The main cause of high bee losses is damage caused by the varroa mite and the viruses it transmits. Currently, the mite is being chemically controlled, but this also harms the bees. Furthermore, this treatment can only be applied after the honey harvest in late summer, when the mite infestation is already dangerously high. Heat treatment offers a promising alternative, but has so far not been able to establish itself due to lack of practicability.
The IP-protected system of the startup Vatorex protects against the mite during the whole breeding season fully automatically. It consists of a heating wire that is inserted into the honeycombs and specifically heats the infected bee brood. In this innovative project, the effectiveness is to be increased by optimising parameters to such an extent that the mite infestation can be kept below the damage threshold all year round.
As an independent research institute, FiBL evaluates the effectiveness and bee tolerance by means of year-round field trials and molecular genetic tests, with a view to seeking a recommendation from the bee health service at a later date if necessary.