Beekeepers looking to keep their hives alive and well know they must learn how to protect their bees from Varroa mites. If not properly managed, these pests can destroy entire hives. This article will provide some techniques for how to deal with the nefarious invaders.
Varroa mites are external parasitic mites that feed on Asian and European honey bees. Invisible to the naked eye, they attach to honey bee bodies and weaken their host by sucking on fat bodies. Fat bodies are insect tissue mostly made of storage cells. Varroa mite infestations could lead to the destruction of an entire colony.
There are several chemical options that will help as you learn how to protect your bees from Varroa mites. These methods should not be used for preventative purposes, as they might wear off before the point of attack. Instead, use them infrequently as a treatment immediately after discovering the presence of mites.
- Apistan (fluvalinate): These chemical strips are effective in killing Varroa mites. When the bees touch the strips, a sampling of its miticide, a chemical substance that kills mites, will rub onto their bodies. The miticide will spread throughout the hive as they interact with more bees.
- CheckMite +: When the mites become resistant to a drug, it is necessary to switch between two or three other miticides. CheckMite + are strips that work on similar principles as Apistan. But new beekeepers will find this method a bit too tricky, as it is suited for more experienced beekeepers.
- Mite-Away II (Formic Acid): This method uses gel packs. An effective treatment, the acid keeps away the mites. Similar to CheckMite +, it can be difficult to utilize this tactic.
A natural method that will help prevent Varroa mite infestations, you can remove each frame and dust the bees with powdered, plain sugar. Make sure to avoid open cells and repeat this practice every couple of weeks.
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