You are a rookie beekeeper. Your job will be to make sure that everything works smoothly in your new colony. You’ve taken the time to prepare your hive and you’ve managed it well. Diseases, parasites and viruses are also issues you need to be concerned about because they are present in all types of livestock. The same is true for bees.
Varroa mites are venomous tiny parasites that every beekeeper wishes to eradicate. If not treated on time, these mites could wipe out entire bee colonies. As a result, there are a variety of strategies available to control and even totally eliminate these pesky spiders. So, how to treat Varroa mite and save your bees.
What are Varroa mites?
Varroa mites are a vexing pest that sends shivers up beekeepers’ spines. These little insects are one of the most serious threats to honeybee populations.
They usually hitch rides on worker bees foraging outside the hive. When they arrive in the hive on the back of their naïve pilot bee, they look find an uncapped cell and bunker down. Unsuspecting nurse bees cap the cell after the queen places her egg in it. The Varroa mite feeds on developing pupae, resulting in malformations or death of the baby bee.
Mites can also cling to the bottom of adult bees by squeezing between body segments. They then proceed to extract fat from the bee’s blood, causing the bee to become weak and die. As a result, the hive produces less honey and the colony dies early.
Varroa mite infestation symptoms
The Varroa tick is an extremely small tick, but you can still see it with the naked eye. You can quickly determine if this mite is invading your hive if you know what to look for.
- You can observe the developing nymphs for small red-brown spots. They are tiny. But the mites on the white pupae are considerably more visible than on an adult bee.
- You can also judge by tracking increased mortality. Dead bees are normal, but if more bees die than usual, your bees may become infected.
- Check to see if any of your young bees are malformed. If they lack legs or have difficulty flying, it could be because Varroa Mite shared umbrellas with them as a pupa.
You can still see ticks on adult bees, but they are more difficult to spot since they mix in with the dark outer color of the bees. These little bugs feature reddish brown markings, are flat, spherical, with legs, and measure around 1 mm long. So you might want to get a magnifying lens.
Varroa mite treatment with oxalic acid.
What is oxalic acid?
Oxalic acid is a natural substance found in plants and that is classified as an organic chemical. If you have ever eaten a fresh stem of rhubarb and felt your lips pucker and glands swell, that is oxalic acid at work.
Plants use oxalic acid as a defensive mechanism. It is extremely acidic and, due to its sour flavor, is not consumed by insects or animals. It has long been used by beekeepers in Europe and Canada, but it was just recently licensed for use in the United States.
When a Varroa Mite infection is identified, beekeepers frequently employ oxalic acid as a Varroa Mite therapy. When a small amount of the acid is evaporated in the hive, it kills ticks while leaving the bees uninjured.
The Varroa mite treatment process
You can get this acid through beekeeping websites, Amazon, or in stores. You should buy pure oxalic acid with no additives. An oxalic acid vaporizer, which connects to a power source and converts powdered acid into vapor, is also required.
Be careful: Oxalic acid is a dangerous toxin, and you should use protective clothing when handling and treating the hive. To protect yourself from harmful fumes, you will need a respirator, gloves, and safety glasses. Before beginning therapy, make sure to read all the manufacturer’s instructions.
When to treat your hive
When selecting when to treat your hive, it is critical to consider the time of year and the state of the hive. If your hive is brooding, the acid will not reach the mites that are hiding among the pupae.
Therefore, you should handle the hive during the months without parents. Try to catch your hive at a time of day when all the bees have settled down and are not out foraging.
How to treat your hive with oxalic acid?
Although oxalic acid is not poisonous to bees, excessive amounts can kill them. Before using it, read the label to determine the recommended dosage.
- Use your smoking pipe to calm your hive before opening it
- Wear protective gear along with respirator, goggles, and gloves.
- You should move the bee further down the hive. If they are still hanging around in the super hive, try to move them down to the body of the hive.
- For each urticaria treatment, use ¼ teaspoon of powdered oxalic acid or the amount advised by the manufacturer. Place the acid in your vaporizer and time how long it takes for it to completely evaporate.
- Place the vaporizer and acid on the bottom of the hive and let it evaporate for the preset time.
- Repeat the process at least twice more, one week apart. If there are any cap cells with pupae and ticks growing together, this will catch up with the parent cycle.
After finishing your Varroa Mite treatment cycle, wipe the bottom of your hive of dead mites. Your bees will be unhurt and much happier after you have assisted in ridding them of these harmful mites. Throughout the year, you should always recheck your hive during routine management checks. Your bees will appreciate it.
Mite away quick strips
Mite Away Quick strips are an effective approach to eliminating varroa mites over time. The presence of formic acid in the plant gel is essential to its efficacy. It can kill up to 95% of varroa mites.
These strips are extremely safe for bees because they leave no sign of hazardous chemicals behind. It is simple to use because of its slim design, which fits into the gaps between the honeycombs. The box comprises four strips, which are sufficient to treat two rashes.
Mann Lake DC-799 Apivar
Mann Lake DC-799 Apivar is a pack of 10 plastic strips capable of killing up to 99% of ticks in one simple operation.
The Amitraz component of this product can last for more than six weeks. It does not leave any kind of toxic residue, ensuring the safety of the entire bee colony. It is very easy to use: just place a strip on five bee frames. Its price is also very affordable.
Green beehives the Victor
Green beehives is a telescopic heater with a thermostat designed to get rid of Varroa mites without chemicals. You can buy this product as an 8 frame or 10 frame tool for the same price.
The tool is also programmed to shut down after three hours. Victor’s initial application promises an 80 percent kill rate of Varroa ticks. A two-week follow-up therapy will increase the kill rate to 95%. Count the mites before treating them to ensure you are getting an effective treatment. This will assist you in determining whether extra treatment is required.
The following are some of the best varroa tick treatments available on the market today. Whichever product you select, it has the potential to produce amazing results.
You should also think about the various types of oxalic acid therapy for Varroa mites in honey bees. The technique of application is up to the individual beekeeper. When deciding on an application method, you must consider the amount of beehives you have, as well as long-term suitability and safety.