Mite Control: Bee Keeping

Beekeepers should always be responsible for the welfare and survival of the bee colonies especially from the threatening presence of mites. In doing so, we must first familiarise ourselves with these parasites. The first known killer of honeybees was the so called honeybee tracheal mites or “acarapis woodie”, a parasite that attacks bee’s tracheal tubes internally. Tracheal mites were first discovered in 1921 in the Isle of Wight as a disease that wiped out most of the bee colonies on the island. Bees that survived the tracheal mites became impervious to the attack. “Varroa Jacobsini Oudemans” or the more severe varroa mites are parasites that can devastate the bee colonies of “apis cerana” and “apis mellifera”, the colony that survived the attacks of tracheal mites.

Beekeepers can reduce the populations of these mites by continuously using two parts sugar with one part of vegetable shortening as a remedy, especially for bees resistant to these parasites. Another way of treatment is the use of Apistan or the fluvalinate-impregnated synthetic strips twice a year. Treatment must be done for 60 days each fall, and for 30 days each spring. Mites can be monitored twice a month by using a board covered with sprayed vegetable oil. If one is found, you can assume 500 are present. The detergent roll or ether roll method can also be of assistance by placing bees inside a clear jar and spraying them with ether or detergent solution and rolling the jar flat for a minute, this will make mites stick to the jar’s side.