High mite levels in colonies

Varroa destructor

In some regions of the UK, colonies are starting to show symptoms of high levels of Varroa mites, for example wing deformities and perforated cappings. Therefore, it might be prudent to start monitoring colony mite populations and information on how to do this can be found in the Managing Varroa leaflet (page 15) issued by the National Bee Unit (BeeBase).

Also, the Varroa calculator can be used to help calculate your estimated mite population in your colonies.

If your colonies have a high amount of Varroa, eg 1,000 mites after calculating it from the average drop, you may want to treat them with a registered varroacide. Suitable treatments where brood is present would include:

  • Apiguard
  • Apilife Var
  • Apistan *
  • Bayvarol *
  • Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS)
  • Thymovar.

If you wish to use an oxalic acid based product then a broodless condition should be created first. Additionally, if you have honey for human consumption on the hives, remember that MAQs is currently the only registered product which can be used.

When using any medicines it is important to remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

*Mite resistance to these products have been recorded and so a resistance test (the Beltsville test) should be carried out before using the product.