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insects mites

The Varroa Mite:  Why it’s bad and what you can do about it.

The Varroa Mite is a parasite that attacks bee colonies, honey bees to be more precise, it weakens bees by sucking the fluid from them that would be considered their blood.  This effects the bees in ways that can cause them to have deformed wings, and various other issues.  However, a bad infestation in a bee colony can lead to the death of the entire colony.  This has effected he beekeeping industry in various parts of Canada and the United States.

To counter a Varroa Mite infestation there are several options available.  There is the option of using chemicals in the form of miticides, these can be found in both naturally occurring or synthetic chemicals.  One example of a synthetic chemical is Fluvalinate, which is sometimes packaged as strips that resemble bookmarks that are saturated with the chemical.  These strips are then hung in specific chambers of the hive so the bees will easily come into contact with the chemical.  An example of a natural occurring chemical is powdered sugar, yes the same kind of sugar found on funnel cakes at the state fair minus any added corn starch.  To accomplish using powdered sugar you simply dust the bees with the substance.

There are also non-chemical ways to control Varroa Mites.  Such as having a mesh floor in the hives, mites sometimes fall off bees and if the mesh is the right size they will simply fall through and be unable to climb back up and infect another bee.  There is a method that uses heat, the hive is heated to a specific temperature for some time, this results in the mites falling off the bees, this method is good to combine with the mesh floor.

Tonya Fredrickson © 2016

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