Controlling Varroa Mite Without Medication
Today, I want to show you how to control your varroa mites without treatments.
Before I begin, let me encourage you to take one of my online beekeeping workshops from the comfort of your home. Save time and travel expense. Learn at your own pace, watching videos as you have time. Avoid standing out in the heat in a hot bee suit. Learn when you are most alert and not distracted by the heat, a hot bee suit and getting stung.
Choose a Course Below:
Basic Beekeeping: Learn The Fundamentals of Beekeeping
Spring Management: Swarm Control, Making Splits
Queen Rearing: How To Raise Quality Queens
Advanced Beekeeping: A Deeper Approach To Beekeeping
Getting Your Bees Through The Winter
Controlling Varroa Mites
In our classes we teach a four level approach to mite control:
1. Screen Bottom Board
2. Green Drone Comb Trapping
3. Powdered Sugar Dusting
4. Breaking The Queen's Brood Cycle
If the mite infestation cannot be controlled with the above measures, it may be necessary to use an "acid" to keep your mites below 3% (3 mites on 100 bees). The higher the mite count, the higher the risk is for your colony to fail during the winter from viruses which are spread by varroa mites.
The screen bottom board allows mites to fall outside the hive. When bees clean off mites from other bees and they fall, they will land on a solid bottom board and climb back onto a passing bee. Screen bottom boards allow mites to fall out of the hive.
Green drone comb trapping is one of the most effective ways to control mites. Mites prefer the drone cells because the female mite can have more offspring in the longer gestation period of the developing drone. Once the green drone comb is capped over, you freeze it for two days killing all the mites. Place it back into the hive and repeat.
Powder sugar dusting helps control mites by causing the mites to lose their grip. Dusting one cup of powdered sugar between frames once a week for three weeks is most effective.
Breaking the queen's brood cycle controls mites by reducing bee brood where mites reproduce. Caging your queen for seven days can greatly reduce the development of mites.