Update to ProtectaBEE production!

Hey ProtectaBEE™ backers!

Today, after waiting 4 1/2 weeks on what should have arrived in less than a week, we have our machined samples! A machined sample is a larger block of solid plastic whittled down to the desired dimensions in precision plastic machining. It's not the same as the injection-molded ProtectaBEE™, but pretty close!

We had some delays: Our first machined samples had cracks that would not have worked well with the bees, so they had to be redone. Then a COVID outbreak hit the province of production, and the entire province was sent home for a week. The package sat waiting to be shipped for another two weeks with everything backed up. And then when it arrived in Canada, it got lost for nine days.

You may be wondering: Why did you do the machined samples and not go straight to production?

We want the ProtectaBEE™ to be right!

For two years, we have been testing with 3D materials that will have different thickness, flexibility and even possibly a different reaction from the bees than the plastic used in production. Also, we wanted to make sure the inserts and drawers slide in and out smoothly. We want to make sure that the final version will have a good fit on hives and that the bees like it!

These extra steps make a quality product different from something made quickly without testing. We want to do right by you and the bees!

While we have been waiting, we have developed a NEW SMALL HIVE BEETLE TRAP RIGHT INSIDE THE PROTECTABEE, which we will test in Florida this coming week. We are also working on a catch to keep the drawers from being pulled out by heavy winds or nimble animal fingers.

So what's next:

1. A little bit of prep of the ProtectaBEE™ machined samples for testing (color and friction - only black and clear were options with the machined samples)

2. Flying to Florida to test with active bees (we have a snowstorm right now - so not bee testing weather!). Also, a bonus trip to the University of Florida to learn about raising varroa mites in the lab to help speed up our bee vectoring research

3. Testing our Small Hive Beetle trap to see if it works

4. Adding in the catch

After those steps, we will go to tooling (the case for the injection mold) if all checks out. They'll send us a sample, and once we measure to make sure everything is correct, we will go to production!

My goal is still to get your ProtectaBEEs to you for June - but right now, it's looking like the latter part of June without any hiccups!

Follow our production adventures and this season's research on the Facebook ProtectaBEE™ page (it's in its baby form, so watch for updates)!

Thanks for joining us in the adventure!!

Bee well, Erica

ps - the clear one is for research and filming - not for sale - we think it would bake the bees on summertime!

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