January 2, 2018
BLOOMINGTON – An ag-tech startup is spreading its wings to attack another issue facing beekeepers: hive theft. Bloomington-based The Bee Corp. has developed the QGPS Hive Theft Tracking System which can be used to provide real-time information to commercial beekeepers and police via a discreet inner-hive sensor. The new technology can also be used to monitor work vehicles and equipment.
During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Chief Executive Officer Ellie Symes said the problem is growing and is hitting almond farmers — some who use bees shipped in from Indiana — especially hard. “Beekeepers from all over the country are shipping their hives out to California,” she said. “When they’re doing this, they’re not going with their hives, so what we’re reading about these hive thefts that are happening — it could be beekeepers from anywhere in the country, because it’s typically targeted at this almond farming season.” Symes says Texas, Oregon and Florida beekeepers are also struggling with theft of this nature and a crime involving tens of thousands of dollars worth of bee hives in Iowa has recently gained national attention.
QGPS, Symes says, is a natural “adaptation” for The Bee Corp.’s technology. As more customers come forward with more issues, she believes the company will respond with solutions. “Really our goal is to have a suite of solutions beekeepers can choose from to help their hives. Sort of like how we all right now choose different sorts of packages from our cable and internet companies — it’s a similar kind of idea,” she says.
The company was first incorporated in February of 2016. It has sprouted from when Symes started the first student-run beehives on the Indiana University campus in the summer of 2013. The Bee Corp.’s existing Queen’s Guard technology tracks the life cycle of the hive in an attempt to get a handle on challenges facing the pollinators that are as globally-pervasive as colony collapse disorder. Last August, The Bee Corp. received an undisclosed Series A round of funding to help hire its first three employees. It was profiled in March of 2016 in our Life Sciences INdiana e-newsletter shortly after receiving a $100,000 boost through the Indiana University BEST Competition.
You can connect to more about The Bee Corp.’s newest technology and where they co-founding trio of Symes, Wyatt Wells and Simon Kuntz will be showcasing it nationally by clicking here.