BEES

In Tunisia, "smart hives" to save bees

The Tunisian startup "Beekeeper Tech" has developed an infrared sensor device that continuously provides data on the environment and the health of bees.
The beekeeper received an alert signal on his phone thanks to an application, 100% Tunisian and a pioneer in North Africa, intended to avoid excess bee mortality and optimize honey production.The beekeeper received an alert signal on his phone thanks to an application, 100% Tunisian and a pioneer in North Africa, intended to avoid excess bee mortality and optimize honey production.
The beekeeper received an alert signal on his phone thanks to an application, 100% Tunisian and a pioneer in North Africa, intended to avoid excess bee mortality and optimize honey production.
On a hill on his family plot in Testour, northwest of Tunis, Elias Chebbi, 39, opens the shutter of a beehive and shows a small white device similar to a decoder that measures variables and warns him of anything incident, via the Smart Bee application.
"An affordable price"
When there is a problem, an alert is sent.
"Thanks to this, I am calm and I know from a distance what is going on," rejoices to AFP, Elias, an ex-accountant who started beekeeping in 2013.
It was the same year that a group of young Tunisian engineers came up with the idea of remote hive control, before launching Beekeeper Tech in 2016.
The marketing phase only started in 2020.
Identify a "model hive" to refine the strains and duplicate its operation
According to its CEO, Khaled Bouchoucha, there is significant demand and the company is preparing 1,500 orders for customers in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and even New Zealand.
The application thus helps to identify a "model hive" to refine the strains and duplicate its operation on the farm.
Climate issues
“Before, some bees died gradually without me noticing it early enough,” he says, stressing that the task of professionals is made difficult by “a constantly changing climate”.
"Tunisia suffers from drought almost all year round, which means that the habitat and food for bees is disappearing," he said, claiming to have to regularly look for new sites where to install them.
This technology can "help us strengthen our food security and sovereignty. We greatly need it in a world full of diseases and wars,” explains Mnaouer Djemali, researcher at the National Institute of Agronomy.
In Tunisia, with its population of around 12 million, the sector employs around 13,000 people, according to a local agricultural union, and produces some 2,800 tonnes of honey a year.