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James @ Hivesite

Document Varroa Thermal Treatment Product Development

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Hi Everyone,


 I'm James from Hivesite, a startup company based in Auckland and Horotiu (where our test apiary is located).
We have been researching and developing a solution to treat varroa mite using thermal treatment inside beehives with autonomous control and monitoring.
Our solution is designed to be suitable for all beekeepers from hobbyists to commercial, our key differentiation from products already on the market is the ability to quickly install with existing Langstroth hives, then leave the solar and battery powered lid (1 per 4 hives) to perform the 1-2hr treatments up to every 3 weeks per hive (even during the honey flow) with no intervention by the beekeeper, hive data is regularly updated from the sensors to an online portal via satellite transceiver (1 per apiary).


We focus the heat (up to between 39C and 46C) in the brood-box using a special thermally insulating queen excluder, targeting the juvenile varroa, and breaking the lifecycle.


Optional scales can also be integrated into the base to allow even more data-driven, precision apiculture.


There are other features that our solution may enable, such as the possibility to stimulate the queen into laying in spring to rapidly increase forager numbers, gentle hive warming during extreme cold to reduce colony mortality, and allow organic honey production without chemicals.


We are designing the hardware to be robust and long term reliable (10yrs+) to withstand the rigors of the environment, handling, and transportation.


Currently we are seeking funding to assist with a field trial with many prototype units, to validate and provide comprehensive evidence based results, demonstrating our solution works for customers. so we are at the stage where we want to expand our network within the industry to help guide our development, and get honest feedback that what we are doing is recognized as of interest within the beekeeping community to help this process. Even negative feedback is of value to us.


We want to ensure we are creating something seen as bringing real value and cost savings to beekeepers.


A public MPI report tells us that since Varroa's introduction into New Zealand ~20 years ago the average number of hives a beekeeper can maintain has reduced from 800 to just 350 due to additional labour, testing and chemically treating hives, and therefore the annual cost of fighting varroa is around $100 per hive every year.
We are interested to know whether these figures align with your own experience.


Our website is still in development, so feel free to ask me anything in this forum, also if you wish to get updates on our progress please subscribe to our Newsletter at hivesite.co and hopefully through help from the nzbees community, a better way to combat varroa can be brought to fruition.


- James
 

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Posted (edited)

In talking to James this product is 18 months to market, so the discussions should be based around development, use and current costs to treat. Please try to keep on topic, this doesnt need to be an OA topic for instance. There is no pricing, as the product becomes available it can be listed in the marketplace.

Edited by yesbut
Fixed your spelling Boss. I'm sure you didn't mean procing.
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Thanks Grant,

 Appreciate you letting us get a bit of exposure, and feedback anyone is willing to provide, especially given the circumstances around Covid-19, impacting our ability to get to the Fieldays and the Apiculture conference.

I have just setup a quick poll, which we would be grateful for members input into

- James

Here is the most recent paper we have come across, from the University of Würzburg, Germany, which talks about the effect of short term thermal treatment on worker bee brood.

The treatment has a life-prolonging effect on worker bees without negative effects on foraging behavior. However, sucrose responsiveness is reduced after the treatment.

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s13592-020-00743-8.pdf

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