New Varroa Treatment

Okay I don’t know if it is actually new, the method is so simple that I can’t imagine that no one has ever used this before. There was an article in the monthly magazine given out by the Dutch national beekeepers association about this Varroa treatment and I had not yet heard of it, it sounds quite intuitive.

In this treatment you would wait till after the last honey harvest so this time table is dependent on when you finished that. Starting too late will perhaps impact the rearing of winter bees. With this treatment, say in the first week of July, the queen should be caught and then trapped between two queen excluders in a honey super with at least 5 drawn frames at the bottom of the hive. Two weeks later the frames with brood should be removed and replaced with new drawn frames. A week after this, the queen excluders should be removed and a week later still you should remove the frames with closed brood along with the the honey super.

Now the idea behind this method should be quite evident and seems simple. You don’t give the varroa any other place to hide accept in the brood, trapped in the supper with the queen. By taking away the brood you, over a number of weeks, take away most if not all Varroa mites.

The only drawback of this method I see, is that this would impact the bee population quite dramatically. You would essentially be removing almost 4 weeks of new bees from the hive. The reasoning behind this method according to the article was that treatment with formic acid, which is common in the Netherlands at the end of summer, takes a hefty toll on the bees. Living in the fumes of 80% formic acid for over 3 weeks can’t be fun. I should know, I got 80% formic acid in my face once and let me tel you, that wasn’t pleasant.

So I guess all methods of treatment have drawbacks and you should go by you’re own experience. But with the number of colonies I have (uhm…one), I can’t experiment. So I guess this year I’ll be using the method I used last year which was the Apiguard variety. But this year I’ll keep a close eye on the mite drop (and look for any ants) not forgetting the Vaseline this time.

Andrew

(link to article on new site: http://bees.millar-knorr.nl/beekeeping/new-varroa-treatment/)

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