Protecting our insects from invasive Asian hornets

by Pollenize in Plymouth, United Kingdom

Total raised £3,694

£50,000 target 4 days left
7% 29 supporters
Support
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 22nd April 2024 at 3:17pm

Using citizen science and enhanced bait stations we aim to safeguard British bees, insects and ecosystems from the invasive Asian hornet

by Pollenize in Plymouth, United Kingdom

 donated match funding
Aviva Community Fund is providing live match funding

For every unique supporter, Aviva will match donations pound for pound, up to £250, starting from £1. So, if you donate £50, the Aviva Community Fund will also contribute £50.

For each Nest Sweeper purchased, Aviva matches the funds, enabling us to allocate one for free.

Please read the rewards carefully, and direct any correspondence to- [email protected]

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We’re Pollenize, a pollinator conservation organisation that harnesses pioneering tech and the power of community to secure a thriving future for pollinators, plants, people and the planet. We're on a mission to protect our precious bees and native insects from the invasive Asian hornet (AH) through a groundbreaking citizen science project.

We've spent the last few years studying AH behaviour, including multiple research trips to Jersey, a hot-spot for AH activity, with the invaluable support of Alastair Christie BSc (Senior Scientific Officer for invasive species for the Government of Jersey). Having recognised the severity of the threat, our Co-Founder Matthew has been tirelessly pioneering innovative solutions aimed at addressing the imminent threat of this insect spreading throughout the UK mainland.

Our project involves the distribution of our 'Nest Sweeper' device, an enhanced Asian hornet bait station (EBS) coupled with a cutting-edge reporting app. We invite you to be a part of this vital effort to safeguard our ecosystems and bee populations.

Asian Hornets: The Challenge

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The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a formidable threat to our bee populations and biodiversity. Not to be mistaken with our native European hornet (Vespa crabro),  AH enter the UK via transport and it only takes one queen to get established before potentially releasing hundreds of new queens at the end of each summer- which means time is of the essence! Early detection and management is essential to prevent further damage. Traditional bait stations have limitations, making it challenging to track and control these invasive insects effectively.  With numbers rising in the UK year-on-year so does the threat to our already struggling economic, food, and ecological security.
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Nest Sweeper: Enhanced Asian Hornet Bait Station

Our animation does a pretty good job of explaining how it all works, but here is a summary.

Pollenize has developed Nest Sweeper, a device that will help monitor the spread of AH. Unlike conventional bait stations, Nest Sweeper employs a vaporised dispersal method, allowing the hornet attractant to be carried on the wind. This innovative approach significantly increases the potential visitation of AH to the station, making it a game-changer for early detection and monitoring.

Each Nest Sweeper device features Pollenize branding, complete with essential information for efficient AH identification, along with a QR code to direct users to the Nest Sweeper app. 

We want to equip as many groups as possible with on of our Nest Sweepers , this includes beekeepers, Asian Hornet Action Teams (AHAT), and wildlife organisations. 

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Engaging more individuals in citizen science to capture and document evidence of AH presence enhances our ability to comprehensively understand the species' distribution across the country. This, in turn, facilitates government officials in allocating their time and resources to verify sightings effectively.

How Does Nest Sweeper Work?1705671532_screenshot_2024-01-18_104317.png

If AH are present in an area, it could take just minutes to entice them to the device when turned on. Upon visitation, the AH will become focused on feeding from the wick diverting its attention away from you. In our experience, AH in this state are not aggressive and do not display defensive behaviour. Therefore, capturing clear footage with your phone is possible, but it's important to exercise caution and use common sense. There will be a step-by-step guide that will come with your Nest Sweeper on how to use it and the process of reporting.  

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Nest Sweeper App

1710166018_screenshot_2024-03-11_at_14.05.25.pngThis app is being built by Capgemini - the IT services provider for DEFRA.
The Nest Sweeper app uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology to confirm AH sightings effectively. When you use the Nest Sweeper device together with the app, both citizen scientists and beekeepers can enhance our collective ability to monitor and report these sightings.

The app will also send verified sightings straight to the National Bee Unit 

 The Nest Sweeper App will include:

  • An AI detection model to confirm and support your identification of Asian Hornets (AH).
  • The option to create a profile, allowing you to track and showcase your citizen science efforts by keeping a score of how many AH you've identified.
  • Geolocation features to help relevant authorities allocate resources efficiently and respond promptly to your sightings.
  • An image database for further research, enabling the tracking of AH nests using an AI object-tracking model.
  • GDPR Compliant

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    When can you expect your Nest Sweeper / FAQ?

  • We expect to get your Nest Sweeper to you by mid-late June at the latest.
  • If you're not familiar with Crowdfunding, there is typically a time from when the CF is funded and when the item is received, as funds are more than often used to purchase the reward required.
  • The Nest Sweeper app will be ready to use when you receive your Nest Sweeper product

    Why Does Pollinator Conservation Matter?

A recent Environment Agency Study shows 41% of Englands native flora and fauna species have considerably decreased since 1970, with 15% at serious risk of extinction. Pollinators are key to our food supply, without them, we can expect to see more empty shelves in our supermarkets.
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Thanks for taking the time to read over our project!1710168900_compressed_ah.png

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£250 or more

Nest Sweeper 10X (I'm a beekeeper-I want one!)

For each Nest Sweeper purchased, Aviva matches the funds, enabling us to donate one free (20X in total). Your purchase doubles the impact: you receive a Nest Sweeper, and a beekeeper or beekeeping association, at no extra cost. Join us in this impactful initiative. Please tell us the local Beekeeping Association you would like this to go to in the comment section or email us directly - [email protected]

£30 or more

Nest Sweeper 1X (I'm a beekeeper-I want one!)

For each Nest Sweeper purchased, Aviva matches the funds, enabling us to donate one free (2X in total). Your purchase doubles the impact: you receive a Nest Sweeper, and a beekeeper or beekeeping association, at no extra cost. Join us in this impactful initiative. Please tell us the local Beekeeping Association you would like this to go to in the comment section or email us directly - [email protected]

£30 or more

Nest Sweeper 1X (Sponsor a Nest Sweeper)

For each Nest Sweeper purchased, Aviva matches the funds, enabling us to donate one free (2X in total). Your purchase doubles the impact: you receive a Nest Sweeper, and a beekeeper or beekeeping association, at no extra cost. Join us in this impactful initiative. Please tell us the local Beekeeping Association you would like this to go to in the comment section or email us directly - [email protected]

£150 or more

Nest Sweeper 5X (I'm a beekeeper-I want one!)

For each Nest Sweeper purchased, Aviva matches the funds, enabling us to donate one free (10X in total). Your purchase doubles the impact: you receive a Nest Sweeper, and a beekeeper or beekeeping association, at no extra cost. Join us in this impactful initiative. Please tell us the local Beekeeping Association you would like this to go to in the comment section or email us directly - [email protected]


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