Hurrah! My bees have varroa!

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Jul 8, 2010
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None of my own
Throughout the summer I've been diligently checking varroa drop and not yet found any. I'm aware that it is a rare colony that has no varroa, so I was concerned that my eyesight wasn't up to finding them, even with glasses and a magnyfying glass (not even managed to spot eggs thus far, though I'm a bit better with larvae).

However this weekend, two weeks into Apilif Var treatment, I found half a dozen of the little bleeders on one of my bright yellow Thornes tray (also by the way a handy home for earwigs)

Probably the last time I'll be pleased to see them mind.
I've just checked the Sticky-Back-Plastick-Board, after a 2-week Apiguard treatment, and the varroa drop was MASSIVE. I am talking in the HUNDREDS.

On a hive that has had spectacularly low counts for the last 14 months, this was rather depressing :(

How the h***l did it happen!?
Non Hygenice bees?
My Italian bees are somewhat like that, hardly any drop thru year, but big infrestations, they're not very good at grooming each other.
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I've had a similar experience, Monsieur: I didn't find any mites at all from drop onto the board, or from icing-sugar dusting. Not a whisker. But an Apilife var treatment managed to dislodge 6 from one colony, and two from the other. I share your joy at getting confirmation of their presence, one way or the other!

I have also seen a hive apparently free of varroa which had a substantial mite drop after Apilife var, so I'm coming to the conclusion that mite drop isn't a good indication of infestation. You just have to get to know the bees in question... and some of them, it seems, groom mites off a lot better than others:Angel_anim:. Mine are Buckfasts, and seem to groom themselves quite well. Still, I'm glad I treated them.
I've just checked the Sticky-Back-Plastick-Board, after a 2-week Apiguard treatment, and the varroa drop was MASSIVE. I am talking in the HUNDREDS.

On a hive that has had spectacularly low counts for the last 14 months, this was rather depressing :(

How the h***l did it happen!?

I also saw hugely increased drops within 24 hrs of adding thymol. My view is that the large drop is due to the fumes are knocking them down all of a sudden, not due to there being a sudden swelling in the mite population.
Folks, this has nothing to do with hygenic bees or anything else like that. Varroa is endemic throughout almost all of UK and every hive has them - unless you go through the bees and hand inspect every bee plus destroy any sealed brood - don't laugh it has been done. I am sure it was effective but it is not a technique for everyone.

All your hives have varroa and time and again people learn that daily varroa drops are not a reliable guide to the level of infestation.

There is only one way to find out how many varroa you have and that is to carry out an effective treatment and see how many fall out.
My first tray of varroa (after being told by the Inspector that it had high levels) showed zero drop in 2 weeks, and the next tray 180 in 2 weeks...for a 'high infestation hive'? Having taken advice I am trying Hivemaker's app. if they don't fall then I shall assume safe levels - you can't continually treat!
I made up a 5 frame nuc using 2 brood, 1 food and 2 foundation, the 3 "full" frames with their bees came from 3 different colonies. They were on a solid floor and left for a week for the mated queen to settle in and start laying.

First check after 10 days, showed all well eggs and larvae present, nuc was moved onto an OMF, the solid floor was checked and showed 46 varroa!! a half tray of Apiguard was given and a varroa count made 3 days later - wait for it -


4 days later a further 652 - as near as dammit 1500 in a week:cuss::cuss:

The three donor colonies have not shown a high drop all summer and are now being treated as are ALL my colonies. Complacency kills colonies - here endeth the lesson.

PS Sad I know but I sat with a magnifying glass and tweezers and counted every damn one!!
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Which means you really didn't have many varroa or the treatment was ineffective. What did you use?

i think i didnt have many varroa, the colony was made up from one i had split earlier in the summer when it became Q-.
they were several weeks without a queen. after the Q mated in one hive and still no Q in the other, i re united them. so there was no brood for quite some time. they are now going great guns though!!! :)

Oh, i used Apiguard!
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Hi can anyone tell me how varro is transfered from hive to hive ,it appear's to have started in this country in south and has now reached scotland, as these thing don't look like they can fly surley it must bee bad mangment somewhere as if every body is treating it , is it transferd by people moving hive's about, on peoples clothes, simler to foot and mouth where they make a lot of fuss about washing boots and cattle trucks trucks, but you see on televison protetive clothes, taken off at farm gates and going back on for next inspection.
It is transferred on bees... either bees drifting into a different hive, or beekeepers transporting (including importing) bees.

If a colony gets sick, the remaining bees may try to find a new colony to join and take their varroa with them. You can reduce the risk of transferrring varroa between colonies by treating your colonies at about the same time against it.
In addition - robbing, and contact with other bees on flowers even.

Not quite like foot and mouth which is a pathogen rather than 2mm sized parasite.

Regards, RAB
Drones are welcome in any hive , are strong fliers , will follow Queens back to their hives from the drone congregation areas.
I would think the biggest vector for the transportation of varroa is indeed the 'drone'

John Wilkinson
Interesting John.

If this is so, why shouldn't we all put a piece of queen excluder across the entrances oif the hives and cull drone comb as much as possible? (assuming we are not wanting to have queens mated) keep the drones and varoa out?

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