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James @ Hivesite

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About James @ Hivesite

  • Rank
    Nu Bee


  • Beekeeping Experience
    Equipment Supplier


  • Location
    Horotiu & Auckland

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  1. Just a quick project status update for anyone interested. We are currently preparing 3x units of our 2nd Prototype, to deploy in Spring.
  2. A large scale study being conducted in the US to measure the viral load before and after thermal treatment Project Thermal Viral – Center For Honeybee Research CENTERFORHONEYBEERESEARCH.ORG
  3. Hi @john berry & @Markypoo, Thanks for spuring my research along, seems there is a lot going on with Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH), a lot of businesses breeding VSH Queens, even here in NZ, and it is interesting to think about how the bees behaviors could be manipulated for their and our benefit (Something we have to also be aware with thermal) I do wonder about the genetic vs learned/environmental aspect to the colonies behavior, so just introducing a VSH Queen to an existing colony, may or may not have the desired effect, and splitting colonies with an artificially inseminated Queen would surely be the best way, until a saturation point is reached? Ultimately could be the holy grail, but needs good support from the industry. Previous to your prodding the only thing I had seen were the in hive grooming aids, and this documentary “Secrets of the Hive” on TV3 back in November, which had a section on breeding gentle but Varroa killing, Africanized bees, as I recall, they struggled to get the balance right, and ultimately were unsuccessful. There is a bit of it here: https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/videos/this-tiny-mite-is-decimating-honey-bee-populations/44917 -James
  4. Hi @NatureAlley, Firstly just want to acknowledge your efforts, and that is some impressive engineering to get 0.3C variation. Am I right in assuming you used this product as the inspiration?: https://www.varroa-controller.com/ We also haven't come across many studies related to resistance to high temperature. Have you read these papers? Heat shock proteins in Varroa destructor exposed to heat stress and in-hive acaricides (we have reviewed the full text, and yes HSP70 response increases with elevated temperatures, they don't really conclude much except more studies need to be done, and that seasonal temperature fluctuations should be considered to maximize the effect of acaricides and minimize costs and residues of controlling mites. They reference this research in moths https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4314281/ that talks about the Trade-off between thermal tolerance and insecticide resistance, which if applicable to Varroa, could mean in the future thermal and minimal pesticide could work well in tandem. Insect Heat Shock Proteins During Stress and Diapause (Not arachnids) We do hope to get an entomologist involved at some point (after we have ascertained product market fit), it's unclear to me whether the HSP70 increase is permanent response from thermal shock, or just a rapid survival process that dissipates, and whether the mutation (sorry probably not the right word for it) gets transferred to some/all subsequent generation Varroa. You have got me thinking about how answering some of these hypothesis, could be a good research project for one of our Universities, especially given the unique NZ industry and product, although I also wouldn't be surprised if we start to see more papers flowing in from international establishments. Your highlight about running a relevant test is something in the back of our minds as well, as you know it needs to be done at scale, with good controls, and possibly blind (unbiased), to get truly representative data. Which is another issue with the thermal treatment products we have seen, generally more anecdotal than scientific. Thanks for your input and sharing your experience and concerns. -James
  5. Hi @john berry We did come across a patent application for Varroa detection and laser removal when we first started researching, and a quick search just now reveals some research and a couple of organizations working on this concept: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313808393_Basic_algorithms_for_bee_hive_monitoring_and_laser-based_mite_control Combplex V-Eliminator The bee drafter idea is an interesting idea. Without having thought about it too much I guess you would still have to pesticide treat with the above options as some mites would slip through, and the population would grow, but it maybe better than just leaving strips in almost constantly, as I believe is beginning to happen, just prevent reinfection from neighboring hives. Incidentally we started out using machine vision to detect and identify Varroa mites (on the bottom of the hive not on the bees themselves) as a way of doing a count, to indicate whether treatment was required, before pivoting to how to treat. We were able to successfully to identify Varroa at a reasonable accuracy, however the big issue is you are dealing with bees who may like to polish the camera lenses, or more likely cover them in propolis, etc. However we didn't go down the path of looking for lens coatings to mitigate the environmental issues before pivoting, and likely there are some solutions.
  6. Hi @tommy dave, thanks again for your taking the time to share your thoughts, it is really appreciated. Is it fair to say then that your skepticism is more about the implementation of thermal treatment more so than the science? If the science is also a sticking point, there are white papers and articles both for and against thermal treatment that we have collected, and happy to share. It is also our experience that the products historically or currently available are lacking in terms of usability, cost, or simply poor design that isn't conducive to efficient beekeeping. Part of that can be attributed to timing and technology availability, now helping our cause: The rapid evolution of IOT hardware, cloud computing, and satellite short burst data communications Advances in Lithium Ion Battery capacity, and reducing costs Advances in Solar Cell efficiency and reducing costs Machine Learning (AI) Incidentally one solution at least, the Might Mite Killer, despite several short comings, including possibly dubious marketing tactics, setup, efficiency, and labour, does seem to be getting a user base, which is inspiring some confidence. A bit about us: We are a team of 4, currently self funding, but yes looking for funding, in the first instance so that a fully fledged research trial can be done with support from a research institution, starting in spring. One of us is a hobbyist beekeeper of 3 years and SME owner. Three of us are Engineers who have worked together for more than 14 years with a range of disciplines, mechanical, software, simulation, optics, and thermal design, etc. Prior to this endeavor we were working in the user experience group for a large global automotive company (Delphi / Aptiv). So we take user experience and reliability seriously. It is a complex biological and mechanical challenge to solve, and we want to do it in a transparent and ethical manner, otherwise we can be added to the list of fools. Thanks James
  7. Thanks for your insight @CraBee & @john berry, If I understand correctly to run 800 hives per keeper still means additional labour from support staff to achieve this, so there is some equivalency that could be derived in terms of how MPI states the situation, however it is possibly more in the realm of 800 to ~640. Could there be another way of looking at it, for example if you work each hive on a 4 week rotation, if Varroa wasn't an issue could this be extended to say a 5 week rotation, or unlikely? In your personal enterprises do you do Varroa counts, or just do the biannual treatments? @CraBee do the treatment costs you estimate, include all labour/costs (planning, purchasing, making (if applicable), inspections/counts, application, removal, safe disposal, etc) It's certainly proving difficult to put a $ value on what Varroa costs when you include variables such as the drag on honey production from the Varroa themselves or the treatments, and colony collapse. Thanks James
  8. Hi Sailabee, the heating unit is on the base, the purpose of the Queen Excluder is to help minimize the convection and conduction of heat into the honey super(s), maintaining a consistent temperature range in the brood box. We are also cognizant, that although the treatments are only relatively short, we do not want to unduly raise the Honey HMF levels. Hi Bron, Wax that is in contact with the heating unit on the base will melt during a treatment and flow off the heater. The bees do a reasonable job keeping the base clean so propolis and other debris, shouldn't be much of an issue. I'm not sure if this entirely answers your question? Below is a photo taken by our integrated camera in our first thermal treatment prototype 4 months after installation. None taken @tommy dave, we are trying to build a reasonable understanding of how beekeepers feel about thermal treatment, so getting the full spectrum is expected. If you do have any more details about what influenced your perspective, even if anecdotal, be glad to hear it.
  9. Hi Peter, Thanks for your comments, and sorry about the poll (this is my first foray into crafting one), interested to dive a bit deeper on what you mean by "various success". Do you think treating more regularly would be beneficial? Regarding the hourly rate for a hobby beekeeper, that's a great question, referencing a few sources, I believe $25 / hour is reasonable, when comparing to industry. https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/labour-market-statistics-income-june-2019-quarter https://www.careers.govt.nz/jobs-database/farming-fishing-forestry-and-mining/agriculture-horticulture/beekeeper/about-the-job https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/34329/direct If you haven't already check out the brief introduction to what we are developing at Hivesite, and happy to give more insight if you are interested. - James
  10. Thanks for your feedback @Markypoo, looks like I can't go back and edit the poll, so we will assume that when anyone selects $30 it will include less than. We are starting from a pretty vague understanding from MPI which indicated that before Varroa introduction into NZ beekeepers could manage 800 hives vs 350 now. https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/34329/direct Incidentally are you vaporizing, making your own strips with glycerin or other? Thanks James
  11. 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
  12. 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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