The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia is doing research to understand the behavior of bees and the stress factors that affect them. To do this they have gone to wearable technology. In this case they have selected an RFID tag from Hitachi Chemicals which they have glued onto thousands of bees to track their movements in and out of the hives, as well as environmental sensors to measure temperatures, humidity, and solar radiation.
“This tiny technology allows researchers to analyse the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet, and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate," professor Paulo de Souza, CSIRO science leader, said. "We're also investigating what key factors, or combination of factors, lead to bee deaths en masse.’
Honey bees are essential for the pollination of about one third of the food we eat - including fruit, vegetables, oils, seeds and nuts and their health and ability to pollinate our crops is under serious threat. Since 2006, bee populations have been decreasing rapidly on a global basis. This is known as Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. Australia is one of the few countries where this has not happened so it is important for this study to establish a control group for research in other countries.
The RFID tag is a tiny tiny 2.5mm x 2.5mm chip that can be used in many IoT applications for tracking documents, packages, apparel, tools, as well as living organisms like honeybees. This RFID tag also has a booster antenna that can extend the read range to 4 meters. This is another example of Hitachi’s Social Innovation strategy in partnership with leading research organizations. CSIRO has partnered with Intel to capture the data from the RFID transponder and load it into the cloud where it can be accessed by the international research community to solve the growing problem of Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder: http://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2015/Honey-Bee-Health.