Death to varroa mites

varroa mites, honey bees

Does anyone welcome varroa destructor?

In the foreground, the lower left hand area of the photo, there are two varroa mites. They are reddish in color. They are destructive to honey bees.

I took a sample of nurse bees from a hive that I split in spring and ran them through an alcohol wash. That’s kind of like a car wash for bees. The total count was 7 mites.

I like having alcohol on hand to clean my hive tool, and it unfortunately also kills bees when I’m sampling, but that is the nature of the practice I have right now. Three hundred bees do not make a significant number overall.

What do I think of mites? I think that they combine with location to make me want or not want to pay attention to the infected hives. Over the years, I have had two bee hives that were weakened from mites that eventually died. The hives with mites were telling me that I needed to pay attention to them, but they were difficult to access, and were placed singly. It is difficult to visit a single hive unless it is in a very convenient location. So when I place a hive but didn’t think through the location thoroughly, I don’t practice great animal husbandry like I do the other hives, and mites add to that.

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