Tag Archives: Varroa

Christmas – Bees and Wintering

Christmas is one of the four quarter days which mark the changing of the seasons.

The four quarter days are:

  • Lady day or the Feast of the Annunciation 25th March;
  • Midsummer’s day around 25th June;
  • Michaelmas 29th September;
  • Christmas 25th December – lest we forget. Fat chance.

They all approximately coincide with either an equinox or a solstice.

Continue reading Christmas – Bees and Wintering

How to Breed Varroa Resistant Bees

It is well known that some colonies of bees have traits such as grooming or hygienic behaviour which make them better able to cope with Varroa. Pinpointing such colonies with the aim of selectively breeding from them can be a challenge. There are several  different methods and they range from the meticulous to the downright ruthless. Continue reading How to Breed Varroa Resistant Bees

MAQStrips – Do they work?

Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) were the beekeepers’ Great White Hope but the results this spring are not great – has something unexpected interfered or were our expectations unrealistic?

The first spring inspections of 2015 have been a bit of a shock. Not that I’ve had many losses – only about 5% – and the cause seems to have been queen failure (Click here for guidance on how to conduct a post mortem). The rest are mainly good and strong heading into the summer.

However there are problems out there… Continue reading MAQStrips – Do they work?

Summer Oxalic Acid Varroa Treatment

Oxalic Acid

Oxalic acid is a very effective treatment for Varroa but only during broodless periods when the kill rate can be above 90%. When brood is present the kill rate is closer to 30% as most of the Varroa are in the brood where this acid cannot reach them. Click here for more on oxalic acid.

For this reason oxalic acid tends to be used during the mid-winter broodless period – if there is one!

However,  winter is not the only time bees are broodless and oxalic acid can also be used during summer broodless periods when the Varroa are phoretic (out and about on the bees).

Summer Treatment

Imagine a swarm…

Continue reading Summer Oxalic Acid Varroa Treatment

Oxalic Acid for Beekeepers

Oxalic acid is known to beekeepers because:

It affects Varroa directly and indirectly. Directly – the acid damages their  mouthparts. Indirectly – it increases grooming activity between bees and more Varroa are dislodged in the process.

  • The mites seem unable to acquire resistance to it;
  • It doesn’t accumulate in beeswax;
  • Doesn’t harm the bees;
  • It is an organic remedy;
  • And a harmless natural component of honey.

But there’s more… Continue reading Oxalic Acid for Beekeepers

Less Serious Brood Diseases

The diseases of honey bee brood are many and varied but they’re all a bit dark and creepy – like Roald Dahl’s child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The two most serious brood diseases are American Foul Brood and European Foul Brood and these strike fear in heart of all beekeepers but we’ll deal with them later.

Here is a table of the less serious brood diseases. Click it for a bigger picture. Continue reading Less Serious Brood Diseases

Mid-winter Varroa Treatment – December 2013

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Trickle treated 35 hives of bees with oxalic acid for Varroa today at 4 apiary sites. The temperature was 6 degrees, windy and beginning to rain. It took from 1.15pm to 4.15pm including travelling time so it has to be said it is the quicker of the two methods. If we had only the one Varrox Vaporiser it would have taken 10 minute per hive – which is nearly 6 hours and without the travelling time. Continue reading Mid-winter Varroa Treatment – December 2013