Aug /early Sept are “deal with mites time”.
Ensure your hives survive winter.
When hives become droneless in August mites turn on your workers. You must have mite counts low before winter bees are reared in Sept / Oct. Period.
Some beeks don’t choose to test/treat. In urban settings, with many hives near each other, this often leads to heavily infested hives “mite bombing” healthy neighboring hives. These are emotional and financial downers.
Long-term, our mite solutions are to:
- Replace queen to improve hive’s varroa sensitive hygiene ability: best done in spring to midsummer and
- Super insulate hives to reduce stress: a to-do before winter.
It being early Aug, to keep hives alive, here’s what you can do.
Step 1: Know how to spot mites.
Anytime you’re in or by your hives, look for evidence like:
- Mites on a bee.
- Bees with K-wing.
- Listless / confused behavior.
- Piles of drone or worker pupae tossed out of hive (seen mostly mid spring to summer).
Each are possible mite signs indicating past or current mite presence. Only testing will deliver real data.
Step 2: Sugar roll test.
- Option #1: DIY testing: replicate this youtube example
- Make certain you’re not testing the queen!
- Test with nurse bees on open brood.*
- This guide is stuffed with great info too.
- Option #2: Contact UBAG. I can either do it, or walk you through the steps and get you with a testing kit.
* Topbar and Warre beeks: this may prove to be more difficult so treating without testing may be best.
Mites in cells are unaffected by treatments. Mite life cycles makes us:
- Treat weekly for 3 weeks if there’s lots of brood.
- Cage queen for 2 weeks, release her, wait 6 days, then treat once or
- Wait until there’s little to no brood (specific to hive and time of year) then treat once.
Four organic treatments options (good to rotate):