Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

August 3, 2019

Mites

Between now and October will be the time to treat for Varroa Mites. Before you treat, checking for mites is a must. If you don’t check, how will you know if you need to or when you treat and check afterword, you will not know if the treatment was needed? You need to put a sticky board in or under the hive during the treatment time. That way you can see if the treatment works.

To have a sticky board, you can purchase it from you bee supplier or you can make the sticky board by procuring a political sign and cutting it to size then smear Vaseline over the sheet. The mites will stick to the board and die and then you can count them. After the treatment repeat the check to find out if the treatment worked.

There are two ways that I would recommend for checking for mites. 1) Use a drop sticky board either on the floor of the solid bottom board to catch the natural drop of mites, or put it below the screen bottom board. 2) Use either alcohol or powdered confectioner sugar. 

To use either of Number two, you need to get a half pint jar (a pint jar will work), put about 2 inches of bees in there. About an inch in a pint jar. That will be just about 100 bees. You want to get the bees that are on the brood area. These are the nurse bees and they usually have the most mites. Next put just enough powder or alcohol to cover the bees. Shake the bees with the powder sugar gently to get them covered completely then using a screen to cover the top of the jar, shake the powdered sugar into a white plate with or without water and you will see the mites that were dislodged. Count them and know the amount of mites. Release the bees and they will find their way home.

The alcohol will kill the bees so you shake the jar vigorously and then  roll the jar and count the mites on the side of the glass.

You must follow the instructions on the treatment package. Either take the honey off the hive and freeze it or put the honey on another hive to keep the honey from being over run with larvae.  I personally do not have a freezer that can be dedicated to the honey operation, so I would either put the super(s) on another colony, or extract the honey and feed it back to the bees when I have ended the medication time and continue on with the bee season.

The reason for extracting the honey is while it is in the super sitting in the extraction building, the eggs that may be in the honey will hatch and the larvae of the Small Hive Beetle will get into the honey and slime the honey to become unusable for either you or the bees. When extracting, you will strain the eggs out and you won’t have any problems arise.

It is recommended that you use MiteAway, Varroa EasyCheck, Apiguard, or Oxalic Acid to name four of the treatments. Use one in the summer and a different one in the winter. That will keep the mites from becoming immune as quickly as if you used only one kind of treatment all the time.

I would suggest that you have a mentor with you the first time so he could coach you. It is easy but sometimes it helps to have someone to talk you through your first time.

After you have treated the time on the label, you can take the honey super out of the freezer and let it thaw to room temp, put it back on the hive and the bees will continue to go about their business. If they need the honey, they will continue on just like it was never taken away.

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