Erica Shelley may not wear a cape, but her mission to save the worlds’ bees could be confused with other superhero plot lines.

After what feels like a lifetime of research and development, Best for Bees unveiled their state-of-the-art beehive product, the Protectabee. The technology helps ensure that bee colonies in Canada are operating at their healthiest levels and protects them from varroa mites. If not careful, varroa mites have the ability to kill a bee colony leaving beekeepers with an empty hive.

More information about Best for Bees is available at

The Protectabee is designed so that bees are encouraged to use certain cones to enter a hive, and a different set of cones to exit. When passing through the entrance cones, the bees pick up the medication placed there by their keeper, and take it inside the hive, eliminating mites from the hives.

Key features of the Protectabee include:

A beekeeper has caught a swarm with a mated queen and want to ensure they stay inside for a few days.

Queen cells have been found but extra equipment is needed on site, so some extra time is needed to prepare for a split.

The health of humanity is largely dependent on the health of the worlds’ bee populations. Honeybees are one of the most prolific pollinators, which is crucial for plants to produce seeds or fruits. If the bee populations die, there is a good chance the remaining life on earth will share a similar fate.

“Bees make the planet livable for humans,” said Shelley. “It’s crazy — people don’t understand how important bees are.”

In 2020, Best for Bees collaborated with Dr. Peter Kevan at the University of Guelph on a joint research project that resulted in the invention of the ProtectaBEE, a hive entrance used for bee vectoring. Erica’s background in Molecular and Medical Genetics, where she worked with fungi and cancer, proved particularly useful in the development of this project, which uses fungi to treat varroa mites.

On top of saving the worlds bee populations from mites, the cones also protect the honeybee hives from hornets, wasps, skunks, field mice and other predators.

3D printed in Canada with using sustainable bee friendly materials

The ProtectaBee is 3D printed with PLA, a corn-based plastic in Canada. PLA is a material which biodegrades at a much faster rate than plastic while still offering the same level of sanitation and utility.

Beekeepers can use data to make smart decisions about their hive

Bee Protect clients use the startup’s reporting program to record 40 points of data from each hive — nearby crops, pesticides, rain, snow cover, temperatures, frost and parasites, among other information.

That data is used for the monthly bee health plans. Threats and conditions vary greatly from one area to another.

Best for Bees Ltd. has signed up 900 clients so far in North America, who pay a monthly fee to receive the monthly health plans. The startup plans to build a $300,000 software platform that can collect the data from clients around the world.

Sights set on Europe

“Within two years, we plan on moving into Europe, which has a bigger market, and spreading worldwide is our long-term plan,” said Shelley.

Data-Driven Bees

Shelley wants to use honeybees as bio-sensors. By analyzing patterns in bee activity, Shelley and her team are hoping to uncover crucial data signals that will help beekeepers prepare for environmental challenges in the future.

“We can use bees to predict how long a winter will last, we can predict what crops will work well in certain areas, so there is a lot of information that can be gained from the bees about the health of the world,” said Shelley.

“How all of this is interconnected is important.”

“With that platform we can potentially make huge gains in terms of the environment, food security and even predict the best places to plant crops,” said Shelley.

Kitchener Ontario


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