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  • Varroa Testing

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #3360  by Adam Bee
 04 Jun 2019, 14:35
I have a mite drop of zero.

I’ve been testing by inserting the bottom board for 24 hours, evening to evening, and checking for mites.

So far, none in 4 weeks since I picked up my nuc.

For what it’s worth, I have a few (2-4?) ants on the bottom board at any one time, ants around the base of the hive and a few ants warming brood above the crown board.

They could be harvesting any mites that drop, but it’s just a guess.

What do you feel is the best way to check for mites?

Should I invest in a shaker and try either powdered sugar (more humane?) or alcohol (more accurate?) test; just be happy that I bought a clean nuc and nothing on the bottom board; or try something else?

I’m caught in that conundrum of not wanting to be paranoid vs not wanting to be lazy.

 #3361  by AdamD
 04 Jun 2019, 15:05
It's probably best to do a test for a week rather than a day. However one thing you can do to stop insects eating the evidence or the mites crawling off the board is to use petroleum jelly or olive oil on the board.

Often varroa is not particularly noticeable as the brood population increases as there are always open cells for them to go in. Once the brood starts to fall in July, the reducing brood numbers and the incessant increased in varroa numbers means that you start to notice deformed wings etc. as the proportion of varroa to bees suddenly increases. If there are mites in drone brood, I tend to start to worry.

Something that seems to have gone out of fashion is to use icing sugar dusting of the bees and to see the mites that fall onto the board afterwards. Probably, as it's not a good way of quantifying the problem - unless you are shocked by the numbers!
 #3364  by Jim Norfolk
 04 Jun 2019, 18:13
I am not surprised at a zero mite drop at this time of year. It seems to be the norm in most colonies in spring. If you want further evidence you could try a sugar shake of 100g icing suger over the brood box which will dislodge enough mites from adult bees and onto the board to give a good indication of mite numbers. For a number of reasons mite numbers build up from July onwards which is why it is usual to apply some sort of teatment as soon as the honey crop is taken off.
 #3371  by Adam Bee
 04 Jun 2019, 22:43
Well, I don't think I'll have any honey crop this year. This is a new colony from a nuc about 4 weeks ago, they fill about 1.5 medium boxes right now, with no real extra honey. There are a couple frames of pure stores, as of last Thursday, but that was all. They are working flat out to rear brood.
 #3378  by AdamD
 05 Jun 2019, 08:47
The main honey flow for me is in July when the blackberry flowers. You might be lucky with the honey! Varroa treatment goes on after the honey comes off.