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Combplex Update with Hailey Scofield and Nathan Oakes (S4, E37)

This week we welcome back to the podcast Hailey Scofield and Nathan Oakes. They joined us back in November, 2019, when they were nominated as the one of the 18 finalists in the Empire State Development and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement for “Grow-NY” – a food innovation and agricultural technology business challenge. They introduced us to their ‘bee laser’ for the automatic removal (or ‘zapping’) of varroa from the body of a honey bee.

Jump ahead 27 months and they’ve moved from upstate New York to just outside Austin, Texas and are about to release their new product – the bee laser frame. They’ve gone through multiple iterations of the laser, refining their approach, placement, software and hardware. They’ve settled on placing the laser in the corner of the frame with an opening just big enough for the passage of a single honey bee. If the laser detects a varroa clinging to the bee, it gets zapped, explodes and dies. They honey bee is none the wiser and goes on about her business. If no varroa is detected, the bee is counted and that’s it until the next bees passes through. At the end of the day, a beekeeper can get a report of the number of bees that passed through the frame and the number of varroa detected and the number of times the laser fired. Through the software the beekeeper can get an understanding of the colony’s mite load.

It sounds like science fiction. It is definitely science… but fiction? They say not! Listen in to the episode to learn more about the Bee Laser and check out their updated website for more information.

Also on this week’s episode, Northern Bee Books presents “Bee Books Old and New with Kim Flottum”. This week, Kim reviews three books: Charles Dadant That Bee Man From Champagne, An Eyewitness Account of Early American Beekeeping: The Autobiography of A.I. Root , and Practical Small Scale Queen Rearing Using The Miller Method. All are good reads and provide great information on the history of beekeeping and practical bee management techniques.

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Links and websites mentioned in this podcast:

Combplex (Now Bee Lasers) - Honey Bee Obscura Podcast -


We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping Today Podcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website:

This episode is brought to you by Global Patties! Global Patties is a family business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will help ensure that they produce strong and health colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Global offers a variety of standard patties, as well as custom patties to meet your specific needs. Visit them today at and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode!

Thanks for Northern Bee Books for their sponsorship of Bee Books: Old & New with Kim Flottum. Northern Bee Books is the publisher of bee books available worldwide from their website or from Amazon and bookstores everywhere. They are also the publishers of The Beekeepers Quarterly and Natural Bee Husbandry. Check them out today!

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a regular podcast featuring interviews with leading bee and insect researchers in the world of pollination, hosted by Dr. Kirsten Traynor.


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Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at

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Podcast music: Be Strong by Young Presidents; Epilogue by Musicalman; Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus; Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC