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.