CINAT and Engeenuity S.A obtained a 50% reduction of Varroa infestation in beehives
Beehives all over the World are infested with a parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, causing every year millions in losses for beekeepers. Beekeepers commonly use chemical products to combat this plague, but these loose efficiency over time, when the mites become resistant. Biological control is possible but the methods both require much work or lack efficiency and are therefore not feasible for beekeepers with most hives.
In September the company Engeenuity S.A., established at the City of Knowledge International Technopark, together with the Center for Tropical Bee Research (CINAT) of the Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica, started research to combat Varroa destructor in infested beehives in a natural non toxic way, using a new and environmental responsible technology, APSETM, based on Biofotonics and BioFotoSonics. This technique was developed by Engeenuity S.A. and provided to scientists of CINAT, and consists of portable devices that emit low intensity vibrations and infrared pulses, which inhibit the reproduction of harmful microorganisms.
Initially, nine bee colonies were fed every week for one month with 50% sugar syrup prepared with water previously treated with the APSETM technology, or with the devices applied directly on top of the hives, and the level of infestation with Varroa compared with control hives of the same apiary that received the same management, but were fed with syrup without treated water. After four weeks the level of infestation of Varroa in the hives fed with the APSETM treated water had diminished by nearly 50%, whereas the control hives showed no reduction in the population of the mites.
Based on the promising preliminary results, the scientists Dr. Johan van Veen, Dr. Rafael Calderón and M.Sc. Fernando Ramírez, started a second essay with eight hives, using another method of application of the same technology by Engeenuity S.A., and what called our intention is how vigorous and healthy the bees look if compared to the bees of the control hives. We have the strong impression that the treatment has a positive effect on the immune system of the bees worthy of more profound studies.
In the next months we expect to be able to develop a natural, innocuous, effective and economic method to combat the Varroa destructor mite in beehives, and in this way benefit beekeeping worldwide. The benefits of applying an innocuous method would have a great impact on the quality of honey, pollen and other products of the hive. It would also greatly reduce the loss of beehives through Varroa and associated diseases, by which beekeeping would benefit with millions of dollars for not having to replace lost hives, and agriculture, – and with that our food security -, would benefit with a better pollination service, resulting in higher production.
Simultaneously, CINAT and Engeenuity S.A., are working together to obtain similar results for the bee disease caused by Nosema ceranae, which affects many bee colonies, and have developed prototypes to diminish the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder that occurs in beehives.