Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


*** You will need to re-register ***

Please support Friends of the Bees

Verroa mite control

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
New Bee

Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Rochdale

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:33 pm    Post subject: Verroa mite control Reply with quote

Hi all.

Checking my bottom board and I noticed that there are verroa mite skulking around that have had the misfortune of falling through the mesh.

I have read the message boards and various things on verroa control and treatment and searched numerous you tube clips.

Guess my question is

What the hell should I do or use .... Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

There seems to be as many verroa recommendations each with conflicting information as there are recipes for lemon chicken.

Does anyone have experience of a quick treatment that worked for them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dexter's shed
Scout Bee

Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 307
Location: Grays, Essex, UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why do you feel the need to treat?
I've got two garden hives that gave me 77lb of honey last year, in the 3yrs from when I got them as a swarm, they have never been treated with anything, I've had other beeks try to get me to treat, but my feelings are that bees survive perfectly alright without us, having never been treated, as a pest controller I get to see lots of bees in walls and roof voids, it's evident that these nest's are years old and in good condition and strength
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Foraging Bee

Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 107
Location: UK, Cambridge, Milton

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sort of as said by Dexter's shed, it seems inlikely (in the UK) that you'll keep bees without them having varroa mite, so just seeing some on the bottom board is nothing unusual. It's a case of how many, what time of year it is, are the bees being affected badly, etc.

Personally, I read the most up to date information on and act as I see fit. Last year, I treated my own two colonies with MAQS (formic acid) - they've come through winter fine, and I might treat again. Another colony I know has had no treatment, doesn't have a way to count mite drop, I think came near to starvation in winter, and I see quite a few 'deformed wing' bees when I inspected (first time at this colony for me) not long ago - yet they've evidently found a local prolific nectar source, and are expanding at quite a rate and storing loads of nectar.

All these - mine and this other one - are top-bar hives, so treatment might be a bit different than in 'standard' hives, given that honey might be present at any time (which you might not want to contaminate with your chosen varroa treatment, if any).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Anth

Firstly, don't panic. It would be unusual not to see varroa. Pretty well every colony in the UK (and most of the world for that matter) will have them to a greater or lesser extent.

You then need to decide whether you want to treat them or leave them to live or die on their own merits. It might be helpful to know how bad the varroa infestation is in order to make that decision. You could do a mite drop count or a sugar roll test to assess how bad things are.

Other things that will factor into the equation are how old the colony is and how strong it is and also whether you plan to carry out some sort of swarm control or not. Swarming will cause a brood break.... a period of time when the hive is not rearing brood.... and the varroa mites cannot breed without bee brood, so if the colony swarms, especially multiple times, you will potentially lose a lot of bees but it will also reduce the mite infestation. If you manage to catch the swarms, then you don't even lose the bees and gain another colony or two in the process, but the relevant factor is the longer the brood break, the more the varroa mite population reduces.

If you decide to go for treating them, a soft option would be to dust them with icing sugar once a week for 3 weeks.

Dexter's shed is correct that some colonies do survive treatment free and perhaps learn to manage their varroa levels, however I think it would be naïve to assume that all colonies are capable of doing so. I am fortunate that my bees are surviving, but I have good natural forage, I only inspect 2 or 3 times a year and I allow them to swarm freely. These things all contribute to their ability to cope with varroa in my opinion.

I would respectfully suggest that as a pest control officer he only gets called out to live colonies and there may in fact be twice as many dead ones which he doesn't see, as those that survive. There is also no way of knowing if the live ones have only recently recolonized a dead out nest that perhaps previously perished from Varroa or if they are the original colony. Also these "feral" colonies are not subject to management by a beekeeper, so the heat of the brood nest is maintained and they can also produce as many drones as they wish because they are not inhibited by foundation, so the varroa can target their preferred drone brood on the edge of the brood nest where it is cooler and leave the worker brood unaffected.... I have seen this happen in one of my hives.

I appreciate that a lot of the above may sound quite complicated when you were, most likely, after a simple bit of advice, but unfortunately this is a very complicated and contentious issue. There are so many variables that can affect your decision. I personally find it strange that people still lose their bees to varroa related problems.... but they do....... so I don't think it is responsible to say, my bees are surviving treatment free, so don't bother to treat yours because they will survive untreated too.... that might not be the case. You need to make an informed decision based on your specific situation.

Good luck figuring out what is best for your bees.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
New Bee

Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 5
Location: Rochdale

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all

Thank you for your input.

Think I may well as well take the Mom knows best approach.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nurse Bee

Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 43
Location: UK, Somerset, Rooksbridge

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:52 pm    Post subject: Sticky bottom board? Reply with quote

Sorry if this is a bit off topic. But it might be of interest for those of us who use a bottom board to monitor varroa mites?
I have only had bees in a HTBH for about 3 full seasons. The only treatment I have used is Icing sugar over an open mesh floor. So far... although I have some varroa, I have not had a heavy count.
I have a bottom board ie, 'Short plank' that I can slide inder the open mesh floor. Until now I have stapled a length of paper cut from some leftover wallpaper to it and the smeared Vaseline over it to stick the varroa to the board and stop 'em wandering so that I can count 'em!

Aaah! Its just dawned on me that Vaseline is..... "PETROLEUM JELLY"! Shocked
Probably the last thing I should have used???
Any suggestions as to how to keep the dropped varroa from wandering?
I've tried Cooking fat, but that soon loses its stickiness!!!

Also I'm wondering? As my bees seem to swarm a lot, the reason I have a fairly low varroa count is that they took a lot with 'em when they went? Or perhaps as Barbara suggests it could be due to the "Brood Break" effect?


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Guard Bee

Joined: 26 Jan 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re varroa: do not some bees remove infected larvae and deposit them at the entrance. I read somewhere you can do a pin test to check if your bees are good house keepers, this is how it works, you get a small pin on the end of a cork and prick out 3 groups of seven cells on a frame Check after 24 hours. How many cells have been cleaned out by bees. Record results-- repeat 3/4 times if 19 cells are cleaned out consider your bees hygienic. Has anyone else heard of this.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.