABF american beekeeping federation Bee InnovativeEvery year, the American Beef Federation (ABF) organizes its international congress.

Our friend Rich Morris, founder of Broodminder, invited us to present the prototype of Mellisphera to American beekeepers. With Rich and Theo, we met with beekeepers from Canada, the US and Mexico. In America professional beekeepers are called "commercial beekeepers" while amateurs are called "backyard beekeepers".

These exchanges allowed us to become aware of the similarity of the issues on our two continents: loss of productivity, very constrained environment, significant operating expenses ... The United States nevertheless has three characteristics of its own: the preponderance of pollination services, Huge farms of up to 6000 hives (everything is big at Uncle Sam's house!). Not to mention another factor of loss: the damage caused by bears.

We exchanged on beekeeping connected with the developers of HiveTracks and The B-App. These are two of the best known apiary management software in the business.

On the conference side, presentations by Marla Spivak and other American researchers have been of great interest. 

A highlight? The roundtable entitled "Hive Monitoring Technology: Fad or the Future? ". This was moderated by James Wilkes of HiveTracks, with participants such as Rafael Cabrera (Bee Solution) O'Keefe (O'Keefe Electronics), Jonathan Engelsma (Bee Informed Partnership) Brandon Hopkins (Enthomology United, Washington), Itai Kanot (BeeHero) and Rich Morris (Broodminder). 

This second week of January clearly sets the scene for 2019: meetings of great intensity, many things added to our to-do-list ... Not to mention all that good time spent together with Broodminder!