Bees find refuge in robotic hive

This is a robotic beehive with an efficiency that no human beekeeper could match.

The machine scans stacks of honeycombs one by one, inspecting them for disease, monitoring for pesticides, and reports in real time any hazards that threaten the bee colony.

The next-generation hive was developed by Israeli startup Beewise.

Founder and CEO Saar Safra says that this kind of around-the-clock care is what is needed to minimize the risk of colonies collapsing, due to intensive agriculture, the use of pesticides, pests and climate change.

"Anything a bee keeper would do in the field, the robotic system can mimic -- inspecting hives, applying treatment, applying medicine, harvesting the honey, splitting hives, combining hives -- anything a bee keeper would do, the robotic mechanism can mimic and do it more effectively, without ever getting tired, without going on vacation and without complaining."

The robotic beehive is roughly the size of a cargo trailer.

It houses 24 colonies and up to two million bees.

Inside, it is equipped with a robotic arm that slides between honeycombs, computer vision and cameras.

Color-coded openings on the sides allow bees to come and go.

Bees are one of the most important pollinators for fruit, vegetables and nuts that we eat.

Companies have been pursuing different technologies to try to slow down mass colony collapse, like placing sensors on traditional wooden beehives, or methods to cope with the loss of bees, like artificial pollination.

"All over the globe today, from China all the way to the U.S., the hives are the same, that same invention. And that technology doesn't scale well with the current demand for bees pollination services and honey. This is why we've invented the Bee Home which a much more robust, comprehensive solution for the bees, to enhance the bees and prevent them from collapsing."

Beewise says it has already raised $40 million of funding from private investors and over 100 of its systems are in use in Israel and the United States.

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