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Organic Varroa repellents/removal

  • 28-03-2016 8:56pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 253 ✭✭


    Hi ,

    New to bee keeping and I'm looking at ways to naturally control or destroy varroa in bees to hopefully get a hive that will become resistant to them.
    I've been reading up on it and there is various ways eg. Smoking using cedar, powder sugar and various natural essences.

    I have read somewhere that there is an entrance which the bees squeeze through and it both scrapes off the mite and causes a static charge in the bee which will transfer between bees when they touch causing the mite to fall off. Which I would like to try...

    What natural ways do people on here
    use?

    Cheers


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭Joe Brennan


    I am impressed with the idea of the entrance block that removes the mites, but I must say I have not seen or heard of such a device. I put dry garlic stems in my smoker but not certain if they work or not as I still have the mites. The only way I can keep them under control is by using the vapour treatment. Have been using it for two years with great mite drops & no damage to the bees or Queens. and must say I have had no winter losses.
    However if you get any details about the device you write about please keep us posted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    I have heard that a pharmaceutical company have a similar idea where as the bees are passing thru special designed entrances the varroa mites on their backs get smeared with a varroacide. Don't know when or if this will be fully developed. Also heard that varroa can be attracted to Drones and it may be possible to seperate out the attractant chemical from dead drones using a centrifuge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 253 ✭✭dto001


    Here's the link for the varroa mite entrance
    http://kwapiary.com/VarroaMiteBrush.html
    The gate from the pharmaceutical company looks good but I'm not sure how it would affect the honey.

    https://beecare.bayer.com/media-center/news/news-detail/a-new-way-of-protecting-bees-against-varroa-mites

    I have also read that smoking them with Grapefruit leaves (but I can't find where to get them) but also Tabacco which I know from a friend does get a lot of Mites off the bees but grapefruit leaves are supposed to be better!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    The only other natural way to treat for varroa mite is what David Heaf proposes, using more natural hives (Warre) and letting the bees to fight off the mite (or not) naturally and in time reach a sustainable balance themselves. In the mean time we should allow the bees to breed naturally and be more facilators than controllers


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,275 ✭✭✭bpmurray


    The only other natural way to treat for varroa mite is what David Heaf proposes, using more natural hives (Warre) and letting the bees to fight off the mite (or not) naturally and in time reach a sustainable balance themselves. In the mean time we should allow the bees to breed naturally and be more facilators than controllers
    Warre hives won't help - the hive itself isn't the problem, despite what Heaf claims (Warre hives aren't at all natural anyway!). Where there is an issue is that varroa resistance is quite rare - even those in the US that claim hygienic behaviour also use treatments.

    You should also be aware that the treatments are actually compounds found in nature, just delivered more efficiently to the bees. The main ones are Thymol which is actually a concentrated extract from thyme oil, and Oxalic Acid is found in sorrel, rhubarb, cabbage, spinach, etc. So you could quite legitimately claim you're using organic treatments!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭Joe Brennan


    dto001 wrote: »
    Here's the link for the varroa mite entrance
    http://kwapiary.com/VarroaMiteBrush.html
    The gate from the pharmaceutical company looks good but I'm not sure how it would affect the honey.

    https://beecare.bayer.com/media-center/news/news-detail/a-new-way-of-protecting-bees-against-varroa-mites

    I have also read that smoking them with Grapefruit leaves (but I can't find where to get them) but also Tabacco which I know from a friend does get a lot of Mites off the bees but grapefruit leaves are supposed to be better!

    Ty for them links very informative


  • Registered Users Posts: 253 ✭✭dto001


    Ty for them links very informative

    I have emailed kwapiary about the control entrance so if they reply I will let you know.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects


    Letting the bees to fight off the mite (or not) naturally
    So let the mites wipe out the colony then. Good plan.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    The idea is to allow the bees to develop a balance with the varroa mite (as they have with apis cerana) and yes there will be losses. Even with treatment at this time there are losses. The natural treatment is better as there are no harmful chemical residues but pesticides persist in wax for years. I also said a more natural hive, my meaning was to allow the bees to build there own wax, in there own way(in any type of hive). Not to let the same wax in the hive for years and just harvest the honey. It's not an instant solution and I wasn't suggesting that it was such.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    Yes there would be losses but currently with treatment there are losses and you end up with a build of pesticide residues(harmful side effects). When I said more natural I meant in the way of minimum interference and allowing the bees to control there own home as much as possible. It has been proven that a colony can take up to 2 days to settle back after an inspection. Pesticides will never eliminate varroa.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects


    There's ways of reducing varoa without using pesticides.
    Our bees are AMM. They are the best suited bee for our climate. They won't just suddenly adopt the traits of a different bee due to the presence of varoa.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    I am all for our AMM and would be in favour of restricting any imports of non-native bees particularly since they were the most lightly vector of varroa in the first place. People in this country do keep other sub-species of bees eg Buckfast bees so they could cross breed and have the necessary genes to be hygenic bees (remove varroa from brood)
    or varroa tolerant bees.
    Quite agree with "There's ways of reducing varroa without using pesticides."
    Never said it would be a sudden adaptation, I meant that pesticide treatment is not only harmful to the bees (only treats varroa on bees not in the brood) but isn't stopping the varroa as they are adapting to the treatments. There is no guarantee that the bees will adapt but given time their own breeding may give them a chance to adapt.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects


    There was a couple from the UK that have a lecture in Dublin recently.
    They trap the queen on a single frame for a week, then a different frame the next week and same again the third week. This contains all the brood to those three frames. The varroa then all head to those cells as they are the only brood available. They then take these frames out and destroy them, as well as most of the varroa.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7 Benigneglect


    Sounds very promising, but would this not seriously reduce the worker population, as you are only allowing 3 frames to have the queen to lay eggs in and then you are eliminating the brood.


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭Joe Brennan


    it would work but as our summers can be short it would be a gamble


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,883 ✭✭✭✭Igotadose


    Effects wrote: »
    There's ways of reducing varoa without using pesticides.
    Our bees are AMM. They are the best suited bee for our climate. They won't just suddenly adopt the traits of a different bee due to the presence of varoa.

    Another beekeeping newbie wannabe here. What does AMM stand for?

    And, anyone have any bees for sale?


  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭solargain


    AMM stands for Apis Melliffera Mellifera , 2016 bees will be late this year due to the cold spring. You could try Coolmore bees in Cork for an overwintered nuc, their number is in the Beachaire, I assume you are in West Kerry Beekeepers ( Chorca Dhuibhne ) if not you should join them ,


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects


    Sounds very promising, but would this not seriously reduce the worker population, as you are only allowing 3 frames to have the queen to lay eggs in and then you are eliminating the brood.

    The general thought is that even though you are reducing your brood and future worker population, your colony will be healthier and more productive without as much varroa in the hive. And you do it in the spring as they have a chance to build numbers up again before the first flow.

    The lecturer is a former UK bee keeping inspector and knows his stuff!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects


    Ian and Ruth Homer gave the lecture.
    Here's a link to an article about various methods of varroa control without chemical use.

    http://www.bbka.org.uk/local/exeter/bm~doc/varroa-control-without-chemicals-jan-2014.pdf


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