The Bee Hub, a Big Data approach to improve our understanding of pollinator diversity and threats in Europe makes its first public launch. We are aiming to achieve a platform that includes any relevant data linked to pollinators, especially bees (but not necessarily restricted to bees). Today, we publish the first step on its development, made available online at www.bee-hub.org . The initial goal that we reach today is the creation and first publication of a Proof of Concept for the Bee Hub. This work has been completed within the frame of The Internet of Bees Project (IoBee) . This Proof of Concept will continue to be developed and will be finalised during the first semester of 2020. Afterwards, the Bee Hub will be further developed, moving on to a prototype-building phase, expanding its data sources. Interested parties in collaborating and providing data are welcome in current and upcoming stages, thus enriching the collaborative nature of this new platform for a better future for pollinators.
BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination is currently developing this new tool to improve the efforts of monitoring and protection of pollinators. The Bee Hub is a practical application of its vision for a safer environment for pollinators. More sustainable and innovative agricultural practices, as well as improving collaborations between farmers and beekeepers, are part of BeeLife’s vision for the future. Achieving its core objective of protecting bees and pollinators rely on cooperation among institutional agents, researchers and stakeholders. The goal is to achieve a multiparty collaboration between beekeepers, researchers, farmers, environmentalists and European institutions. Ultimately, the Bee Hub will be able to integrate as many sources of data as possible.
In the current first phase, we are checking the feasibility of the platform and the first required measures for proper data integration. We are building practical applications for the hub once the Proof of Concept proves to be successful.
In the long run, we would aim to achieve a European (even worldwide) platform that includes any relevant data linked to pollinators, especially bees (but not necessarily restricted to bees). With such a platform, we are aiming at creating a communicative tool on the status of pollinators and pollination, since both are essential for food security and biodiversity. This platform will provide a user-friendly window on the status of pollinators in real-time, identifying problematic areas and harmless areas. One of the main goals is to achieve an application of current standardisation efforts for bee and pollinator related data, thus implementing protocols such as those established by the Bee XML .
There are two main aspects which the Bee Hub follows in line with the mission and values of BeeLife. First, it aims to be a useful and effective tool in data gathering and sharing. Its focus relies on a non-profit scheme. Secondly, it aims to be a collaborative tool in which beekeepers, monitoring device producers and research centres reach a new level of cooperation. It is also a materialisation of the EU Bee Health Partnership, of which BeeLife is an active stakeholder .
The current Proof of Concept ensures the reception, storage and management of data in full security. It involves visualisation features and accessibility of the data performed through automated data processing integrated into the interface.
To continue developing this tool that will be beneficial for field practitioners such as beekeepers, veterinarians or naturalists, researchers, policymakers and the general public, BeeLife requires the necessary collaborations and support. We foresee a tool that will help politicians better understand the impact of European and national legislation on pollinators, such as a useful tool to centralise and make relevant information available to the public. By integrating data from both publicly-funded research and from citizen science, it is possible to provide a never before seen tool to understand the drivers of pollinator decline. Besides, it could also help in agricultural and beekeeping economic activities, for example, by providing insights on the best times and locations for managed insect pollination. The interdisciplinary nature of the Bee Hub lies on its goals and its functioning, which integrates environmental and technological perspectives to help tackle a significant challenge for Europe and the world, preserving pollinators and their essential role in our ecosystems.
Contact: Andrés SALAZAR, BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination: firstname.lastname@example.org
 BeeLife is a partner of the Internet of Bees project, a European Union financed project to develop innovative solutions for in-hive monitoring, field monitoring and Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS). The project began in 2017 and will be finalised during the first semester of 2020. For more information, visit www.io-bee.eu
 Based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML), a programming language for storing and transporting data, Bee XML is the ongoing measure to reach a new model for sharing bee data. http://beexml.org
 EFSA. 2018. Terms of Reference for the EU Bee Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/en-1423
NOTE TO EDITORS:
BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination is an association formed by professionals of the beekeeping sector from different countries of the European Union. Its main activity is the study of the impact on bees of environmental threats such as pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMOs).BeeLife works for the protection of bees based on the principle that “bees serve as the canary in the gold mine” sounding the alarm that “something is wrong in the environment”. Not least, bees create 30% of all our food by pollinating fruits, vegetables and arable crops such as sunflower and oilseed rape, having an inherent value that the Coordination is working to protect.
The Bee Hub is an integrative platform for the integration and communication of pollinator-related data. Still in its early stages of development as a Proof of Concept, it is directed by BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination. The Bee Hub is an initial application of conclusions derived from overlapping initiatives relating to bee and pollinator health such as the EU Bee Partnership, The Internet of Bees project and the Apimondia working group on the standardisation of data on bees - Bee XML.