The Bee Corp. Changes Direction

Posted: Updated:
Ellie Symes is the CEO of The Bee Corp. Ellie Symes is the CEO of The Bee Corp.

Bloomington-based The Bee Corp. has announced a change in its technology offerings. The startup says it has shifted its focus from preventing hive loss to determining beehive strength, particularly among commercial beekeepers. Chief Executive Officer Ellie Symes says while hive loss is still a concern among beekeepers, the industry has adapted to the issue and beekeepers have begun changing their management practices to better improve hive health.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Symes said the adaptation among beekeepers means they're putting more resources into hives than ever before, both from a labor and cost perspective.

"That is increasing hive prices for pollination and that's what's really causing this market to pay attention to the true value of hives and whether hives are strong enough to actually meet pollination because each hive is getting more expensive," said Symes. "So if you're a grower, you would rather have the strongest hives possible, so basically the most valuable hive if you're going to be spending large amounts of money on it. So it's very interesting how hive loss as an issue really has just changed the economic structure of this industry and we've figured out more accurately how we play into that."

The Bee Corp. has launched a new product, known as Verifli, which uses infrared image analysis to map out the heat signature given off by bees and determine the strength of the hive. The company says, using the new technology, growers can know which parts of their orchard have low-strength hives and shuffle around their beehive pallets to maximize pollination.

Symes says the shift in focus stemmed from a grant from the National Science Foundation, which forced the company to undergo "customer discovery" and meet with commercial beekeepers and growers before continuing with its technology adoption. She says they learned that the company needed to change aspects of its technology model in order to grow into the larger commercial space.

"We learned that bee strength as a metric to measure is much more important than survival and that commercially, folks were able to actually meet pollination demand without a problem, so we learned that fundamentally the bigger problem here is valuing and pricing beehives and determining if they're strong enough for pollination, not loss overall, which was a very interesting thing for us."

Symes says, because The Bee Corp. is still a startup, they decided to focus the company's resources solely on the hive strength issue instead of continuing to grow its previous products which focused on hive health and hive theft. She says the short-term focus is helping almond growers determine the strength of their hives and they will also be working with commercial beekeepers this year. Long term, the company plans to bring the technology to new crop markets to have a greater impact on pollination.

Symes adds, while the company's technology and product offering is different, their vision and mission hasn't changed.

"We are definitely excited about how this product actually helps researchers and industry as a whole be able to better understand impacts on hives and how to improve those," said Symes. "So the vision is still there on overall improving hive health moving forward and we were excited that that was an opportunity that is still around. We're just doing it by a different means of getting data on hives and solving a different problem."

Symes says the adaptation among beekeepers means they're putting more resources into hives than ever before, both from a labor and cost perspective.
  • Perspectives

    • (photo courtesy of Conexus)

      October Celebrates Indiana’s Vibrant Manufacturing Industry

      Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country and more than a third of the state’s GDP comes from the industry. The health and wellness of Indiana’s economy is dependent on the state’s manufacturing industry. But Hoosiers face a challenge: it is expected that nearly a quarter of the current manufacturing workforce will be of retirement age in the next 10 years and we lack the generational workforce to make up that gap.



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Regal Beloit is closing in Valparaiso. (photo courtesy; The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Bearings Plant to Close, Eliminating 160+ Jobs

      Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. and the union representing workers have reached an agreement about the closing of a helicopter bearing factory in Valparaiso. According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the decision will cost between 160 to 170 workers their jobs. 

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      U.S. Steel Updates Layoff Notice to State

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has updated the State of Indiana regarding its previously announced layoffs at the East Chicago Tin Mill. The company says 314, rather than 307, workers will be displaced when the mill is idled this fall. 

    • The Columbian Home Products plant was built in Terre Haute in 1902.

      Kitchenware Maker to Close in Terre Haute

      Illinois-based Columbian Home Products LLC has sent a letter to the State of Indiana saying it intends to close its plant in Terre Haute and lay off 82 workers. According to the WARN letter sent to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the layoffs will begin on December 1. 

    • The Lawn at White River State Park currently hosts concerts, but is not a permanent venue. (photo courtesy White River State Park)

      White River Park to Break Ground on Permanent Venue

      White River State Park in Indianapolis will Wednesday host a ground-breaking ceremony for a permanent concert venue on its concert lawn. The project, announced early last year, will include a permanent st...

    • Ingram Micro has more than 170 facilities throughout the world.

      Ingram Micro to Make Announcement

      Officials in Plainfield are set to make another economic development announcement Wednesday morning. Few details are available, however the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says executives from California-based Ingram Micro will take part in the announcement.