urban beehive combats colony collapse with integrated scanner system
urban beehive combats colony collapse with integrated scanner system urban beehive combats colony collapse with integrated scanner system
sep 01, 2015

urban beehive combats colony collapse with integrated scanner system

urban beehive combats colony collapse with integrated scanner system
all visuals courtesy of melissa acker




german industrial designer melissa acker offers ‘maja’, an urban beehive concept as contribution to the bee-death discourse. otherwise known as colony collapse disorder, the mass die-out of bees is an unprecedented issue with massive implications and consequences for global food supply. there are many causes responsible for population loss, with one of the greatest being a microscopic mite called the varroa.

maja urban beehive concept melissa acker designboom
‘maja’ rooftop placement




‘maja’ features an integrated scanner that is able to locate the mite on bees as they pass through a canal into or out of the unit. data is stored and simultaneously uploaded into the cloud, which can be accessed at any point in time by the hive’s owner via app. such a detail requires energy — luckily, the hanging home is filled to the brim with tiny generators. using piezo-electricity, aka usable energy produced by sound waves that occur from wing-beating and the bee ‘waggle dance’, ‘maja’ is capable of functioning 100% off-grid.

maja urban beehive concept melissa acker designboom
‘maja’ beehive




the hive is made to be attached to trees, especially urban green areas and parks, walls, or rooftops. the ball-like shape is derived from the form of natural honeycomb, brood nest, and winter cluster orientations with an optimal relation between surface and volume. no cold gaps are able to occur because of the form, and it also significantly lowers the risk of mold formation.

exploded view




frames for honey harvesting are located in the back of the unit, allowing bees to build up their stocks as far from the entrance as possible. some exterior panels are removable, through which they can be inspected by the beekeeper or responsible party. panels are bright red (bees see as black) giving ‘maja’ a stylistic touch at no harm to neither human nor bee. in addition, internal surfaces — including the entrance hole — are nano coated to prevent propolis goop buildup. a creamy white was chosen as an accent color, mirroring the bees’ preferred blossom palette, and to help blend in with whatever setting it’s placed within.

maja urban beehive concept melissa acker designboom
glass structure of viewing panels

in winter, honey production units are replaced by a special feed frame for supplementary nutrition

viewing panel detail: recessed grip for opening

maja urban beehive concept melissa acker designboom
front view


detail: hive-entrance and recessed grips of viewing panels

maja urban beehive concept melissa acker designboom
bee entering the hive through the flight hole containing the 3D-varroa-scan

a camera detects varroa-mites by identifying their distinct oval shape and size



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: nick brink | designboom 

  • What a great idea!!! I wonder if the scanning camera can also be fitted to a Langstroth hive?
    The design is also very nice, but I think the bees will goop it up with propolis very quickly, and will build comb anywhere they want inside.

    trimtab21 says:
  • Thank you!
    To counteract the propolis cementing the surfaces of the viewing panels, and the hive-entrance as well, are supposed to be nano-coated. Regarding your second concern: the bees are actually supposed to build their combs as they want to, the visualizations only show a possible, quite likely way of appearance (“[..] the ball-like shape is derived from the form of natural honeycomb [..]”). Letting the bees raise natural honeycombs is in fact part of the concept, which primarily is to conduce bee-health due to complying with species-appropriate beekeeping!

    Melissa Acker says:
  • Fabulous use of high tech to combat this awful problem! Bravo!

    Roy De Vos says:
  • This seems an incredible well thought out design. Is this still in concept stage or is it in production yet? I have been a beekeeper in Australia for 25 years and am very interested in this design. Are you aware of the FlowHive?

    Brian Woodward says:
  • Thanks, nice to hear from an experienced beekeeper.
    It is still in concept stage, I am still studying Industrial Design and it was a semesterproject of mine.
    I know the FlowHive, it actually is similar to “MAJA” in some points, but my concept is more seeking for health of the bees and less designed for honey harvesting. Honey is a nice extra but there would not be harvested much of it because of the only little amount of frames inserted in the back of the hive. The main body of the hive is thought to be completely frameless so that the bees can built natural combs as they want to.

    Melissa Acker says:

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