Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another weapon against the Varroa Mite

I made this simple powder sugar shaker today and used it when I hived my nucleus / starter hives.  Use a plastic container so you can squeeze it to apply the sugar.  The lid has some holes and I cut to fit some screen to prevent too much of the power from coming out with use.  A 2 lbs bag of sugar was used to hive about 20 nucs. 

I feel this technique has three main benefits:

1.  Upon opening the nuc box, gently puff some cool smoke over the bees.  Then powder the top of the frames initially.  This seems to calm down these gals as they are  VERY angry at this point!  They start eating immediately and therefore are distracted a bit. 

2.  Pull each frame out calmly and carefully and dust  it down on both sides with the powder sugar.   Again, they seem very interesting in eating and are distracted.  They will look like little ghosts!  You can see them start cleaning and grooming each other.  Hopefully, this will mean that they will clean off the mites!  Plus, this feeding will help them get them a little boost for their first nights in some cooler weather up here in Spokane. 

3.  Their new home has a screen bottom board so the sugar will disrupt the varroa mite as it tries to move from one bee to another.  The powder causes them to lose their grip and fall through the screen. 

This treatment cost just a few dollars and some time while hiving.  I think it will be helpful and a second treatment will be done in two weeks to disrupt the varroa reproductive cycle. 

Give this low cost and natural method a try!  Let me know what you find out

Thanks.... Happy Hiving!

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