Information About Varroa Destructor and Honey Bees – 2016

When a beekeeper dismisses Varroa mite inspections and control, the result will be kissing your bees goodbye.
A few facts on Varroa Destructor.
  • imported from Asia where Apis Cerana developed tactics to defend against them
  • European honeybees have a difficulty fighting against these intrusive insects
  • African(ized) honeybees have been successful defending their colonies from the Varroa.
  • Varroa builds up tolerances against treatments, so varied treatments are a must. One product may be good this time, but ineffective next time.
  • 2 treatments 8 days apart is needed, to kill or weaken the mites active in the hive, as well as those currently incubating with capped brood.
  • Natural treatments for Varroa are not necessarily more safe. There are toxic natural occurring substances.
  • Female mites can live for 2-3 months in summer and 6-8 months during winter.
  • Female mites can lay 5-6 eggs per cell, with one being a male.
  • A frame of capped brood can have 1500 – 3500 cells per side. So mites can rapidly expand in numbers if all the cells are infected with mites (5 each).
  • New packages can have mites.
  • First year hived packages need mite inspections like any other colony. Mites can migrate and infiltrate your colony from nearby colonies, from foraging bees, from robbing bees, and from visiting drones.
  • Packages obtained from the end of package season may have less potential mites due to the mites being packaged earlier.
  • Breaking the brood cycle by naturally requeening leaves less places for the mites to incubate. Multiple requeening, or splits also decreases mite populations in summer.
  • Multiple systems of mite treatment is the most successful. Removing drone frames, grease patties, essential oils such as thymol, oxalic acid treatments, naturally requeening in summer, dusting with powdered sugar, and chemicals.
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