The Purple Hive Project Uses AI to Protect Bees from the Varroa Destructor

Bega has launched a campaign for a new honey product, B honey. Created with creative agency Thinkerbell, B honey is focused on the proposition ‘it all starts with a bee’, because, course, without our little friends buzzing about, there will be no honey.

With this in mind comes the launch of the ‘Purple Hive Project’, an innovation designed to try to ensure the viability of the Australian honey industry.

The Purple Hive Project is an AI-enabled, solar-powered hive capable of detecting the Varroa Destructor mite, a small yet devastating parasite that is behind the destruction of bee colonies around the world. The Mite is also known to transmit viruses amongst honeybees.

 
 

Currently, Australia is the only inhabited continent on earth without Varroa Destructor, and monitoring of the Mite is currently a painstakingly manual process.

“When we began to develop B honey, we realized the significant threat facing Australia’s honey industry,” said Adam McNamara, executive general manager, Bega Foods. “It was clear to us that we needed to invest in technology and innovation to support the future of our honeybees, Australian beekeepers, and in turn, Australian agriculture.”

The Purple Hive works by scanning each individual bee that enters the hive. The AI algorithm can tell the difference between a bee carrying the Mite and a bee without. If a Mite is detected, an alert is instantly sent which provides an opportunity to stop the spread of the Mite.

 
 

 

“It’s been inspiring to help a company like Bega walk-the-talk in terms of their commitment to protecting the goodness of the land,” said Tom Wenborn, executive creative tinker at Thinkerbell.

“We’ve been lucky enough to help build the B honey brand, and Purple Hive Project from the ground up and glad we’ve together found a meaningful way to help Bega protect the viability of the honey industry in Australia. Ensuring it was feasible, and getting it made has been a hugely collaborative effort working closely with Xailient, Vimana Tech, and Honest Fox. We’re really proud to see it live and running.”

“We are exceptionally proud of this work and working with Bega Foods though this amazing project has been hugely rewarding for the team,” said Margie Reid, CEO of Thinkerbell. “It’s great to work on a purpose-driven idea that not only expresses the brand, but also helps protect the industry for years to come.”

You can read more about the initiative at purplehiveproject.com.au or watch the ABC Landline segment here.

The B honey range is now available at Coles.

Credits

Bega Cheese Limited
Adam McNamara – Executive General Manager, Bega Foods
Matt Gray – Head of Marketing, Bega Foods
Keri Morrison – Brand Manager, Bega Foods
Michelle Nguyen – Assistant Brand Manager, Bega Foods
James Coleman – Marketing Manager – Digital & Communications, Bega Foods
Hannah Saliba – Brand Communications & PR Manager, Bega Foods

Thinkerbell
Cale Berry – Creative Tinker
Nikia Shepherd – Head Thinker
Rosie Burke – Thinker
Adam Ferrier – Chief Thinker
Sam Butcher – Insights Thinker
Tarah Miller – PR Thinker
Margie Reid – CEO
Ben Couzens – Chief Creative Tinker
Tom Wenborn – Executive Creative Tinker
Lee Miglino – Legal Liaison

With the assistance of
Xailient Pty Ltd
Vimana Tech Pty Ltd
Honest Fox Pty Ltd

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