Using Heat to Save the Bees
In most countries honey bees are the main pollinator of crops such as apples, oilseed rape and almonds. Therefore in Europe, bees are regarded as the third most important domesticated animal after cattle and pigs. But Western honey bees are in danger: American and European beekeepers have been reporting massive bee losses for several years. One of the main causes is the Varroa mite, a 1.6 mm small parasite that sucks the blood from both the adults and developing brood, especially drone brood. This weakens the bees and shortens their life. The emerging brood may be deformed with missing wings or legs. In addition to that, Varroa also transmits numerous viruses. Untreated Varroa infestations will get worse over time and may kill entire colonies.
Until now, beekeepers treated their bees chemically, which unfortunately also damages the bees and has a negative impact on the beekeeper’s health. In addition to that, if applied incorrectly, the chemicals can end up in the honey we eat.
„I was inspired by my father to develop our product.“ – Pascal Brunner
Vatorex uses the different heat tolerance of mites and bees to solve the problem. With a heating wire embedded directly into the brood combs, the bee brood is heated, which kills the mite. The solar-powered system heats one brood comb at a time and the treatment is repeated automatically every 16 days during the beekeeping season. This treatment results in 31 percent improved development of the colony, kills 95 percent of the varroa mite per treatment and the honey yield is significantly higher.
In conversations with customers, the founders realized that beyond solving the Varroa mite problem, there is value to deliver in the management and monitoring of beehives. Vatorex develops products towards the digitalisation of beekeeping. With its portfolio of products, Vatorex wants to contribute to better beekeeping and strives to attract a new generation of beekeepers, recognizing that bees are essential to life on this planet.