Czech Startup’s Audio Sensor Ensures Hive Health

A passionate beekeeper has developed software that ensures the health of a colony by analysing sounds recorded inside the hive.

Jindriska Hinge, NewsX/Bee

Pavel Mach – who is an apiarist and the founder of Pilsen-based IT firm Softech – established RoofTop Bees (https://www.vcelynastrechach.cz/en/) and created ProBee, a highly sophisticated programme that registers all kinds of data concerning the condition of the colony.

Jindriska Hinge is the marketing coordinator of RoofTop Bees. She told NewsX: “ProBee processes various data regarding the activity of the hive. All that information is collected in the cloud and analysed. Beekeepers can access it 24-7 via an app installed on any of their mobile devices.

“The ProBee system allows beekeepers to have their colonies under constant control and, if necessary, take action to maintain the vitality of their hives.”

Pavel Mach (in red) inspecting hives in an undated photo. Pavel Mach – who is an apiarist and the founder of Pilsen-based IT firm Softech – established RoofTop Bees (https://www.vcelynastrechach.cz/en/) and created ProBee, a highly sophisticated programme that registers all kinds of data concerning the condition of the colony. (Jindriska Hinge, NewsX/Bee)

Underlining the great advantage of Pavel’s invention, Jindriska said: “Temperature and humidity checks are being offered by other companies too. Our greatest asset is acoustic recognition. A hive affected by a disease creates different sounds. The tone of the whole colony changes. It’s the same with over-occupied hives, swarming colonies and colonies without a queen.”

Jindriska – a former IBM employee looking for a new challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic – revealed: “We – which is Pavel, his daughter Zuzana Hrdinova, who is a professional beekeeper, and myself – are planning to extend our cooperation with the National Museum of Agriculture in Prague.”

She added: “We currently have five hives on the museum roof. We want to organise workshops for schoolchildren and the public at the museum but also at other locations all over the Czech Republic.”

Picture shows Jindriska Hinge, undated. She is the marketing coordinator of RoofTop Bees. (Jindriska Hinge, NewsX/Bee)

The RoofTop Bees team currently also manages around 100 hives on the roofs of more than 25 office buildings in Prague, Pilsen and other cities. However, they also look after approximately 100 hives situated in forests outside the city of Pilsen.

Speaking about the quality of honey harvested in urban areas, Jindriska vehemently dismissed a widespread misconception: “It’s not true that honey from bees pollinating in cities is of worse quality. Actually, the contrary is the case due to the richer variety of the flora in urbanised regions.”

“The bees do not need to fly so far to find nectar-rich flowers due to the different spectrums of orchards, gardens and parks. There are several studies on this topic.”

Jindriska said her company is interested in intensifying its international relations to “introduce our tool to a larger group of apiarists.”

Picture shows a ProBee device, undated. Pavel Mach – who is an apiarist and the founder of Pilsen-based IT firm Softech – established RoofTop Bees (https://www.vcelynastrechach.cz/en/) and created ProBee, a highly sophisticated programme that registers all kinds of data concerning the condition of the colony. (Jindriska Hinge, NewsX/Bee)

Asked to identify the most prevalent challenges regarding protecting the environment nowadays, she stressed the importance of “educating our children.”

She said: “We all have to generate less trash and focus on recycling. Anyone should buy more sustainable products. The pollution of the seas is deeply worrying. Overconsumption is killing us. We just buy new stuff but don’t repair anything.”

Asked which part of beekeeping she enjoys the most, Jindriska said: “I love the wonderful smell of propolis and beeswax when walking towards the hives. I also enjoy listening to the hive. Observing a prosperous and healthy colony gives you a great sense of joy.”

She added: “I cannot imagine stopping beekeeping. I know for sure that this bond will remain for the rest of my life.”

Illustrative image of Carniolan honeybees (Apis mellifera carnica), undated. The Carniolan honeybee – which is a subspecies of the domesticated western honeybee (Apis mellifera) – is the prevalent honeybee species in Slovenia. (NewsX/Bee)
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