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Intelligent bee hive makes beekeeping easy

A self-monitoring hive that takes the hard work out of beekeeping could help reinvigorate the country’s declining honey bee population.

Mella - an urban beehive designed especially for novices - is the brainchild of Loughborough University Industrial Design and Technology student Ellie MacLeod.  

The hive reduces the risks for users by removing as much direct contact between the user and the bees to minimise the chances of being stung and make bee keeping easier and more appealing.

It has a built-in self-monitoring system that measures temperature and humidity and compares data to other local hives, as well as a microphone to record hive acoustics, enabling users to monitor the health and happiness of their bees via a mobile app – which also connects them to a virtual beekeeping community.

Mella’s innovative design means users can see their bees by ‘unwrapping’ it and looking through a clear plastic shell. A removable top section makes it safe and easy for keepers to collect the honey.

Ellie, who identified the need for an intelligent, easy-to-use hive in response to her family’s turbulent experience of beekeeping, said:

“Keeping bees is a difficult hobby for amateurs, but beekeepers are essential for helping to boost the number of honey bees in the UK following a massive decline over the last 20 years.

 “By making the process of keeping honey bees easier and removing the need for such specialist equipment or large open spaces, I want to make beekeeping more accessible for the next generation of bee keepers and attract more young people to the hobby.”

Ellie is exhibiting Mella this week at New Designers – the UK’s most important graduate design exhibition – and has just been announced as its New Designer of the Year runner up. She is one of 14 Loughborough Design School students to be showcasing their final year projects.

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