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Varroa Mites Monitoring and Control

Monitoring mites is on most beekeepers’ minds. So we’ve come up with a few simple ways to manage and monitor the varroa mite population in your hive.

A screened bottom board is a great piece of equipment to have in your beekeeping inventory. It serves as a multi-function tool that can help your bees continue to survive and thrive. First and foremost, it increases ventilation. During periods of peak nectar flow, the bees dehydrate newly arrived nectar by fanning their wings. With the screened bottom board and its added ventilation, this work on dehydrating is decreased. Screened bottom boards also aid in the reduction of mites present within the brood (which is where the mite reproduces).

And with a screened bottom board, you have the option of utilizing the gridded debris board. The gridded debris board slides into the screen bottom board on the underside of the screen. The grids provided help the you count the amount of mites that have dropped onto the board. Simply coat the board with vegetable oil, slide it in, then wait three days. After the three days, take the gridded board out, count the mites, and divide the number by three to give you an average mite drop per 24-hour period.

A Screened bottom board works to help control the varroa population in your hive

If, by chance, you discover you have a mite problem, or you are just looking for a less chemical-heavy method for aiding in the battle with mites, you may consider utilizing our drone comb frame. This frame and its special sized foundation will become a frame of drone brood once the bees draw it out and the queen lays eggs in it. Due to the extended life cycle of drone brood (24 days), it is preferred by the varroa mite. This extended period of time allows the varroa mite to fully complete its life cycle, therefore creating more mites. With the drone comb frame the beekeeper now has the capability to intentionally create drone brood and then remove it. Once the frame of capped drone brood is removed, the beekeeper must freeze it for 24 hours. This procedure will not completely rid the colony of mites, but it will help reduce the number of mites.

6 comments on “Varroa Mites Monitoring and Control
  1. Chelsea says:

    Great info for handling mites when it comes to your bees! We are a tree service that see mites often, and they can be hard to get rid of. Thanks for taking the time to share this info!

  2. Patricia A. D'Amore says:

    Are you saying that you freeze the whole frame once you have removed the capped drone?

  3. Shar says:

    Mites have not, yet, hurt the hive. I know u need more pollen for the bees. Is there a product?

  4. janvier ott says:

    Been using oxalic acid for as long as approved in USA and maybe awhile before. I have used Formica acid too. Nasty to handle. Use the WVU method and make up my own pads. Back to OA. have bought pans and have made my own. Be careful as to getting too big of pans with a large cutout. It takes to long to vap I treated mine after honey removal ~ end June. I treat for a least 3 wks at 7 day space and the 4th wk sometimes for good measure. This is hot work in the heat. I try to do same in September and 1 time end October to end of November. There is no brood in winter. Try to do it again in March. I do about 40 hives and have not seen any queen deaths. If there are any. Treating for mites is a requirement!

  5. janvier ott says:

    A cup band heater 115vac powered vaporizer is a good way to use OA. The unit has a “snout” coming out ~1/2″ from the top edge at a 45deg, running down the side of the cup and bend at a 90deg to go in to the hive. The cup is surround by a band heater with the tube to be under the bolts that hold the heater on the vaporizer. This keeps the snout heated down the outside of the cup and gives good vapor cloud into the hive. The cup is preheat to ~235C and then the OA is dump into the cup via a hollowed out plug that also plugs the cup and forces vapor into the hive. I run 3 units at a time, setting up groups of 4 hives for a total of 12 hives. Have a entrance stick and timer for each hive (12 ea). I start 1st, then 5th, and 9th with a 10min timer on top of each. By the time the 9th is started the 1st vaporizer is move to the 2nd, then the 5th to the 6th; etc. By the time the 12th is started the 1st timer is going off and so on. Then I move them setup to the next 12; etc. I use to run 2 sets of 6 pan vaps using 6 battery chargers and timers to shut down the chargers at 3min and alarm at 10min. The pan chargers can really “upset” the bees and many can come out when pulling the pans. “Mean” hives can cover your hands! The copper cups kill less bees than pans in the hive and when removing the snout from the 1/4″ hole in the entrance stick the bees don’t follow it out. Bees on the outside returning to the hive stay away from the hot cup and there is not cloth rag with returning bees to kept in place as when removing the pans. I’m doing my bees 4 weeks in Jul after spring flow removed, once at the ~Oct after fall flow removed and one at the end of Nov depending on the weather. If the weather is good (above 50degF) I intend to do them again in ~Feb-Mar. The copper cup is “SO EASY”.
    I run screened bottom boards with shelf slid in bottom to hold sticky papers. When vaping hive, I have an ~4″ corrugated plastic extension fasten to bottom of the sticks into the hives to help allow the vapor up into the hive. I have setup 3 medium 8fr supper with frame and drawn wax, a bottom, and a top (I run this as my hive bodies in lieu of 2 large bodies) and ran vap cycle. The frames have been dusted and some vapor out the top cracks. If 115vac is available, via of extension, ~1KVA generator, or maybe and inverter battery setup, I think the copper cup is the way to go at this time if have ~4 or more hives.

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