- When and how is the Thermosolar Hive™ going to be sold?
- How does the Thermosolar Hive™ work?
- In what hive / frame sizes will the hives be produced?
- The Thermosolar Hive™ has two heating systems. When should they be used and why?
- Is it possible to control the temperature in the brood chamber during the thermotherapy and how?
- Can the thermotherapy harm the colony?
- Can the thermotherapy harm the comb?
- How can the Thermosolar Hive™ increase the temperature in the hive and even in sealed brood above 35 °C (95°F) when the bees start actively cooling the hive?
- Can the thermotherapy work even in a normal hive?
- How do thermosolar windows work? Couldn’t the bees in the hive overheat?
- Does the Thermosolar Hive™ have any negatives?
- What causes the fact that the bees in the Thermosolar Hive™ are faster during spring development?
- Does not the earlier spring development cause faster onset of swarming moods?
- How is it possible that honey harvest is higher in thermosolar hives?
- How is it possible that Thermosolar Hive™ can save winter supplies?
- When and how often can I carry out thermotherapy?
- What is the correct procedure of thermotherapy?
- The Thermosolar Hive™ exterminates all mites found on capped brood. But what the mites on the bees - do they survive?
- And what's with the mites that survive the treatment outside of the warmed brood chamber?
- Which of the mites are killed by thremosolar warming?
- What is the impact of a stable slight increase in temperatures over 35°C (95.9°F) on mites?
- Could the mite get resistant to heat due to thermotherapy?
- If I want to heal, what weather conditions are necessary for achieving therapeutic temperature for the required time?
- When should the thermotherapy not be used?
- What is the arrangement of the frames inside the hive with respect to the front wall with windows?
We have finished our successful crowdfunding campaign as the primary channel for international orders. However, we have just start to sell the hive through InDemand platform. You can visit it here. We welcome every support in our endeavour to save the bees. All news will be regularly posted on Facebook, Twitter and our web.
The Thermosolar Hive™ is a multiple super hive consisting of special parts that can, by using sunshine, warm the sealed brood in the brood chamber up to temperatures that eliminate Varroa Destructor mite. The thermosolar ceiling transforms the sunshine into heat that heats the brood chamber efficiently. In front wall of each box there is a supplementary thermosolar window that helps warming the hive during the thermotherapy and mainly, it increases long-term thermal well-being of the colony. During the thermotherapy both systems work together. The sunrays are transformed into heat waves that are emitted to the brood chamber. The heat is absorbed by the wax, reserves and the brood. Thanks to the thermally insulated supers and the thermal bottom, the heat is accumulated and retained for a period of time required to eliminate the Varroa mite; therefore the Varroa mite is exterminated directly in the capped brood.
Thermosolar Hive™ can be produced in almost any size of modern beehives consisting of supers. However, it is crucial that the height of the brood box is at least 17 cm (6 5/8 inches). For many reasons, however, we recommended that the height of the brood box is ideally greater than 20 cm (7 3/4 inches). For honey supers the height is not important; it is possible to use different heights of supers. Nonetheless, for technical reasons, low supers can not be equipped with a front window. That alone, however, is not essential during the thermal therapy, because the treatment is carried out without the honey supers mounted, only on the brood boxes.
The thermosolar window is in the front wall of each super. It should be covered with shades in hot summer days. Thanks to mild permanent heating, it increases the long-term thermal well-being of the colony, it speeds up the spring development by up to two weeks. It increases honey harvest and saves reserves in the winter. It serves as supportive heating system during the thermotherapy. The thermosolar ceiling is covered with thermally insulated roof for most of the time and is used only during thermotherapy. It allows increase of the temperature of the brood chamber to more than 40°C (104°F).
The Thermosolar Hive™ has two built-in thermometers with sensors. These sensors need to be put directly into the wax of one of the combs with capped brood in the brood chamber (first sensor under the upper bar, second sensor above the bottom bar, it is recommended to choose a comb in the middle of the brood chamber). The beekeeper needs to be present during the thermotherapy. Once the temperature of one of the sensors reaches 47°C (116.6°F) he/she places the roof back on the hive. This ends the active heating phase. The temperatures in the brood chamber equalize after the roof is put back. Thanks to mild permanent heating through the thermosolar windows and unique thermal insulation of the supers the temperatures remain above the healing minimum for at least two hours. After two hours the hive may be opened and aired.
No. The upper limit for thermotherapy is 47°C (116.6°F). The temperature might rise maximally by 1 – 2°C (1.8 – 3.6°F) for a few minutes after the roof is put back. The treatment must be carried out without the queen excluder. The radius of the healing temperatures is about 40 cm (15.7 in). The adult bees have the chance to move to the bottom box, bottom board or to leave the hive. Relative humidity of the air decreases during the heating; the bees tolerate the dry air easily. The house bees withstand the higher temperatures easily as well, they remain on the heated brood during the whole therapy (please see the videos). The brood remains intact, healthy bees do hatch even at 50°C (122°F). It is not recommended to exceed the healing temperatures (40 – 47°C, 104 – 116.6°F), nor the duration of the treatment (2,5 hours).
Wax melts at temperatures about 65°C (149°F). Temperatures never reach such levels during the thermotherapy. At about 50°C (122°F) the wax loses its firmness. Such temperatures are not reached during the thermotherapy either, however, we recommend being cautious in case of heavily overloaded frames. If such frames are not wired or are wired vertically they could potentially lose coherence. Therefore we recommend horizontal wiring of the frames, which protects the comb. It is not recommended to have virgin comb in the brood chamber either, especially not one heavily overloaded with reserves. We have carried out multiple tests with temperatures increased above the recommended limit – the comb always remained intact with the above mentioned conditions kept.
If the heating performance of the hive is greater than the cooling ability of the bees, the temperature increases. The hive is constructed to overcome the cooling ability of the bees and to reach the required healing temperatures. The bees can ventilate hot air but not the heat waves that the Thermosolar Hive™ emits into the brood chamber. Once the temperature reaches above 40°C (104°F) most of the bees move to the bottom of the hive. Only the house bees stay o the combs of the heated brood chamber. The house bees tolerate the higher temperatures easily. The house bees guarantee the necessary humidity of the brood during the thermosolar treatment. Therefore the brood does not dry and it is not necessary to equip the hive with any mechanism to increase the air humidity.
Unfortunately it can not. Thermosolar Hive™ is adapted to make it possible to achieve and maintain the desired temperatures and monitor the temperatures at the same time. Each super has a special insulation, thermosolar ceiling and windows contain special thermo-active colors that allow efficient transformation of light into heat. If the thermosolar ceiling was mounted on a common hive, treatment temperatures would never be reached.
Honey bees warm their brood to 34°C. This temperature is maintained artificially in the brood, using heating-bees that get inside the cells and by vibrating their chest muscles they warm the surrounding cells with the brood. Thermosolar windows increase the temperature of the brood chamber spontaneously and in the long term, without the help of the beekeeper. Such long-term heating allows more free bees for nectar flow, because they do not need to heat the brood. Honey supplies are also saved because the bees that heat the brood consume honey to have the energy for vibrating muscles. The difference in the amount of honey obtained from Thermosolar hives and traditional thin-walled hives in the same habitat is considerable. This is another way how the beekeeper’s investments in the new hive are recovered. Heating through the windows can also prevent multiplying of Varroa mites, because it can regularly increase the temperature in the brood chamber above 35.5°C (95.9°F), which is the limit at which the Varroa can not multiply. During sunny days, the temperature in the brood nest can, thanks to the windows, momentarily increase to 40°C (104°F) which is the temperature that kills the mites. In the hot summer days the beekeeper should check the temperatures reached and put shading screens on thermosolar windows if necessary. It is not desirable that bees are heated to a temperature close to 40°C (104°F) for more days consecutively. In the summer months, during very hot days, it is therefore appropriate to shade the windows.
Due to thermosolar windows the hive supers are heavier than supers of traditional hives. Glass or the similar material used in the supers and the thermosolar ceiling may obviously get damaged if handled incautiously, even though high-quality solid glass is used. In very hot summer days, it is necessary to use shading screens on thermosolar windows in the supers to avoid overheating the colony. Thanks to the rapid development, the bees are in the Thermosolar Hive™ have higher consumption of reserves in early spring, because they start brooding earlier.
Thermosolar windows can warm the hive year-round. Especially in early spring, this effect is clearly visible, as due to the heat produced by termosolar windows, the thermosolar colonies are by about 14 days faster in developing than in the conventional bee hives. Thanks to the warmth the bees may leave the winter cluster earlier, they can begin brooding earlier; more bees can fly for early nectar flow, because they do not need to heat the brood so intensely.
Yes it does. For this reason the methodology manual of anti-swarming breeding of drones is supplied with each hive. If this method is applied correctly according to the methodology, the colony does not even get into the swarming mood. Thanks to the increased number of drones, honey harvest also increases. Drones thermally stabilize the brood nest and more bees can fly for honey flow. Success rate of the anti-swarming method is 100%. As we are only people and sometimes do mistakes, usual succes rate in practice is between 99 and 100%, i.e. in average out of 100 colonies only one or none swarms per season. Thus compared to other anti-swarming methods this method is very successful, while it belongs to one of the least laborious and time-consuming for the beekeeper.
Thanks to the long-term heating via thermosolar windows the colony does not consume so much reserves to warm the brood chamber to the desired temperature. Beekeeper may extract even very weak flows, which would otherwise be consumed for brood rearing. Thanks to the long-term slow warming through thermosolar windows not so many bees are needed to warm the brood and may devote to pollen collection.
Thermosolar windows operate both in summer and winter. They can transform sunlight into heat, even if it’s freezing. In winter, their performance is not so high as to cause loosening of the winter cluster, nor premature start of brood rearing. Nonetheless, the thermosolar widows can reduce the number of frost hours in the colony significantly and increase the temperature in the hive by several degrees. So bees need to spend less effort for maintaining a constant temperature of the winter cluster and thus consume less supplies.
In climates where bees overwinter, mainly in temperate and subtropical belt, it is recommended to perform thermotherapy twice annually, namely in the spring before placing the supers and in late summer after the last extraction, before feeding for the winter. In general, 2 to 4 correctly performed thermo-therapies annually should be sufficient to cure the colony completely. It is of course necessary to adjust the number of thermo-therapies with regard to the time of brood rearing as well as to the current level of infestation of the colony. In climates where wintering does not occur, the use of thermotherapy is at the discretion of the beekeeper. The beekeeper decides according to the level of mite infestation of the hive, when he/she considers the number of mites as high, thermotherapy should be applied.
First the queen excluder must be removed, thermometer sensors must be properly inserted (in the comb in the middle of brood chamber, one sensor below the top bar, one above the bottom bar). The brood chamber should include 5-8 kg of supplies either in the form of honey or sugar solution. Higher or lesser amount of supplies may eventually result in insufficient heating. Entrance must be oriented to the southeast or south by southeast. Treatment starts in the morning, we take off the roof and illuminate the thermosolar ceiling. Shades must be removed from thermosolar windows. Achieving the required temperatures takes 1.5 to 3 hours, it is necessary to check the sensors. When the temperature on one sensor reaches 47°C (116.6°F) we put the roof back on; the shades are still removed. Temperatures in the brood chamber begin to equalize. Once both sensors display a minimum temperature of 40°C (104°F), we start to clock two hours, during which the temperature throughout the brood chamber (on both sensors) must not fall below 40°C (104°F). After 2 hours, we can open the hive and air the excess heat. During the following 12 days we can see increased level of mite fall. After 7-14 days the thermotherapy has to be performed again.
Those Varroa mites which are not in the capped brood generally do not suck on older forager bees, but mainly on house bees. It has a deep evolutionary reason. Forager bees are merely a means of transport for the mites by which they colonize new colonies. To spread their genes outside the hive just a few percent of migrant phoretic mites sucking on forager bees are needed. The vast majority of the female mite therefore sucks on the house bees. Only house bees (nurse bees for the brood) can bring the mites to new larvae before pupation, which is the place for the female mite reproduction. That is why thermosolar heating is so highly effective against the mites on the bees, namely because nurse bees tolerate considerably higher temperatures than the forager bees. Their cuticle is less sclerotized; due to water evaporation from their body surface they can cool well, so they do not mind temperatures above 40°C. Hence they do not feel the need to leave the heated comb for a long time and the mites stuck on their bodies are killed by the high temperature. Therefore, most of the mites found at the time of thermotherapy on the bees can not survive the treatment.
They do not have a long life ahead either. In summer the female Varroa mites suck on the bees in average for only 3-5 days. Then they return to the brood chamber and have themselves capped into the brood cells. Thus we can say that since the seventh to fourteenth day after hatching from the brood and sucking on the bees, vast majority of female mites is capped again in a cell to start reproductive cycle there. Female Varroa mite must have herself capped together with the brood. Trapped under the cap she must start a population of descendants of both sexes. When the young bee hatches, the old female mite climbs out of the cell with the bee, together with her female offspring – fertilized daughters. Therefore, if the beekeeper carries out a repeated thermosolar heating a week or fourteenth days later, he/she manages to kill even those females that escaped the first treatment. Mites are killed together with their offspring of both sexes, because all these mites are now trapped under the caps of the brood and can not escape the heat. This is how the entire population of mites is wiped out completely after the second heating of the brood chamber.
All mites on the brood and many of the mites on adult bees are killed after the first therapeutic heating. It is usually declared that during brood rearing about 80 – 85% of mites is on the brood. Added to this is another big part stuck on house bees. The remaining small part of the mite population found on the other bees is killed by the second thermosolar heating. The result is the extinction of the entire population of mites in the hive.
Thanks to the thermosolar windows the beehive steadily increases temperature in the brood nest. It is a modest increase, which assists in the development of bees, but simultaneously prevents reproduction of mites. Mites are very sensitive to such slightly increased temperatures. Although such temperature does not exterminate the mites directly, it prevents mites from reproducing. Therefore the population of mites in the hive remains very low steadily. However warming by thermosolar windows can not fully replace thermosolar treatment.
It is never certain. But this possibility is very unlikely. Varroa destructor has developed together with the Indian bee (Apis ceranae). Varroa parasitizes naturally on Indian bee and is unable to kill the bees. This is because Indian bee heats the worker brood to 35.5°C (95.9°F) and the drone brood to 33°C (91.4°F), therefore Varroa parasitizes only on the drone brood. At temperatures above 35°C (95°F) Varroa is no longer able to multiply. If the mite were able to adapt to higher temperatures, it would certainly have done so over the millions of years of coevolution with the Indian bee. That makes the difference from treatments using acids or pesticides, where the mites growing resistance is evident already after a several years of application.
The temperature should be at least 20°C (68°F), clear or almost clear day. Maximum of 30% cloud cover. Therapeutic temperatures can be achieved even under worse conditions, however in that case maintaining the temperature is not guaranteed.
When there is the queen excluder, interior split, or caged queen in the hive. If the brood chamber combs are vertically wired (or not at all) and are overloaded with supplies; in such case they might under certain circumstances lose coherence.
Thermosolar hive is manufactured with combs of the frames oriented perpendicularly to the entrance. In many countries, this arrangement is the traditional and the most commonly used one. This arrangement of combs is advantageous from the structural reasons, as thus the front wall of the super does not bear the weight of the frames. This allows using the front wall for constructing the teromoslar windows. It also enables better exposition to the sunshine of the surfaces producing heat .