In the fight against the bee parasite Varroa Destructor
there will be a new, easy and effective weapon to support state of the art therapies.
The app "Varroa Counter" helps to early recognize critical mite live stock and
to estimate optimal treatmentment points in time.
Without periodical counting of dead mites, which fall down into trays on bottom of bee hives, it is difficult to determine optimal points in time for counter measures. The mite population grows exponentionally and if bee masters treat too late there are irreversible damages of bee colonies. This means less honey and less pollination in agriculture. In worst cases whole bee colonies are lost. The damages - direct and indirect - are considerable. The overall economic performance of bees (pollination and honey production) in the European Union is estimated to about EUR 300 billion per year.
However, currently the mite is an increasing problem in the northern hemisphere. Scientific data has been collected and analyzed, indicating considerable damages also in the US, Japan, and middle east (see [Neumann and Carreck, 2010]).
Depending on the region, losses have been reported ranging from
30% in the US,
up to 53% in Europe,
up to 85% in the near east and
20% of sudden losses in Japan.
The Varroa Counter is the world's first professional mobile counting application for the Varroa Destructor mite, a persistent bee vermin causing serious problems in the last years. The abilities to count a whole hive tray per single button press and to esteem the affection are easing beemasters lifes.
Due to mild winter temperatures caused by climate change the mites proliferate almost all-year and the breed seasing is not ceaseing during winter. Thus critical damages to bee colonies are observed even before honey harvest. Classical therapies fail and cannot be applied in this time window.
With the provision of this smartphone app it becomes possible to count naturally perished mites with computer vision. Opposite to manual counting the time consumed is less, increasing working efficiency. A photo is made and an intelligent algorithm identifies and counts individual mites. If an action limit of dead mites is reached a recommedation to administer a therapy is made. This is realized by an integrated population model which estimates the overall mite population due basis of natural mortalitiy rates.
The main benefits of this novel product are:
less expenditure of time,
an increased motivation to count,
a base to build a unique information base, which indirectly leads to
higher honey harvest and pollination performance.
This project is co-financed by Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH, Creative Industries, Impulse Program.