Harmful Bee Pests
There are many pests which infest honey bees and their hives. We try to provide informative articles on those pests. How best to manage them either through natural, chemical or beehive management techniques are covered. We hope you find our articles on bee pest management useful and informative.
What is Varroa Destructor?
Varroa Mite, an invasive pest of the honey bee is destroying hives at an alarming rate. Varroa Destructor is not a native species to North America. As such our bees have no natural defense against this parasite. The truth is that varroa destructor will kill your hives. It usually does this over the winter. However, the mite causes issues all year as they carry many viruses which affect honey bees, such as deformed wing virus among others. The mites cause anemia in the bees and drastically reduce overall hive population in all seasons. This causes low brood production and with fewer bees, lower honey yields.
Do you have varroa mites?
If you keep bees in North America, you likely have varroa mites. You can choose to treat and ensure a healthy population of bees, or you can decide not to treat and constantly replace your hives which were too weakened by mites and die over the winter or even in the summer! Not treating also does a disservice to neighboring bee hives as the mites transfer from bee to bee at the nectar locations all bees frequent. In other words, if you have mites, you are giving them to your neighbors!
How do I test for mites?
The mites are small and are hard to see on fast moving bees. The preferred method to test for them is with an alcohol wash. To test get a mason jar and fill it half way up with rubbing alcohol. Next, shake about 1/2 cup of bees (app. 300 bees) into a tub. Use the 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop up the bees and drop them in the jar of alcohol. Place the lid on the jar and shake the bees vigorously in the alcohol for at least 20 seconds. The mites in an effort to not die will detach from the bees and will sink to the bottom. You may not like killing 300 bees, but it is better than losing 50,000 per season in a small bee yard due to high mite levels.
Next, count the mites in the bottom of the jar then divide by 3 to get your % mite level. For instance, if you get 10 mites divide 10 by 3 for a 3.33% infestation. You should treat any hive that has over a 2% infestation or 6 mites per 300 bees.
You do not need to test for mites if you treat once in the spring and once in the fall, you will keep a handle on the mite levels without the need to test.
I have mites what do I do?
We offer treatment services in Lenoir, Greene, Pitt, Craven, Duplin, Wayne and Jones counties. The cost is $5.00 per hive plus a $25 fuel fee. There is a large discount for a large number of hives. The more hives, the larger the discount. The treatment must be repeated three times to get 100% mite kill. This is due to the fact that treatment does not kill mites which are incubating inside of sealed brood cells. The first treatment kills exposed mites, the second treatment done 5 days later kills hatching mites and the last treatment in another 5 days kills the last of the mites. The price is per treatment day, not for the whole series.
How do I order this service?
In our store, you will find the Varroa Treatment Service product. Simply order the product and select how many hives are to be treated.
Short video to show the effectiveness of Freeman style small hive beetle traps after being placed on an infected hive for 24 hours.