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Online network connects honeybee keepers and researchers

  • Computing graduate students work on the Web application. Pictured are Ehsan Valizadeh, David Qorashi and Sam Serpoosh.
  • The apiary at the Meijer Campus in Holland.

Posted on May 30, 2014

One out of three bites of food, or one-third of our diet, is linked to the direct work of the honeybee. But honeybees are mysteriously disappearing, and faculty members at Grand Valley State University are using technology to understand why.

Professors and students building a Web application that has the potential to connect honeybee keepers with researchers across the country. The keepers register a hive, assign it to a scale and track daily cycles such as weight, humidity and temperature. The data collected can become a research tool for scientists to discover patterns that could shed light on the problem.

Anne Marie Fauvel, professor of liberal studies, said the number of honeybees that survive the winter is low every year. “This is serious because the bees that survive are the ones that continue a colony or establish new ones in the spring,” she said. “Last year, 36 percent were lost. Twenty years ago, it was only 8 percent.”

Their goal is for the Web application to become a nationwide effort.

Read more about the project in the spring issue of Grand Valley Magazine:

For more information, contact Anne Marie Fauvel at or (616) 331-8020, or Jonathan Engelsma, professor of computing, at or (616) 331-2049.

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