Honey bee counter evaluation – Introducing a novel protocol for measuring daily loss accuracy
Automated bee counters advanced over the last hundred years and became increasingly diverse. However, to date, there is no method for standardized validation of counting accuracy and thus no reliable data on daily bee losses, or background mortality in colonies. However, such data are in urgent need by regulators to establish future guidelines for pesticide risk assessment. In this work, existing approaches were combined to form a novel protocol for validating bee counters. In a case study, we demonstrated that the protocol is sufficiently feasible to determine the measurement accuracy of a commercial counting system. Measurement accuracy was modeled by the difficulty of specific measurement conditions. Daily loss, i.e., the difference between incoming and outgoing bees, can be used to assess colony health, environmental impacts, and infer the effect of pesticides on bee colonies. The developed protocol makes innovations in this field measurable and creates a foundation for the benchmarking of different types of bee counting systems. We discuss how it can be utilized in an effort to move the sector forward in the future.
License Holder: 2022 Elsevier B.V.
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