Semi-Supervised Audio Representation Learning for Modeling Beehive Strengths

by   Tony Zhang, et al.

Honey bees are critical to our ecosystem and food security as a pollinator, contributing 35 beekeeping is exclusively dependent on human labor and experience-derived heuristics, while requiring frequent human checkups to ensure the colony is healthy, which can disrupt the colony. Increasingly, pollinator populations are declining due to threats from climate change, pests, environmental toxicity, making their management even more critical than ever before in order to ensure sustained global food security. To start addressing this pressing challenge, we developed an integrated hardware sensing system for beehive monitoring through audio and environment measurements, and a hierarchical semi-supervised deep learning model, composed of an audio modeling module and a predictor, to model the strength of beehives. The model is trained jointly on audio reconstruction and prediction losses based on human inspections, in order to model both low-level audio features and circadian temporal dynamics. We show that this model performs well despite limited labels, and can learn an audio embedding that is useful for characterizing different sound profiles of beehives. This is the first instance to our knowledge of applying audio-based deep learning to model beehives and population size in an observational setting across a large number of hives.


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