Product / ServiceBEGA B HONEY
CategoryA02. Applied Innovation
Idea Creation THINKERBELL Melbourne, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Adam Ferrier Thinkerbell Strategy
Ben Couzens Thinkerbell Creative
Tom Wenborn Thinkerbell Creative
Nikia Shepherd Thinkerbell Strategy
Tarah Miller Thinkerbell Earned
Rosie Burke Thinkerbell Account Service
Sam Butcher Thinkerbell Strategy
Cale Berry Thinkerbell Creative
Katie Ayling Thinkerbell Production
Lars Oleson Xailient Production
Shivy Yohanandan Xailient Production
Joel Kuperholtz Vimana Production
Vignesh Murana Vimana Production
Dillon Bailey Honest Fox Production
Linda Bailey Honest Fox Production
Nadine Berrange Thinkerbell Production
Adam McNamara Bega Foods Executive General Manager
Matt Gray Bega Foods Head of Marketing
Hannah Saliba Bega Foods Brands Communication & PR Manager
Jacqui Roth Bega Foods Marketing Manager Spreads
Paige Bonnici Bega Foods Brands Manager – Sweet Spreads
Keri Morrison Bega Foods Brand Manager
Michelle Nguyen Bega Foods Assistant Brand Manager
James Coleman Bega Foods Marketing Manager, Digital and Communications

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

The Varroa mite has crippled bee colonies around the world. Currently Australia is the only inhabited continent on earth without Varroa and thus needed a very specific tailored solution. The Purple Hive Project was built from the ground up taking into account Australian conditions, right down to the way Australian bees behave. Due to the remoteness of sentinel hive locations, the device needed to be self contained (powered by solar) and powerful enough to compute the complex algorithm without using high amounts of data.


As Australia is the only continent on the planet without Varroa Mite, there has never been a need for similar technology. The Purple Hive Project needed to be built from the ground up, for Australian conditions and Australian bees. It also needed to be able to do all computing at the device so as to save power as the device is powered by solar.

Describe the idea

Through workshops, stakeholder interviews and field research we identified the biggest threat facing Australian bees… Varroa mite. The global bee industry is under threat from a small yet devastating parasite, the Varroa Mite, which is decimating 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 Mite, and to keep it that way the Australian Government invests millions of dollars into a manual, time consuming monitoring at high risk ports around the country.

What were the key dates in the development process?

Concept approval - September 2019 Proof of concept - March 2020 Prototype production - April 2020 New Zealand Field Test - June 2020 Australian Field Test - August 2020 Minimum Viable Product delivery - September 2020 Ongoing testing with Plant Health New Zealand - November - Current Adoption by Department of Agriculture - January 2021

Describe the innovation / technology

Over 2 years we developed The Purple Hive Project, a solar powered beehive that uses A.I computer vision to detect Varroa Mite without the need for manual checks. The hive works by scanning each individual bee that enters the hive. The algorithm can tell the difference between a healthy bee and a bee carrying the microscopic Varroa Mite. If a mite is found an alert is sent to the relevant authority and the outbreak can be immediately contained. A single prototype was created as a proof of concept before commencing production on 8 hives to be placed around the country at high-risk ports.

Describe the expectations / outcome

The Purple Hive Project immediately garnered international attention with consumers and the bee industry. It drove B Honey from 0 to 10% market share without spending a dollar on marketing.


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