Varroa mites, recognising varroa mite, treatment. Information about bees and Beekeeping.
Beekeeping Info


Varroa examination
Oxalic acid

Menthol treatment

American foulbrood
European foulbrood

Fumagilin treatment

Killer bees
Inverted sugar
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There are two main types of mites: 
-Varroa, which attacks bee when she is a larvae. 
-Tracheal mite which place itself inside bee's breathing system. 

These two are main causes feral bees are almost extinct.  In Southern America this is even worse because of the presence of so called killer bees which are spread through South America and are now in North America as well. Organic acids, essential oils as wintergreen, and pesticides are used for varroa treatment. Varroa is a bug which sucks bee's fluids. In such circumstances, bees are less able to do their daily jobs, not to mention mites as potential virus carriers. Also, varroa is found to affect drone's ability to mate with queen and therefore affects hive population. All of it points to a necessity of varroa treatment.

Approximately one week after queen lays an egg, varroa female enters ( just before capping ). Preferably they choose drone brood, but worker cells are affected also, especially if there is strong infestation going on. Varroa female lays 5 eggs more or less. Varroa female is bigger and red colour. Male Varroa is smaller. Menthol is used for tracheal mite and apistan® for varroa.

How to examine for varroa?
One method is to examine drone pupae. Open the cappings of drone cells and remove drone pupae from it, then examine it for varroa. It is easy to see varroa mites against white pupae.
Another technique is Apistan® strips in conjunction with detection boards. They can be used as detection method and as a antivarroa treatment also. You can make detection boards simply by cutting paper so that it fits bottom of the hive. Then spill some vegetable oil over it so that any varroa which falls onto it does not go up again but to stay there.  You must protect bees from falling to the plate.  You make them net above the plate with the holes large enough for varroa to fall through and small enough for bees not to fall through.  It is important to say that late fall and early spring is the best time when you should use apistan strips, because there is less brood then, meaning less varroa will be protected under cappings.  Apistan® strips must come in direct contact with the bees, meaning they must be walking over it in order for it to work.  If there is infestation, then strips are already in place as an antivarroa measure, and they should stay there for about 6 weeks.  If only for detection purposes then one week is enough.  It is important to say that as with any medicine, you shouldn't apply it while having honey suppers in place, but you can put them back right after you remove strips.  Most common appliance is two strips per ten frames of bees.  There's treatment with oxalic acid for example, used in Europe. 

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