Pilot trial update
The last year has been the most energized, focused, and dare I say, craziest in the history of our company. What a ride it has been. This traction comes after we made the strategic decision to focus on the commercial beekeeping sector. Since taking this route, the reception from researchers, investors, government agencies and beekeepers has been incredibly positive, which has only fuelled our momentum.
With large scale trials commencing in Alberta thanks to our collaboration with the Alberta Beekeepers Commission (ABC) and Results Driven Agricultural Research (RDAR), this pivot has truly been paying off. This month Vatorex CEO Pascal Brunner and new Head of Product Karol Pelzner, touched down in Canada to meet up with trial clients in preparation for the season.
Getting the frames ready
Good times on a hive inspection together with Jeremy Olthof from Tees Bees Inc.
Our objective with the new frame and foundation design was to remove as much complexity as possible, make them more economical, and to make them stand up to the rigours of commercial beekeeping. To achieve this, we designed a plastic foundation with embedded heating wire and aluminium foil. This not only strengthens the foundation but enables more consistent and homogenous heat distribution. The addition of a temperature sensor also paves the way for improved regulation and efficiency against Varroa.
Our team faced the challenge of producing and shipping 3000 frames for the upcoming season. Happy to report that despite a small delay in customs, the frames and foundations arrived without any incidents.
On the ground
For our Canadian partners, another challenge lies ahead. This season has been particularly dry in Alberta, as evidenced by the wildfires ravaging the province. While our partners have thankfully not been directly impacted by this, it makes the drawing of frames and colony development particularly difficult. None the less, our trial partners have been busy readying the frames. Everyone involved has been incredibly generous with their time, energy, and expertise. Their feedback will no doubt be crucial to future developments. (Big thank you to Curtis, Dustin, Grace, Jeremy and Mike). Currently the frames are being placed in the hives and built by the bees to be ready for next season.
The next step will be the production of our intelligent brood chambers, and delivery in the early months of 2024. (More on this to come in the future). In the season 2024, there will be an assessment of our technology to control Varroa purely with heat treatment, under a commerial environment.
These scientific trials are the first time a hyperthermic Varroa treatment has been tested in a live, commercial setting. As such, the results have the potential to fundamentally change the industry and greatly impact honeybee colony survival. The Alberta Beekeepers Commission through its Technology Transfer Program (TTP) will be gathering data on Varroa levels, honey flow, colony development & survival, queen replacements and virus loads over the season. We cannot wait to share the results of these trials with you all.