Entrepreneurs create effective method against bee harming pest

November 18, 2014, Investigación y Desarrollo

A group of entrepreneurs in Veracruz have designed a "smart" system to contain larvae growth of the mite Varroa destructor among the bee population, which reduces the production of honey by as much as 50 percent when it invades the hives.

The technology involves the application of a formula based on thymol and other substances through an automated steam spray device that removes Varroa destructor larvae from the hives. This offers an integral solution to beekeepers, and thus to the entire food chain, since more than half of current agricultural products depend on pollination by bees.

According to the biologist Erik Leon Guevara, who has led this project for several years, the Varroa destructor pest severely affects the population of bees worldwide causing various types of diseases among insects. This led him to formulate a product to control the pest.

"The first thing we did was to develop a product based on thymol, a substance contained in natural products such as thyme, which has proved efficient in controlling the mite (Varroa)," says Leon Guevara.

He explained that the thymol pill was developed during his professional studies at the Universidad Veracruzana (UV), and now the formula is in the process of being patented.

However, one of the problems presented by beekeepers who used thymol is that inadequate dosing produced negative effects on bees, so the team of entrepreneurs developed an automated sprinkler steam system.

The system is a kind of container. At the top is a funnel where the thymol tablet is placed by the beekeeper; in its interior is a heating plate automatically controlled by a temperature sensor that evaporates the tablet. Fnally, by means of a fan, the formula is dispersed into the hive.

The Mexican is currently working on product improvement, designing image-based software that automatically detects the presence of Varroa larvae inside the hive, which aims to fully automate the process of detecting and eliminating the pathogen.

Explore further: Battle against bee-blood-eating parasite

Related Stories

Battle against bee-blood-eating parasite

November 25, 2013

Mexico is one of the top five bee producing countries worldwide and the second in exportation. However, the beekeepers can see their production affected by the attack of a parasite, the Varroa acari, which feeds on hemolymph ...

Parasite-free honey bees enable study of bee health

July 1, 2014

An international team of researchers has discovered honey bee colonies in Newfoundland, Canada, that are free of the invasive parasites that affect honey bees elsewhere in the world. The populations offer a unique opportunity ...

Of bees, mites, and viruses

August 21, 2014

Honeybee colonies are dying at alarming rates worldwide. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain their decline, but the exact cause—and how bees can be saved—remains unclear. An article published on August ...

Honey bees fight back against Varroa

September 27, 2012

The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is a major contributor to the recent mysterious death of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology finds that specific ...

Fungus Foot Baths Could Save Bees

July 28, 2008

One of the biggest world wide threats to honey bees, the varroa mite, could soon be about to meet its nemesis. Researchers at the University of Warwick are examining naturally occurring fungi that kill the varroa mite. They ...

Research confirms Varroa mite bad news for Aussie bees

June 25, 2012

The worst fears of Australia's honeybee industry have been realised, with new research confirming that Australian honeybees are highly susceptible to a pest that hasn't yet reached our shores but will potentially devastate ...

Recommended for you

Semimetals are high conductors

March 18, 2019

Researchers in China and at UC Davis have measured high conductivity in very thin layers of niobium arsenide, a type of material called a Weyl semimetal. The material has about three times the conductivity of copper at room ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.