Saturday, July 29, 2017

Husbandry: Controlling Varroa Mites in Bee Colonies


Varroa mites are a voracious threat to honey bees in some areas. If left untreated, they can build population levels that will destroy a populous colony.

"There is no chemical or management procedure that will completely eradicate this pest, so individual treatment regimes must be developed," writes James E. Tew in The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver. "One method is drone brood trapping. Drones require approximately 23 days to mature, while workers require just shy of 21 days. Apparently due to the longer development time, Varroa mites preferentially seek out developing drones. You can therefore use drone combs to attract mites away from other areas of the brood nest."

Once the comb is filled and the drone brood is mostly capped, it should be removed and placed in a freezer. Both drones and mites will be killed, and the comb can be reused.

During warm months, Tew suggests performing this eradication procedure about every 18–20 days.

Artwork: Beehive Kit
Husbandry
Animal Husbandry and Livestock Books
The Beekeeper's Problem Solver

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