Tag Archives: varroa mites

Varroa in the House

In my previous post, I mentioned that I removed 8 frames of honey from the hive over the weekend. One them had a line of drone cells on the very bottom of the frame.

drone larvae

Here is a closer shot.

drone larvae

I took a small spoon to remove the drones and wax before starting the harvest, and I was horrified to see varroa mites scurry out of the cells as I scooped them out. I’ve checked the hive regularly for mites over the past year, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen them. They do prefer drone cells, and the hive has been producing a bunch being spring time and all.

Here is a shot after removing the comb.

drone larvae with varroa mites

Here’s a closeup of the nasty little bugger.

varroa mite

I’ll need to be more vigilant in my inspections over the next few weeks, and I’ll put a sticky mat on my bottom board next week to do a mite drop count. This does give me pause about sharing some brood frames when I install my package next week because I’d hate to introduce mites into the new hive right off the bat.

Any suggestions on non-chemical mite control? Do those drone frames actually work?

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Did Jurassic Park Teach us Nothing?

The BBC is reporting that scientists have developed a technique to “switch off” genes in the Varroa mite which is a major pest of honeybees. They hope this technique will eventually be used to force the mites to “self-destruct”.

I’ve sung Bee Weaver’s praises before, but they stopped treating for Varroa mites over 15 years ago. They lost a lot of their hives initially, but over time, natural selection created the right combination of behaviors to cope with this pest. To me, this is a better method (along with good Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) techniques) for coping with Varroa mites then trying to genetically engineer your way to a solution.

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