Albuquerque company develops pesticide that won’t harm bees

Albuquerque company develops pesticide that won’t harm bees

A local beekeeper successfully used Terra Vera's innovative, chemical-free pesticide to combat Varroa mites, protecting her bees.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Shauncey Adee with Bee Free Honey Farms has been a beekeeper for three years now. In that time, she has learned a lot about harvesting honey and keeping her bees safe.

“The first shipment that I got, they were infested with mites, to the point where several of the beekeepers were losing bees,” Adee said.

That’s where Terra Vera comes in. Carlos Perea and Justin Sanchez cofounded Terra Vera in 2020. Originally they set out to create an environmentally friendly pesticide for crops, but they accidentally stumbled onto something else.

“Through just a series of happy accidents, we found that we can control something called the Varroa mite, which happens to be the number one threat to bees, honey bees in the world,” Perea said.

Adee and Perea went to high school together and when he found out he had a solution to her problem, Adee let Perea test his new pesticide on her hives.

“I don’t like using chemicals on my bees, and the Terra Vera – I just really aligned with their mission and what their product does,” Shauncey said. “It is chemical free and it is food for the bees. It helps them too.”

So how does it kill the mites without chemicals? It’s a trick called biomimicry.

“Your immune system actually generates this exact same chemistry using your white blood cells,” Sanchez said. “What we do is we take a blend of food grade salts and amino acids and we active them. And then they’re activated form. It’s a transient form, they interact with the mites, knock them out, doesn’t hurt the bees at all, doesn’t harm the honey at all.”

While Adee is the first beekeeper to test out Terra Vera, Perea and Sanchez are hopeful they will be able to start helping beekeepers across the country.