Bee.Watch is a trading name of uWatch Ltd. Bee.Watch is well known for it’s award-winning Upstairs Downstairs (UD) Hive Kit that deters wasps and small mammals from entering hives and is making bees and beekeepers happy across the nation.
Bee.Watch also offers a range of reporting apps – Beekeeper (hive management), Bystander (citizen science) and Non-beekeeper (pesticide management). All working collectively to enable communities to work together to keep hives healthy and beekeepers happy. In the only country in Europe where Beekeepers do not have to be registered, it is hard for pesticide users to know where hives are, let alone efficiently communicate all types of planned treatments with hive owners. uWatch Ltd staff keep bees in the centre of an agricultural area and local bee keepers, alongside staff had been experiencing growing colony losses since 2015 and virtually no swarms. This needed a resolution and the team got to work developing a reporting system named Bee.Watch.
In 2019 the system was extended to keep records for individual hives using QR Codes. Working with the University of Hertfordshire, we introduced Pesticide Eco toxicity reports, which illustrate the impact of pesticides’ active ingredients on the surrounding flora and fauna via a traffic lights system. The associated alerts warn beekeepers if some form of protection is required for their hives. We signed up for the BeeConnected system for reporting pesticides and in 2019 used Bee.Watch alongside it. We had 2 alerts from BeeConnected and 179 from Bee.Watch. Our data showed that of all commercial treatments, 50% included Glyphosate.
Bee.Watch's apiary management system developed in the UK has been localised for Africa to deliver food traceability for African honey, and is known as ApiTrace, which turns a predominantly domestic product into an exportable cash crop.
From hives identified by QR Codes through local honey processing hubs (HPH) to wholesalers and contaminant testing, the source of all honey throughout the food chain is known. All bee keepers are registered and given a vocational qualification in Apiculture by the local Bee Inspector who’s ApiTrace app is currently available in English, French and Swahili and works even if there is no GSM signal available.
The Bee Inspector registers new bee keepers, interviews them, inspects their colonies and identifies their skills though a vocational qualification. They then order QR Codes and a honey barrel through the app and subsequently delivers them, carries out a first formal inspection and advises the bee keeper when they should take their first honey crop to the HPH.
At the HPH, the system checks the ID of the bee keeper, weighs their honey and pays them immediately, and can process up to 1500 kg honey per day, extracting and filtering it.
The wholesaler then has access to consistent supplies of consistent quality pre-processed honey that is fully traceable. Batches are tested for contaminants and if found the Bee Inspector and administrator are immediately notified and the system puts on hold any further inputs from that/those apiaries until the source is discovered. Preventing contaminants getting in in the first place is less expensive and disruptive than trying to accommodate them later.
The honey processing hub is housed in a bespoke shipping container, powered by solar and wind renewables, includes centrifugal and filtering equipment and an integrated weighing/point of sale facility. Biometrics will be used to identify registered bee keepers and payments will be made directly into their online accounts.
Deliveries of honey will be made in 25li barrels each with an embedded RFID device which will be checked online against what was shipped and be used to identify the component parts of a batch if individual samples are required to be taken.