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.
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.