Combating bee deaths with heated hives

10/16/2018 Reading time: 2 minute(s)

Vontobel is a founding member of the Climate Foundation Switzerland, financially supporting an innovative product: a heated hive. Its warmth drives varroa mites out of the bee hive. As a result, the innovation from Swiss start-up Vatorex reduces bee deaths and increases climate protection.


Start-up founder Pascal Brunner with the heated hive he developed

More than money: Bees generate a huge added value with their work, while incidentally protecting the climate. But who protects the bees from the dangerous varroa mite? The mite nests in the bee brood and harms the colonies – a fifth of all bee colonies perish each winter in Europe as a result. Beekeepers previously had to treat the hives with acid to tackle the mites. But this chemical weapon also affects the bees.

When two beekeepers and an electrical engineer put their heads together

Two beekeepers from Winterthur, Willi and Pascal Brunner, along with electrical engineer Renato Cortesi, have developed a solution to combat the mite problem. It is natural and based on heat: A filament embedded into the wax heats the brood comb to 41°C for a short time, from the inside out. After three hours, the mites are dead, and the bees stay fit and well. This also makes the beekeepers, who get healthier colonies and more honey, happy.

Bees are climate heroes

The Climate Foundation Switzerland is supporting the development of the Vatorex Box with CHF 150,000 and the promotion of the product. "Flowering plants bind enormous amounts of CO2," says Vincent Eckert, CEO of the foundation. "Flowering plants can barely survive without bees and consequently cannot bind CO2."

Vontobel is a founding member of the Climate Foundation Switzerland

The Climate Foundation Switzerland has been supporting projects from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that contribute to climate protection since 2008. Since it was founded in 2008, the Foundation has supported around 1300 SMEs in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein with CHF 17 million. Vontobel is one of the eleven founding members of the Foundation, which was established shortly after the introduction of the CO2 levy. The support funds come from 27 large service providers who donate their refunded CO2 levy.


From sustainable investment solutions to social commitments and environmental sustainability: Vontobel has a long tradition of corporate responsibility. It assumes this responsibility in all its complexity – and regularly receives recognition for its efforts.