Artificial Intelligence: AI And High-Tech Cameras To Protect Bees From Deadly Mites

March 30, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The Varroa Destructor mite (pictured above) decimated bee populations in countries other than Australia.

Researchers have set up new, purple-colored “sentinel” hives at the Port of Melbourne in Australia to detect any of the deadly Varroa Destructor mites that might have entered the country through container ships. (ABC News)

The sentinel hives are armed with high-tech cameras and AI and are colored bright purple to attract the bees – purple being their favorite color. They are a pilot project in Australia and draw upon the experience of New Zealand which faced large-scale destruction of its bees from the Varroa mite.

How it works

A 360-degree camera is mounted at the entrance to each of the hives. The camera takes an image of every bee that enters the hive. The image is processed through an AI algorithm trained to identify anything abnormal about the bee.

If it detects an anomaly the system sends out an alert that immediately leads to the hive being quarantined.

The system was developed by Xailient, an Australian company specializing in AI and computer vision technology.

In real life, the system could need to cope with hundreds of bees swarming into a hive and immediately send out warnings in case of a mite threat.

“It’s quite difficult to do, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, in a haystack,” Xailient chief technology officer Shivy Yohanandan said to ABC.

The algorithm can also be customized to identify other pests that threaten bee populations in Australia.

Related Story:  AI Protects Endangered Sea Turtles From Feral Pigs

Image credit:  Flickr Varroa destructor (Adult male)                                                 

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