CSIRO e-tags bees for colony collapse research

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 CSIRO e-tags bees for colony collapse research

The Internet of Bees? Not quite, but CSIRO is putting IT to work in an international research project investigating honey bee health.

Macquarie University may have found an explanation for the colony collapse disorder affecting honey bee hives in North America and Europe, but research into the cause is still continuing.

The issue isn't just about honey supplies: bees pollinate crops that provide about one third of our food. Bees are big business.

CSIRO, with help from Intel, is planning to distribute a tiny computer - slightly larger than a postage stamp - to its international research partners. The device goes inside a hive, and records bee activity by detecting RFID tags that are attached to bees' backs.

More than 10,000 Tasmanian bees are already instrumented in this way.

The Intel Edison board that forms the heart of the system is connected to other sensors that measure environmental factors including temperature and humidity.

Collaborators in the CSIRO-led Global Initiative for Honey bee Health include researchers, beekeepers, farmers, industry and technology companies.

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