There are a number of varroa treatments used by beekeepers, but with all treatments for this dreaded mite. You may wish to gain advice from your Bee Inspector with regard to the appropriate dose, in order to avoid harm to the honey bee colony. This page looks at chemical and non-synthetic controls. However, it is only an introduction at this stage. Please visit again for further information.
One of the perhaps controversial methods of controlling varroa mite is in the use of what are essentially pesticides to control an insect pest on another insect.
These are administered to a colony by placing plastic strips impregnated
with the chemical, inside the hive. An example of a chemical varroa
treatment is Apistan, which is a pyrethroid pesticide – note pyrethroids
are chemical pesticides also used by farmers on crops.
However, the mites have been found to develop resistances to the chemical treatments, and it is perhaps a grim irony that an EU motion proposed to assist agro-chemical companies in the marketing of their bee medicines - read more (opens a new window).
I found an interesting point of view expressed in a book by Phil Chandler, author of “The Barefoot Beekeeper” and 'Managing The Top Bar Hive". He said:
He then goes on to say:
Dr David Heaf has a further interesting view:
Personally, I’m more in favour of keeping synthetic chemicals out of bee hives, especially pesticides.
You may wish to go along with David Heaf's approach, but if not, here are some alternative solutions for varroa mite, used by some beekeepers.
This varroa treatment is best used with mesh floors, which allow mites to fall clear away from the bee colony.
It can be applied by trickling the sugar between frames, or sieving it over the bees, or blowing it. It works by causing the mites to lose their grip on the body of the bee, hence they fall off. Icing sugar can also be applied when introducing a new swarm to an empty hive, to protect against any mites that may have hitched a lift into their new home.
NOT caster sugar.
These include formic, oxalic and lactic acids. Lemon juice is of course acidic. I read an interesting study that showed lemon juice to be effective in controlling varroa mite, with reduction of Varroa to reach upto 86.6%. You can read about this study here:
Varroa and Lemon Juice Treatment
Thymus powder (as in, derived from the Thymus or Thyme plant) can also be placed inside the hive on a shallow tray.
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