Varroa Mite Control

The following table was presented by Nancy Ruppert, NCDA & CS at our July 2013 Meeting. If you want to download this table, select VARROA MITE CONTROL July 2013 for a Word document.

FOLLOW PACKAGE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY FOR ANY TREATMENTS USED IN BEEHIVES!!!!!!


Product


Cost/hive


Advantages


Disadvantages


How to use

Powdered sugar

$3

Inexpensive
Very safe
No residue

Time-/labor-intensive,
efficacy depends on user technique.
Not useful in cooler temps (<60F).

Thoroughly dust bees on brood frames every 5-7 days x 4-6 weeks; check mite levels @ 2 and 4 weeks after starting, assess effectiveness.

Queen banking

Depends on method

Inexpensive Non-toxic

Labor intensive.
May risk queen.
+/- efficacy

Temporarily put queen into nuc or mini-nuc hive (or splits main hive without replacing queen), to break brood cycle.  (Varroa need brood to reproduce.) If temporary banking, replace queen into main hive 8 days after last brood emergence, if no other queen present.

Mite-trapping via drone comb

$2.50-5.00

Inexpensive
Non-toxic

Need freezer space
+/- efficacy

Place 1 or 2 frames drone comb
into brood chamber; when drone pupae are capped, remove frame and freeze x 48hrs.

Sucrocide
(sucrose octanoate esters)

$1

Inexpensive
Very safe

Time-/labor-intensive,
+/- efficacy.
Not useful in cooler temps (<60F).

Mix as directed and using
garden-type or backpack sprayer, thoroughly wet bees on brood frames.
Repeat every 7 to 10 days x 3 doses.

Mite-Away II gel 

$4.50

Helps control tracheal mites also.

Potent acid, must use cautiously.

Place pad with holes facing downward on top of brood chamber; remove after 21 days.

Mite-Away
QuickStrips
(both contain formic acid)

$5.00

Easy to use
Low residue

Need spacer above brood box (for gel pad).
Should not use while honey is on hive**

QuickStrips: place 2 per hive (on brood-containing box), leave on for 7 days**

Api-Lif-VAR (thymol, menthol, and eucalyptus)

$6

Also treats tracheal mites.
Plant-based
Low residue

Not simple to use.
Temp. range must be 65-95 F.
Should not use while honey is on hive.
Need spacer above brood chamber.

Break each wafer into 4 pieces; wrap each piece in screen wire, place on top of brood chamber (1 at each corner or side of brood area). Replace wafers every 7 to 10 days x total 3 treatments.
Check mite levels after treatment completed to assess efficacy.

Apiguard (thymol)

$7

Helps control tracheal mites and chalkbrood. Easy to use.
Low residue.

Need spacer above brood chamber.
Should not use while honey is on hive.

Place gel pack on top of brood chamber; replace with new pack in 2 weeks for total of 2 treatments.
Check mite levels after treatment completed to assess efficacy.

Apivar (amitraz)

$6.00

Easy to use, effective.

Potential for mite resistance.
Should not use while honey on hive.

Place two strips into brood chamber, one each between frames #3-4 and #6-7; leave in x 42-56 days.  (Do not leave in too long.)

Apistan strips (fluvalinate)

$5.50

Easy to use.
Effective in many areas.

Mites developing resistance.
May affect queen or drone fertility.
Should not use while honey is on hive.
Leaves residue in wax and honey.

Place two strips into brood chamber, one each between frames #3-4 and #6-7; leave in x 56 days. (Do not leave too long.)
Check mite levels in 4 weeks to assess
efficacy

CheckMite+ (coumaphos)

$6.50

Easy to use.
Treats small hive beetles.
Effective in most areas.

May have toxic effects (including infertility) on bees.
Mites developing resistance.
May be toxic to humans if not used carefully.
Should not use while honey on hive. Leaves residue in wax and honey.

Place two strips into brood chamber, one each between frames #3-4 and #6-7; leave in x 42 days. (Do not leave in too long.)
Check mite levels in 4 weeks to
assess efficacy.

*Vapor-based treatments, such as Api-Lif VAR, Apiguard, and Mite-Away II gel pads, all require closing off all openings/ventilation except for main hive entrance. Failure to do so properly can result in either treatment failure or bee damage/death.

**Mite-Away QuickStrips manufacturer claims that because formic acid is naturally found in honey, these can be left on hive longer than 7 days, even during nectar flow; this may change, and users should be cautious about extended continuous use in hive.

Mite-Away II gel pads not likely to be available much longer, due to change in equipment to manufacture QuickStrips.

Some treatments, especially powdered sugar treatment done inside the hive, work much better with a screened bottom board present.

FOLLOW PACKAGE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY FOR ANY TREATMENTS USED IN BEEHIVES!!!!!!
 

Note: At this time varroa mite management is still evolving, and also may include options such as use of VSH (varroa-sensitive hygienic) breeds of honey bees, and yet-to-be approved (in NC) options such as Hivastan, oxalic acid, and essential oils. Stay tuned … .

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