Bega (Cheese) have entered the honey market and their foray into honey production has been accompanied with high tech mite surveillance that's a whole lot more sophisticated than that lame intro above. Bega are companion planting their new B honey business with the launch of the Purple Hive Project, an initiative designed to protect honey bees from the threat of the destructive Varroa mite.
The potential of this project is jaw dropping and it should be headlining across the internet and traditional media. Right now Varroa mite is a global threat to bee populations and this project takes what has been a manual, one bee observation at a time fight, into automated detection. The Bega tech impacts bee population survival and the lives of everyone of us by the early detection of the bee killing Varroa mite using surveillance and artificial intelligence.
Varroa mite has crippled bee colonies around the world since the parasitic mite has spread from its native host, the Asian honey bee, to the naïve European honey bee used commercially for pollination and honey production around the globe. The mites tend to attach themselves to honey bees and honey bee brood, not only causing problems through its disruption of colonies but also by transmitting viruses amongst the bees.
Varroa mite isn't widespread in Australia, but there have been incidents like a recent one in Queensland where Biosecurity Queensland are currently responding to a new incursion of varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni) found on a nest of feral Asian honey bees in Townsville on 28 April 2020.
Bega's vision is for the Purple Hive Project to help to protect Australia from the Varroa mite by placing Purple Hives at high risk entry points around Australia to assist with early detection and monitoring. The hope is to ensure that the honey industry, as well as honey bee pollination dependent industries, are viable for generations to come.
The Purple Hive project was born when Bega were developing B honey and realised the size of the threat from the mite. The Purple Hive Project uses 360-degree camera technology and solar-powered artificial intelligence-based device to detect the Varroa mite. The device works in real-time to detect and prevent its spread. Bega says:
"IT WAS CLEAR TO US THAT WE NEEDED TO INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION TO SUPPORT THE FUTURE OF OUR HONEY BEES, AUSTRALIAN BEEKEEPERS, AND IN TURN, AUSTRALIAN AGRICULTURE."
B honey is 100 percent pure Australian honey from two sources. Red Gum honey from the Murray River region and Yellow Gum honey from the Victorian Goldfields region. They are both single source, which provides distinctive flavours, colours and aromas.