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Is icing sugar effective against varroa ?

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JCBrum 

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:confused: As a newbeek with acquired nucs and a captured swarm I'm considering what action to take against varroa.

I'm assuming my bees have at least some infestation, and will treat with something (oxalic ? apiguard ?) later in the year, but for now I'm considering fortnightly dusting with icing sugar, as suggested by one of the nuc suppliers.

However I read this report which seems to say it offers no benefit.

http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/20090217_5

Can anyone say whether in their experience it has any benefit or is it merely a forlorn hope ?

JC.
 

Polyanwood 

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I didn't like icing sugar dusting. Easy to make a mess and attract robbers. I have read other stuff that says that as long as you take out each frame and carefully dust both sides, it works a little in knocking down some varroa. You do have to do it regualrly to have much impact.

Other easy methods of varoa control that work: Beevital Hiveclean works to limit varroa. It does cost £1 a sachet, but you don't have to be broodless to use it and you can use it every time you inspect. You dribble 15ml between the seams of bees. Drone brood removal also works. (The drones will have purple eyes...at first I thought they were varroa!.....I'm sure you won't!)
 

Eyeman 

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I use it in combination with open mesh floor, winter oxalic acid and oxalic acid when broodless during the summer (artifical or natural swarms).
I believe it can help prevent your mite numbers rising during the season b ut is not effective in controlling a colony with already high mite numbers.
I was at a demonstration where we checked the mite drop after a single icing sugar dusting- 200 mites in 30 minutes. So it does knock them off.
 

hedgerow pete 

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just to be clear the icing sugar does not knock the varroa off the dusting of sugar makes the bees clean each other and as so the bees remove the mites them selves. as for it working or not, i would use it as a tool against but part of not the whole package, i used to know one lady who used to dust very frequently the idea was that with grub control, ie removal of drone stocks and the dustings she would eventualy remove the mite completly from the hive, and i must say that after several years at it she was completly mite free. there are millons of words printed every day about varroa mites infecting stocks but it should be remembered that there are many bee keepers who are varroa free on there stocks and are likly to stay that way as well
 

JCBrum 

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Thank-you to all who have responded so far. I think I will commence dusting with icing sugar.

I had imagined putting some in a sieve and shaking over the top of the open bb, but is it better to take out each frame and hold it horizontally whilst coating the bees, and then turn over to dust the other side ?

Does anyone have any tips as to exactly how to apply it ?

JC.
 

victor meldrew 

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Talcum powder containers work well.
I've inherited a snazzy stainless steel chocolate shaker, very nice , it even makes ME look professional :hat:.
Whether icing sugar dusting is effective or not remains to be seen. A guy in our branch is running a comparative experiment between the 2 methods of application but without the use of an untreated colony as a marker ?.

John Wilkinson
 

MarkyMark 

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Does anyone remove the frame with the queen on before they dust ?
 

Busy Bee 

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A small TRICK for dusting. Mix the icing sugar with flour and you get excellant results in mite drop.


Busy Bee
 

tony350i 

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Can anyone say whether in their experience it has any benefit or is it merely a forlorn hope ?

JC.

------------------------------

hello JC,

Yes dusting with icing sugar does have affect on the mite drop.


Before I got my bees regressed down to drawing consistently 4.9mm foundation, I would only use icing sugar and O/A dribbling on my bees.


Bees remove mites by grooming and the mites lose grip when there feet (suckers) get in contact with the dust which in turn goes hard on the sucker and the mites lose grip.

I only dusted between frames from the top bar and this works better with open mesh floors.

I won’t dust when the temperature was high as it seems to stress the bees .

Don’t leave sugar dust about when you have finished and you won’t get robbing

RegardsTC
 

Polyanwood 

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There is certainly research to show that dribbling oxalic acid works. (I have been using Hive Clean sachets which you can use when there is brood, and that is weak OA. When I use it I get a big drop.) I am yet to be convinced about icing sugar though. I thought the research did not confirm the benefits of icing sugar?
 
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We've been dusting both sides of each frame every fortnight in conjunction with open mesh floors, and this week we pulled loads of drone pupa and found nothing.
 

Polyanwood 

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Well I did icing sugar dusting religiously for a season and felt quite pleased with myself until I realised it was an unproven method. My trial was not controlled. I did not sample the numbers of varroa on the bees before and afterwards and I certainly didn't have a group of control bees that went untreated. The other thing I did on some of the hives, which I was later told was a complete waste of time, is that I did sugar dusting on solid floors, so the mites also just shook themselves off and crept back onto the bees.

I culled drone and saw no varroa, but when i treated with Apiguard and later with oxalic acid - lots fell. I think varroa control is a big deal - hence the droning on:cheers2:
 

tony350i 

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Bees tolerate sugar dusting well , as for flour I would be careful, I personally wouldn’t use it.


-----------------------------

We've been dusting both sides of each frame every fortnight in conjunction with open mesh floors, and this week we pulled loads of drone pupa and found nothing.
----------

that’s good news, when I was dusting I would dust once a week and do it for a full brood turn over for best affect.
I never drone cull and I work some of the drone comb and over size cells out at the end of the year. The bees are pretty good at looking after things them self’s.


TC
 

dobby 

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We made a wooden frame the size of the top of the broad box with a pice of fine net curtain, and a paint brush we find this works well
 

admin 

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Thats a good idea Dobby.

I purchased one of those Stainless baking cups with the spring handle but have not used it yet after 2 years as I have found that Thymol in the Autumn and OA in winter is enough so far.
 

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