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I just listened to Bee Culture/Kim Flotum podcast. Grow-NY has a competition with a million dollar prize. One of the finalists have invented a frame that zaps the mites on the bees. Very innovative and hopefully will work! There is too much info for me to post, so Listen to it, truly amazing. The first 10-15 min are slow.

http://www.beekeepingtodaypodcast.com/
 

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Thank you for posting, Cloverdale- this is an intriguing concept.

For those who have not listened yet, they get into the meat-and-potatoes of the 'mite laser' at about the 33 minute mark.
 

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Russ, why don't you give us all the executive summary version? You are very good at boiling down lengthy articles and providing the most salient points.
 

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Basically, a team of researchers are pursuing a $1MM prize in New York State to develop a mass-marketable laser that can be installed in the broodnest. The idea as I understood it was to install it transverse to the combs such that workers would pass through the laser when traveling through the communication holes in the comb. Not sure they outlined how to assure the holes line up all the way through the width of the box- maybe gilded foundation ;).

When a phoretic mite is detected, the laser will zap the bee, stunning it but killing the mite. They described it like listening to popcorn popping.

The current iteration is good for 1,000 zaps before requiring replacement.

It would also come with embedded weight, temperature and relative humidity information, partly because they noted that it is critical that the laser remain in the active broodnest- thus possibly requiring relocation throughout the season.

I didn't recall hearing a suggested MSRP but they did sound optimistic it would be the next best thing to sliced bread... but they are angling for a grant award.

Still they sounded pretty bullish that they are going to have a viable alternative to chemicals and heat treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They also mentioned it would kill tropilaelaps mites too, if they ever get into the US. Someone mentioned at the end how it would work with Dr Bromenshenks Bee Guru App.
 

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When a phoretic mite is detected, the laser will zap the bee, stunning it but killing the mite. They described it like listening to popcorn popping.
I would love to see how they detect a bug on a bug???
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Somehow it senses the color of the mite and the shininess of their bodies, which is why it will detect a trop. mite also.
 

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I have always wondered how some sort of similar contraption might work that would be a bug zapper of sorts in which the electric charge would be throttled down to the point where it would only aggravate the mite with enough of an electric "tingle" to cause her to fall off. One of the key problems with any such device is that mites love to burrow in, out of sight, between the body segments of a bee. Could be all any device like this might do would be to change the preference of where a mite would attach herself to a bee. Also, anything you put in a hive needs to somehow resist the bees natural inclination to propolize foreign objects.
 

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Good point, they did mention something about the heat; I liken it to doing a sugar roll where the mites detach from the bee because of the heat. As for propolizing the space, in their experiments they didn’t. You know how you can pop out the corner of new plastic foundation? That is where the thing or zapper is located. I do hope that it will work. And that it’s not too expensive.
 

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I'm a little skeptical on this one..... but maybe that's just me. The unit is contained in a frame though, so the travel holes are built in for the bees to traverse and the laser detects varroa as they're passing through the holes and if a mite is detected, they get zapped. Currently one hole in the corner of the frame. The model is based on killing one varroa every other day beginning in Spring, and this is supposedly enough to keep mite population below threshold.... also assuming one frame per hive is used.
 

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As I see it, the problem lies not with killing mites already in the hive - that can be achieved well enough with chemicals - it's re-infestation which causes the Varroa problem to persist ...

So - imo - the place for the laser head is at the hive entrance, and try to eliminate the little sods when they first arrive.
LJ
 

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I talked with one of the men working on this project at the Empire state honey producers meeting over the past weekend. They have 2 prototypes in use right now to start gathering data. The contraption would be an entire frame in shape. Running on D batteries. Seems interesting and i can't wait to hear about data down the road.

Aaron
 

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I just listened to Bee Culture/Kim Flotum podcast. Grow-NY has a competition with a million dollar prize. One of the finalists have invented a frame that zaps the mites on the bees. Very innovative and hopefully will work! There is too much info for me to post, so Listen to it, truly amazing. The first 10-15 min are slow.

http://www.beekeepingtodaypodcast.com/
I listened to the podcast yesterday and it is quite fascinating! I signed up on the CombPlex website to get updates. Will be great if this works but only time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I talked with one of the men working on this project at the Empire state honey producers meeting over the past weekend. They have 2 prototypes in use right now to start gathering data. The contraption would be an entire frame in shape. Running on D batteries. Seems interesting and i can't wait to hear about data down the road.

Aaron
Did they give you an approximate price for the frame and who would be funding this? Just curious. Also, it’s a deep frame, many hobbyist beekeepers are or have already transitioned to all mediums. And I agree with LittleJohn, an entrance zapper would work wonders.
 

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As I see it, the problem lies not with killing mites already in the hive - that can be achieved well enough with chemicals - it's re-infestation which causes the Varroa problem to persist ...

So - imo - the place for the laser head is at the hive entrance, and try to eliminate the little sods when they first arrive.

.
LJ
This is exactly it, I had the opportunity to talk to these people last weekend person they have a great idea but I think their application is flawed. I offered some great real beekeeping world advice I hope they listen. Truly this could put mite bombs as a thing of the past.
Clear the hive of mites first then prevent them from ever entering.
 

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I recognise there is real potential for poorly managed tf hives to be detrimental to treated hives. (Of course not all tf colonies are mite bombs....) I wonder if such an application at the entrance would possibly change some of the dialogue between those who treat and those who don't as there could be no threat of mite bombs to those with this contraption.... Interesting that we humans can zap a bug on a bug!
 

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Just an update, the laser frame didn't win the grand prize but got one of the smaller prizes at 250k.
 

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This is exactly it, I had the opportunity to talk to these people last weekend person they have a great idea but I think their application is flawed. I offered some great real beekeeping world advice I hope they listen. Truly this could put mite bombs as a thing of the past.
Clear the hive of mites first then prevent them from ever entering.
As I understand the application, the frame will need to always be located within (and periodically relocated to) the brood nest. It is designed to kill newly emerged mites on nurse bees.

We know from monitoring mites with alcohol washes and sugar rolls that we must use bees from the brood nest and not from the supers. We want nurse bees, not forager bees, because the mites are more prevalent on the nurse bees.

Since a nurse bee, from emergence, may not be passing through the entrance for 21 days, the mites will continually leave the nurse bees to reenter brood cells. They will never have the "opportunity" to be zapped at the door.

Placing the laser at the entrance of the hive could only be effective if your began with a mite population of zero and made certain that you had no other entrances (top entrance) to your hive. This could only be accomplished (at least with your existing hives) through chemical treatment. My understanding is that one of the goals of this project is to avoid chemical treatment. (Note: I use amitraz and OAV. This is not MY goal)

The application is currently designed as only a single laser on a single frame. If prolonged studies reveal that this does not keep mites in check, I would think the next logical step is to add more lasers to the brood nest, thereby eliminating more mites.
 
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