You’ll hear it said over and over again. Just because you can’t see ‘em doesn’t mean you don’t have ‘em. Varroa mites are small but they are the pest that opens the door to many other pests and pathogens. So, if you want to “keep” bees, not just “have” bees, you need to get good at checking for them and treating for them.
Varroa mites are one of the greatest threats to honeybees. If you don’t have them, your neighboring apiary might and on a bee’s next foraging flight, the mites will jump to a healthy bee. Now, you do have them!
You can’t tell what’s going on in a hive just by watching what’s happening on the landing board. If you wait till you see bees dragging out larvae of small hive beetles (SHB) or wax moths (larger with wax bits all around and webbing silk), your hive will be in its last days.
At the resources below you can watch demonstration videos. You’ll learn how varroa kill bees, see comparisons of various treatment options, learn how to sample, and how to build an integrated pest management (IPM) plan.
Here are two top resources for you to explore:
The Two Bees in a podcast with Randy Oliver can be found by going to the UF site at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honey-bee/ Scroll through the top banner until you get to the Two Bees in a Podcast title. Click on it, then choose episode 6.
The Honey Bee Health Coalition Guide Varroa Guide can be found at https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org. in the third column.
If you are sampling, please reply to Tony Hogg's question on the Forum.
Thanks to Charles McCullion, ABA Board of Managers member for input to this article.