PMMA Combs

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The Beekeeping Crisis in Europe - an Environmentalist's point of view

  1. Outlooks
    1. Organic Varroa Control
      1. Cells and Combs design
        1. PMMA Combs
        2. Drone Combs

How Does it Work?

Matthias Schmidt have registered a patent in 1994 about a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, better known under the trade mark names Plexiglas or Perspex) comb design. The brood cells have a conic shape – the bottom being wider than the opening and cylinder-shaped. This cell shape allow to store a greater amount of feeding jelly. Due to a richer feeding, the bee larvae hatch earlier, on the 17-18th after egg-laying instead of the 21th day in normal conditions. Varroas mate in the brood cell one day before the hatching of the young bee, that is to say on the 20th after egg-laying. An early hatching prevent thus varroas to reproduce. [1]

Efficiency

Insufficient data.

Risks

Too little knowledge is currently available on which influence polyméthapolymethyl methacrylate might have on bees and bees: it is known that polymethyl methacrylate dust and vapours are irritating ofr human and other mamals' mucous membranes [2], butm apparently, not toxicity sudies on PMMA nor on the additives used to enhance its stability, has been performe on insects up to now. Even if the product is reputed as of low-toxicity and very stable, there still some degree of uncertainty. The acceptance of plastic is generally low in organic beekeeping.

Deuxièmement, une trop grande richesse de la nourriture risque d’entraîner des modifications physiologiques, comme une croissance exacerbée des ovaires, ce qui conduirait les ouvrières à adopter un comportement similaires à celui d’une reine. Enfin, d'une part, une intervention trop intensive de l'homme pourrait retarder une adaptation évolutive d'Apis mellifera (voir Section 6.1.8), d'autre part, varroa pourrait lui-même évoluer de façon à s’accoupler plus tôt, ce qui rendrait l’invention finalement inopérante.


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