Skypilot and Bumblebees
Skypilot and Bumblebees

Some of the bumblebees that were captured through audio recording during the study. A computer analysis of the buzzing sounds not only accurately tracked the bees, but also could distinguish between bees that were flying nearby and those that were in the act of pollinating.

(Photo : Nicole Miller-Struttmann/ Webster University)

Researchers at the Webster University have developed a new method of tracking bee activity and pollination services that is a lot cheaper than any methods currently used in US farms.

The new method, described in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE, utilizes microphones placed in strategic locations and a computer algorithm that can distinguished the number of bees based on their “buzzing” sound.

“We used inexpensive sound equipment to monitor for buzzing sounds created by bees as they fly. We then developed a computer algorithm that rapidly identifies and quantifies bee flight activity,” said Nicole Miller-Struttmann, a biology professor at Webster University and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We…