On the one hand, Israel-based NSO Group develops the infamous Pegasus spyware to monitor the acts of humans; on the other hand, Beit HaEmek, HaZafon, Israel-based BeeWise got its robots spy on bee health; inspecting bees for diseases, monitoring for pesticides, and reporting in real-time hazards threatening the colony.
BeeWise, an agri-tech company, uses Industry 4.0 technology that automates all beekeeping activities to increase honey yield, reduce colony loss, and eliminate chemical pesticides. BeeWise, a smart beehive technology, aims to keep bees alive despite all the stressors and challenges they face, allowing them to thrive, pollinate, and produce honey.
The Langstroth box used to culture bees has major challenges not conducive to effective bee farming. Here, BeeWise’s solar-powered Beehome is placed in the field, populated with bees. The robot inside the BeeHome takes care of your bees in real-time through rain or sun, facilitating access to essential data for remote management of beehives.
The Beehome controls the inside elements of the beehives, ensuring a suitable environment for the bees that is neither too hot nor cold. Earlier, humidity within the hive used to be a major concern, but now, BeeWise’s Beehome efficiently regulates the internal humidity control for apiary owners. The Beehome houses 24 hives, which is a total of 720 honeycombs.
Parasitic mites like the Varroa are kept at bay along with every other pest that is detrimental to the quality of life of the bees. All hives are monitored in real-time, and when there is a situation, pests are eliminated through non-chemical treatment, which also checks for infection and other microbial infestation.
A Beehome uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify a colony ready to swarm and prevents the event by adjusting influencing conditions. The technology helps beekeepers detect frames that are harvest-ready and then harvests them within the Beehome. Beekeepers are alerted as the honey container reaches capacity (100 gallons) for clean and efficient harvesting.
At the helm of BeeWise, the team comprises Boaz Petersil—the artificial intelligence chief; Eliyah Radzyner—the agronomist & beekeeper; Hallel Schreier—the chief scientist; Saar Safra—the executive manager; and Yossi Sorin—the system architect, along with 35 regular employees. Together, they are constantly training their algorithm to revolutionize beekeeping.
In the European Union, the majority of crops depend on insect pollination. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 are pollinated by bees. Companies like BeeWise are working to solve the very problem.
Beyond the essential value of pollination to maintaining biodiversity, the global annual monetary value of pollination has been estimated at hundreds of billions of euros. But due to intensive agriculture, pesticides, climate change, etc., the bee population has declined, impacting the biodiversity, supply of food, and income.
On Dec 15, 2020, BeeWise raised a Series B fund of $38.7M from lool Ventures, Fortissimo Capital, Atooro Fund, Corner Ventures, and Michael Eisenberg. Previously, BeeWise raised its Series A fund of $10M from the same set of investors, along with grants of $2.5M and 50K, respectively. In the Seed round, the company raised $3.5M from lool Ventures and $700K from Atooro Fund in Pree-Seed.
Globally, several agri-tech startups are taking an active interest in recovering the decline of bees. Like BeeWise from Israel, in India, Chennai-based agritech startup Gobuzzr’s smart beehive technology monitors apiaries through constant check on the weight of a hive, internal humidity, temperature, and sounds determine the health of the hive in real-time.