Topics, Treatments For Varroa, Varroa Management


Miticides 2011

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2011

Colony health and production these days is largely a function of varroa levels in the hives—the more mites, the more problems. It is no longer a matter of simply knocking the mites back once a year with a “silver bullet”—it is becoming increasingly clear that mite levels must be kept low all season. Here is […]

Read More

The Economy of the Hive – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal January 2010

Inside the hive there functions a vibrant community, with an economy similar to that of any other society. The bee economy is based upon the harvesting and processing of resources, the trade of products, doting care for the youngsters and parents, wise savings, deficit spending, a hierarchy of jobs, national defense, and an exquisite communication […]

Read More

The Economy of the Hive – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2010

Last month I described the functions of the main players in the hive economy—the queen, the nurse bees, the foragers, and the “resting” bees. Now let’s look at the main driver for the bee economy—the supply of food. The honey bee economy is based upon the gathering and consumption of four resources (nectar, pollen, propolis, […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal Aug 2010

Most any long-time beekeeper has noticed that bees are simply not as healthy as they used to be, and that we have been plagued with a spate of unusual colony collapses in recent years. As luck would have it, I’ve been an intimate witness to the experimentally-induced collapse of colonies in a field trial this […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 3: The Bee Immune System

First published in: American Bee Journal October 2010

In my previous article, I proposed a model for the in-hive positive feedback loops that may lead to colony collapse. Before I can further explain the model, we must understand more precisely how the bee immune system functions, as it appears to be that the mechanisms leading to the disappearance of bees are rooted in […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 4: Immune Response to Viruses

First published in: American Bee Journal November 2010

Table of Contents Bees vs. Viruses 1 Back to School 2 Practical Application 4 Viruses Fight Back 4 MicroRNA’s 4 Inapparent Virus Infections 5 Acknowledgements 5 References 5 Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that infect all organisms, from bacteria to humans. Their evolution represents a constant arms race with the host: Viruses need to reprogram […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 5: Multiple Infections

First published in: American Bee Journal January 2011

Table of Contents The Problem of Co-infection1 The Battle of the Brood Pathogens 2 The Cost of Immunity 3 Opportunistic Pathogens 4 Varroa and Nosema 5 References 5 I ended the last installment of this series by asking the question, what happens when there are multiple parasites suppressing the bee immune system simultaneously? In this […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 6: Infection by Multiple Viruses

First published in: American Bee Journal February 2011

We beekeepers hear from researchers that our sick bees are full of viruses. Understandably, we want to know what we can do about it. But to most of us, virus infections are a “black box”—a generally invisible, mysterious phenomenon about which we can do little other than to control one of the modes of transmission […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 7: How does immunity to a virus spread throughout the hive? And can we use this mechanism to our advantage?

First published in: American Bee Journal March 2011

Trans Generational Immune Priming The honey bee does not take the insults thrown at them by all these weird recombinant and chimerical viruses lying down, or we simply wouldn’t have any bees left! As I explained in the last installment, bees can “fix” immunity to a certain virus in their genome. This process has been […]

Read More

Sick Bees – Part 8: Time for a Paradigm Shift!

First published in: American Bee Journal April 2011

Bee health issues completely changed with the invasion of the varroa mite. Beekeeping success these days is largely dependent upon managing the mite level in your hives. However, it’s not varroa that actually kills colonies; rather, it is the bee viruses, which is why I’ve been belaboring the subject. Mite management should be considered as […]

Read More

The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 1

First published in: American Bee Journal April 2010

We humans tend to anthropomorphize animal behavior, which is often just plain silly. The most caring, gentle, nurturing beekeeper can pamper a hive to no end, yet will still have her friendship rewarded with a volley of stings to the face should she move a bit too quickly.

Read More

The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 2

First published in: American Bee Journal May 2010

In the first part of this article, I explained how the allotment of the hive labor pool was largely controlled through communication via the process of sharing protein-rich jelly via trophallaxis, plus non-feeding interchange of low volatility “primer” pheromones. I now continue with a summary of our current state of knowledge of the complex process […]

Read More

The Primer Pheromones and Managing the Labor Pool – Part 3

First published in: American Bee Journal June 2010

I left you last month in the middle of explaining the current model for colony workforce allocation, and the influence of various primer pheromones. Please allow me to pick up where I left off. (Having trouble hitting the keys with my cold fingers—I’ve just pulled off my wet coveralls, and am trying to revitalize myself […]

Read More

The Primer Pheromones, Part 4 – Reproduction and Survival

First published in: American Bee Journal July 2010

Queen Pheromone(s) We humans hear the term “queen” and immediately project all the royal attributes of leadership and omnipotence upon the mother of the colony. But is this really the case? Does the queen bee really “rule” the colony, with the sterile workers acting as subordinate subjects? The feeling that I get is that bee […]

Read More

Managing Varoa: Part 1 – IPM Realities

First published in: American Bee Journal, March 2011

I welcome practical, tested tips, methods, and assessments from other beekeepers who are successfully keeping bees with varroa.  I found this article to be a good reality check on certain varroa IPM methods.  It was originally published in the March 2011 ABJ, and I asked the author if I could post it to this website.  […]

Read More


Top