Meet Arnia: our amazing partners
Want to know what goes on in hives? Us too, so we asked the experts...
When Eat Natural became involved with the quest to boost the UK's bee population, we wanted to work with innovators looking for new solutions. We were excited when we stumbled across Arnia, a company that – like us – started with a simple idea. Their simple idea was to understand bee behaviour from inside the hive.
The company's co-founder, Huw Evans, has a particular interest. As a beekeeper himself, Huw was spurred on by a rough day inspecting his hives. Puzzling over the challenges of monitoring bee health, Huw, an electrical engineer, and his wife Sandra, a biologist, asked themselves a question: why can’t we find out what’s happening in a beehive without taking it apart?
The answer they came up with resulted in the hive-monitoring systems that they've launched into dozens of countries worldwide, allowing beekeepers and researchers to build up a picture of what keeps honey bees healthy. Now they can look at the temperature of the ‘brood comb’ – where baby bees are reared – as well as get an idea of the weight of the hive. They can see how weather affects behaviour, observe what bees get up to entering and leaving the hive and – vitally – interpret the sound of the colony to check its health.
This breakthrough is at the core of Eat Natural's project, adding new importance to the mission to kit-out a new generation of beekeepers. Monitors attached to Pollenation hives allow beekeepers and researchers to look at long-term trends to understand the impact of pests and pathogens, as well as changes in habitat and land use. To date, Arnia technology is allowing us to monitor 125 colonies – the largest hive-monitoring project undertaken in the UK – as part of the Pollenation initiative, providing valuable data that's sent to scientific institutions studying bee health. A select sample of our 2018 hives will also be monitored, allowing researchers to hone in on more specific set of data.
Who'd have thought that a small device would enable us to help our native honeybee populations? It's a small 'thank you' to those tireless buzzers that pollinate the crops that make our favourite bars and cereals.
To find our more about Arnia’s work remote hive monitoring work, visit www.arnia.co.uk