An Austrian engineering SME has developed an innovative and award-winning beekeeping product based on heattreatment (hyperthermia) to combat the Varroa mites in beecolonies, which is driving sustainable and chemical-free beekeeping forward. The Varroa mite is a parasite transmitting honeybee diseases and causing severe damages to colonies and losses to apiaries. It has a significant economic impact on the beekeeping industry, causing colony losses of over 25% in Central European countries. The agricultural sector is also adversely affected by losses, as most plants and agricultural crops are dependent on honeybees for pollination.
This device for hyperthermia is since 2010 in the market, and its principle of use is based on selectively targeting the reproducing Varroa mites in the capped bee brood. Heat treatment kills these mites by means of high temperature, and at the same time, the bee brood remains safe as it has a higher tolerance to heat than the Varroa mite. This is a completely different approach for the Varroa treatment, moving away from the traditional but ineffective use of objectionable chemicals inside the hives.
The machine automatically controls temperature and humidity in an exact way. Heat treatment can be safely and easily performed any time of the year, especially before the honey harvest, to control the Varroa. Moreover, the producer has developed a yearly working plan for beekeepers which clearly presents effective ways to increase honey yields and securing healthy honeybee colonies. This annual plan works with small and large apiaries.
The device is both rented and sold in Austria and various European countries (e.g., DE, IT, BE, CH, CZ, FR, SK), and is available in three sizes, with the option to customize for special frame sizes.
The Austrian SME is looking for partners for wider commercialization of the product through a commercial agreement with technical assistance. The patented technology can be made available for licensing and further customization. The company is also looking for project partners interested in capacity building, as well as on further implementation of the technology for integrated pest management and organic beekeeping. Ideal partners would be beekeeping technology providers, wholesalers, beekeeping organizations, and organizations active in the agri-food sector specializing in bee´s protection and health. Other interesting partners are veterinary authorities and veterinary education and training organizations, as well as research organizations interested to use hyperthermia.