Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sugar coated bees

After reading an article in the American Bee Journal, I decided to try a chemical free and cutting edge treatment for varroa mites. Basically, this method involves simply dusting the bees with two cups of powdered sugar, which interferes with the ability of the mites to attach themselves to the bees. This works because the sticky foot pad of the mites is ineffective once it is covered in powdered sugar. With the foot pad out of commission, the mites fall off the bees. Thus, this is a mechanical way to prevent mites, rather than a chemical.

I put a metal window screen on top of an empty super and brushed the sugar through it onto the bees below. The bees sounded kind of pissed.

Three hours after dusting, there were 26 mites that had fallen off the bees through the screened bottom board. I was hoping for more, but mites are not a huge problem for my bees at this point. As long as I do this every three weeks or so, along with the removal of the capped drone brood (mites reproduce in drone comb), I hope to minimize the mite threat.

What could be better than bees coated with powdered sugar?
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