Client: Bega Foods
Title: The Purple Hive Project
Date Of Campaign: 16/07/2020
Background: In 2020, Bega Cheese Limited (Bega) entered the Honey market, working with Thinkerbell to co-create the product from the ground up. The result is B honey, a purpose led honey brand with the ambition to support honey sustainability and built off the platform “It all starts with a bee”.However, with the fragility of the world’s bee population well documented, Bega needed to understand, and protect, the very thing most vital to the future of the Honey industry - the bees. Further, with bees responsible for one in three mouthfuls of the food we eat, Bega recognised that creating a sustainable honey brand that gives back to the industry would ultimately assist with the stability of bee pollination dependent Australian food crops. Should Varroa destructor establish itself in Australia it’s estimated the healthy population of honey bees and the pollination services they provide could be reduced by 90-100%. The global bee industry is under threat from a small yet devastating parasite, Varroa destructor, which has decimated bee colonies around the world and is a leading cause of colony collapse disorder.Currently Australia is the only inhabited continent on earth without Varroa destructor, and to keep it that way the Australian Government, and the honeybee industry, invests millions of dollars into a manual and time consuming monitoring at high risk ports around the country. The manual Varroa destructor detection methods that are currently in place could result in a lag between the incursion and preventative measures that need to be put in place to stop Varroa destructor before it’s too late.
Idea: So to launch B honey and help futureproof the industry, Bega created the Purple Hive Project, an initiative to create the Purple Hive - a solar powered beehive that uses A.I computer vision to detect Varroa destructor incursions.The technology works by scanning each individual bee that enters the Purple Hive and its algorithm can tell the difference between a healthy bee and a bee carrying the microscopic Varroa destructor. If Varroa destructor is identified, an alert is sent to the relevant authority and the outbreak can be immediately quarantined.
Results: The Purple Hive Project is currently undergoing trials alongside a sentinel hive monitoring program at an Australian port – the sentinel hives are considered the frontline of defence against Varroa destructor. By automating the monitoring and detection the Purple Hive Project hopes to reduce management time and costs while increasing accuracy. B honey continues to explore collaboration opportunities with the government with the intention to roll out the Purple Hive Project at high risk locations across Australia.The innovation is funded by Bega with B honey the driving force behind the Purple Hive Project. The Purple Hive Project reflects Bega’s commitment to the goodness of the land – helping to protect Australia’s honey industry.