Discovering the greatest varroa mite therapy plan is a key consider holding honey bees wholesome. Varroa mites are a number one reason for honey bee colony demise. There are no straightforward solutions for varroa mite management. These bee pests proceed to kill bees whilst beekeepers try to assist their colonies cope with them. There are a number of management choices however none are excellent.
Are Mite Therapies for Bees Actually Obligatory?
Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) are exterior pests of honey bees. This small reddish mite is seen to the bare eye. It appears to be like like a tiny crimson dot on the bee’s physique. However you don’t all the time see them, they cover beneath the segments of the bee exoskeleton.
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Mites weaken and finally kill most colonies of honey bees over a time period. With out some sort of management to maintain the variety of mites within the hive low, hive failure is certain to return.
Varroa mites are the #1 killer of bee colonies worldwide. Varroa management shouldn’t be a beekeeping administration technique that may be neglected. In most areas, colonies with out some sort of varroa plan will die inside 2 years.
The grownup mites feed on grownup bees, spreading viruses and weakening the honey bees. Then, mature females enter brood cells and reproduce there by laying eggs. The brand new younger may also feed on the growing bee larva – organising a lethal cycle of sick, weak bees.
We regularly say – by the point you see mites on the bees, it’s too late to save lots of the colony. It is because at any given time, a lot of the mites are within the brood cells. Don’t anticipate visible affirmation.
The vast majority of our colonies cannot cope with varroa on their very own. They could survive one yr with a heavy mite load .
However, these colonies typically fail earlier than the top of the second yr. Shocking the beekeeper who believed there was no drawback.
In most varroa mite management plans, the purpose shouldn’t be essentially an entire kill of each mite – slightly a discount in infestation ranges.
Ideally, we search one thing that works nicely with no threat of hurt to the bees. However even some authorised remedies, pose concern about contamination of beeswax or honey.
Mites in Beehives is Nothing New
Discovering mites inside a honey bee colony is nothing new. Most honey bee colonies even have a number of forms of mites in residence. Fortunately, only some trigger issues for the bees and beekeepers.
A number of years in the past tracheal mites triggered main losses to the bee business. Many beekeepers misplaced giant numbers of colonies.
However in time, the honey bees tailored, these extra immune to the tracheal mites lived to breed and beekeepers discovered find out how to deal with the tracheal mite infestations.
When Ought to You Deal with for Varroa Mites?
Discovering the very best time to deal with a colony for mites will depend upon the therapy sort chosen and the extent of infestation. Climate additionally performs a job in a number of the therapy choices.
Whereas small numbers of mites can impact a robust bee colony, the injury is minimal. As a mite infestation grows bigger, issues grow to be extra noticeable.
What number of mites are too many? It relies upon. (In case you thought I used to be going to provide you a definitive reply, you should be a brand new beekeeper.)
These of us who’ve been round some time know that almost all issues in beekeeping have a number of solutions. ? However, I do have some pointers so that you can take into account concerning when to deal with your bees for mites. This includes figuring out the varroa mite threshold and that’s typically a transferring goal.
Varroa Mite Therapy Threshold
Over time, the appropriate variety of mites in a hive has modified a bit. Years in the past beekeepers had been advised a suitable quantity for a 24 hour mite drop. Every year that quantity obtained decrease as researchers discovered how damaging varroa will be to colony well being.
First, you should get a estimate of the mite inhabitants (or variety of mites) in your colony. We name this doing a mite rely. After all, it will be inconceivable to rely each – slightly we try to get an informed guess.
There are a number of strategies of doing mite counts. These contain sticky boards, sugar shakes and alcohol washes. Whatever the technique used, testing for varroa mites is essential to saving your hives.
After finishing your check counts you should have an concept of the approximate variety of mites in your hive.
When the extent of mite infestation is within the 2% to five% vary, the beekeeper should make some selections. Do you have to deal with now or wait and watch?
Instantly deal with any hive with a mite infestation of 5% or extra. This colony is in disaster and it might be too late already! For myself, if I’ve a 2% infestation, I might undoubtedly deal with.
Why would somebody wait? Maybe they’ve honey supers on the hive that they wish to harvest first? A useless hive could consequence from ready too lengthy.
Mechanical Varroa Mite Management
A method beekeepers cope with mites is using mechanical (non-chemical) strategies. Utilizing screened backside boards (as an alternative of strong), causes some mites to fall to the bottom and perish.
There was excessive hopes for using screened backside boards to start with however I’ve little confidence in them at this level as a varroa management.
This system could assist however the variety of mites killed is a really small quantity. This isn’t sufficient when used alone to guard your hives.
In case you use strong wooden backside boards, you should purchase a sticky board with a display. This lets you do a mite rely with out having bees caught to the grid board.
Screened backside boards are nice at giving your hive additional air flow although and I believe they’re well worth the effort in that respect.
Drone Brood Elimination for Mite Management
Some beekeepers advise the removing of capped drone brood (the mites favourite host).
Particular drone bodys can be utilized to encourage drone manufacturing. As soon as full of capped drone brood and growing mites inside, the body is eliminated.
Freeze the entire body, killing the mites and the drone brood is sacrificed as nicely. After thawing, the body is put again into the hive for reuse.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this technique. It’s essential to keep in mind to take away the body on the correct time. In any other case, you will have simply created a mite maternity ward.
Varroa Mite Therapies In contrast
What you select as your varroa mite therapy for bees is as particular person as you. All of us maintain bees in numerous methods.
Making an attempt to take care of a zero-mite rely is troublesome if not down proper inconceivable. Bear in mind we try to maintain mite ranges low.
As varroa mite numbers develop, colony well being declines. Sick employee bees dwell shorter lives and will not be as robust. Viruses reminiscent of Deformed Wing Virus are extra prevalent.
I inform my college students in my on-line learners class, how essential it’s to determine on a varroa mite management plan. Don’t let the mite quantity get uncontrolled.
Because the business strives to breed bees which have extra resistance to varroa mite infestations, we use what we’ve got within the present battle.
Permitted Chemical compounds – Sensible Therapies for Varroa
Analysis has supplied us with a number of chemical therapy choices. In case you select to make use of these merchandise, you will need to rotate them.
Varroa resistance to a few of these merchandise is reported within the business. It’s essential to use your individual judgement when deciding what to place in your hive.
Apistan (fluvalinate) is an older substance used for mite management in honey bees for years. It’s an impregnated strip that kills by contact. Strips should be positioned contained in the hive after which eliminated after a sure time interval.
Reviews of extensive unfold resistance to fluvalinate has been reported in colonies over current years. Additionally, chemical residues could persist in beeswax within the hive. Most beekeepers that I do know now not use it.
Apivar (amitraz) is an artificial miticide that kills by contact. Impregnated strips are place close to the brood nest very similar to Apistan.
This chemical was used for mite management for some time, then pulled and now allowed once more.
Apivar has time utilization restriction. Don’t place honey supers in your colony for at the least 2 weeks after therapy.
Low ranges of residue will be detected within the beeswax and honey. Mites can develop resistance. Some beekeepers report good outcomes with this authorised varroa mite therapy product.
HopGuard (Potassium salt -hops beta acids)
A pure product constituted of hop compounds – Hopguard (Potassium salt (16%) of hops beta acids).
Honey supers will be on the hive throughout therapy and that could be a plus. However, beekeepers report that it’s messy to work with.
Beekeepers in my area haven’t reported constantly good outcomes utilizing Hopguard. However you might determine to provide it a attempt in your apiary.
Important Oils for Varroa Mite Therapy
Important oils are used to promote good well being in honey bee colonies. These oils have additionally been used within the quest for varroa mite management.
There are a number of important oil recipes for bees which you can make and take a look at in your hives. However, use care, some important oils are absorbed by the pores and skin. Put on gloves.
Extra importantly, you need to examine to make sure that the therapy plan you select actually works on your bees. This implies extra mite counts and a plan to do one thing else if wanted.
Apiguard is a gel containing thymol. It acts as a fumigant to kill mites. Like a lot of the pure remedies, this merchandise is temperature delicate.
Temperatures ought to be between 59 F and under 105 F. Use twice at 2-week intervals to finish a mite management plan.
CONFUSION ALERT: There’s a distinction between Apivar and Api Life V A R. One is an artificial chemical and one is a softer important oil based mostly therapy. Each are authorised to be used in beehives.
Api Life Var (thymol, eucalyptol oil, menthol, camphor) Api Life VAR is one other contender for the very best varroa mite therapy.
This product incorporates a inexperienced spongy pad impregnated with oils. Api Life Var is a fumigant.
Therapy includes placement of pads 3 occasions at 7 day intervals. An appropriate temperature vary is between 65-85 levels F.
Excessive temperatures through the therapy interval could cause critical colony disruption together with bees leaving the hive.
Natural Varroa Mite Therapies Choices
Mite Away Fast Strips – formic acid (natural acid) works as a fumigant. The biodegradable therapy pads stay in place for 7 days.
After 7 days, you’ll be able to take away the pads or not. You need to use Mite Away Fast Strips when honey assortment supers are on the hive.
Formic Acid additionally kills mites in capped brood (the others don’t). That is an natural therapy however additionally it is robust – particularly if the temperatures are very heat.
Some beekeepers have reported queen loss or a discount in brood manufacturing. I by no means had any issues whereas utilizing this product. Comply with the instructions on the label!
Excessive temperatures above 92 levels F through the therapy software could trigger colony absconding. In my area, the temperature necessities for a few of these remedies had been an enormous drawback.
Formic Professional is another choice for these wanting to make use of formic acid. This model has an extended expiration date for the bundle in case you wish to maintain some available. It really works in the identical method as MAQS with a number of the similar advantages and challenges.
I periodically use formic acid remedies in my colonies, they’re very efficient.
Oxalic Acid – Drizzle or Fumigant
Utilized in Europe for years, beekeepers in america can now use oxalic acid as a varroa mite therapy.
Oxalic acid (Oxalic acid dihydrate-organic acid) is utilized in two methods for mite management – as a drizzle or as a fumigant.
The drip or drizzle technique includes mixing OA with sugar water and pouring this over the cluster of bees.
The drizzle technique is greatest utilized in early Winter or late Fall. When the bees are clustered collectively the drip is straightforward to use.
The colony ought to have little or no brood so nearly all of mites will likely be on the grownup bees.
The yearly restrict of drizzle functions is 2 per yr. It is because the acid is corrosive to bee our bodies. Don’t use drizzle remedies in excessive chilly. The bee cluster can grow to be chilled.
Vaporization of Oxalic Acid
Oxalic Acid Vaporization – This technique of utilizing OA is a favourite in Europe the place it has been used with good outcomes for years.
Right here is the way it works – a small quantity of OA is place on a particular wand and slid into the hive. The wand heats inflicting the crystals to vaporize.
Because the vapor cools, crystals reform contained in the hive. Honey bees take away the acid crystals and expose varroa to the substance.
Oxalic acid vaporization is a really impact varroa mite therapy throughout Fall and Winter – occasions when much less brood is within the hive. It doesn’t kill mites hidden contained in the brood cell.
Watch out when buying a wand. You need one which works correctly, you do NOT wish to be inhaling any fumes. Put on acceptable security masks and so forth. Comply with the producers instructions – learn the label.
There are lots of kinds of oxalic acid vaporizers obtainable for buy. That is the mannequin that I selected to purchase – the Varrox.
I felt that it was the very best funding as a result of it has been in use for years in Europe. For quick cooling, this mannequin is appropriate for dipping in water. Cheaper fashions will not be constructed to permit dipping in water.
Utilizing OA within the Summer time
Vaporization is my present technique of mite management. I imagine it’s the greatest varroa mite therapy for bees in my space.
We’ve got numerous scorching climate. A number of the different strategies are simply not appropriate for therapy throughout July/August. That is the time that I have to have a wholesome hive – on the brink of increase wholesome Winter bees.
As a result of this technique doesn’t kill mites hidden contained in the brood cell, the southern beekeepers I do know – repeat this therapy each 5-7 days for 3 occasions. Thereby, overlaying an entire employee bee brood cycle.
Utilizing OA Vaporization is suitable with the recent summer season temperatures throughout my therapy window.
Fogging with Oxalic Acid- Do you have to?
You’ll hear numerous data on the web and Youtube about fogging with Oxalic Acid.
We people are all the time in search of a better technique to do issues. No hurt in that -but you might hurt your self or your bees.
Fogging with OA shouldn’t be authorised within the US (at the moment). I’ve not seen any authorised analysis experiences that say it’s a good suggestion. I cannot use this technique for the current.
Maintaining Wholesome Bees
In abstract, the beekeeper is accountable for managing the bees. You might select to do nothing and see if the bees survive. However, most colonies is not going to. Each beekeeper has a accountability to aim holding wholesome hives.
Is there one excellent technique to kill mites with none probability of hurt to the bees or contamination of beeswax? No, not but.
Select a mite therapy possibility and take a look at it. If, the primary one doesn’t work, attempt once more. After treating, do one other mite rely. Don’t assume the therapy labored.
Perhaps you wish to attempt treatment-free beekeeping. Okay, however discover a respected supply for therapy free bees. Attempt to go therapy free with common predominant stream bees and you should have numerous useless bees.
Are there different administration methods in use for varroa? Sure, completely. Nevertheless, simply because one thing could not kill your colony doesn’t imply it has not triggered hurt.
Hold a log of what labored or didn’t work in your colonies annually. Good hive information could make beekeeping extra pleasurable.
Report your beekeeping yr in your beekeeping journal so you should have years of information on which sort of varroa mite remedies you will have used and the outcomes.