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.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/98

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in theGuardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


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