Cork Based ApisProtect On Beeline for Success
Monkstown Man Chairman Of Pioneering Company
Writes Leo McMahon
At a time when demand for honey and pollination have never been stronger, beekeeping is facing a global crisis but Irish company ApisProtect is playing a significant role to reverse this trend and significantly help producers big and small.
Heading up the team are co-founders Andrew Wood from Monkstown, Chairman and University College Cork based scientist and academic Fiona Edwards Murphy, who is chief executive, along with Dr Padraig Whelan, chief science officer and Dr Emanuel Popovici, technology advisor.
The inspiration came from a research project in UCC in 2013 by Fiona, Padraig and Emanuel focusing on the activity of honey bees inside hives which earned international recognition and numerous awards. The subsequent establishment of ApisProtect enabled the utilization of its pioneering technology in the commercial sphere.
Since the late 1990’s, diseases and pests have devastated beehives worldwide with beekeepers in many countries experiencing honey bee losses of up to 50% and there has been an overall decline in a pastime and industry that also includes honey bee by-products, which is so vital to the future welfare of the planet.
ApisProtect, said Andrew, uses 24/7 in-hive sensors to unobtrusively monitor honeybee colonies. The data is collected and uploaded to its servers, thereby extracting valuable information about the condition, activities and productivity levels of bees.
Whether you have one or more hives for a hobby (which account for 60% of the €2 billion honey market worldwide) or commercially (i.e large scale apiaries or pollination service providers to farms) the ApisProject solution, using a smart alert enables:
Monitoring of hives at times which were previously difficult (e.g. at night, in poor weather or winter); 2) evaluation of the productivity of the hive in terms of pollination and honey production; 3) making faster and more effective decisions on beekeeping actions and 4) acting early on colony health and thereby reduce or prevent problems such as disease or pests.
Significantly, each 60,000 ApisProtect bee colony can accumulate environmental, weather and agricultural data within a three mile radius.
The vision for ApisProtect, said Andrew is to become the world’s leading science based beekeeping assistance service provider to a market of around 81 million beehives. Customer validation is under way with many orders and expressions of interest. It intends selling into the €2bn and €700 million pollination markets primarily in the USA, Australasia and southern Europe but enquiries from Ireland, which has 3,500 beekeepers, are also most welcome. Globally, it’s planned to install its ‘science based, bee healthy’ technology into over 100,000 hives in the next five years.