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Varroa Management

Allow me to start with an excellent assessment by Bee Culture’s Phil Craft (BC July 2015):

Perhaps beekeepers who have come to the craft in the last few decades aren’t aware of the effect varroa had when it first arrived on this continent and of how it earned its full name, Varroa destructor. Whatever the reason, every year, beekeepers all over the country lose colonies to mites and the viruses of which they are carriers, and they never know what hit them. They blame pesticides,or CCD, or habitat loss, and sometimes those really are causes, or at least significant factors. However, too, too often, the underlying cause is a lack of effective management, which allows a mite infestation to overwhelm a colony or weaken it to the point that it succumbs easily to other stressors. The most frustrating thing about these losses is that they don’t have to happen.

Watch Dennis vanEngelsdorp explain why mite management is critical for colony survival, and which methods work or don’t at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bm3Y4t1NwQ

A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration: Part 3

Contents The Donor Colonies 1 Tagging. 1 Results and Discussion. 2 Did the Tagged Bees Behave Normally?. 2 Progress of the Colonies. 4 Answering our Questions 4 Observations from the Donor Hives. 5 Correlation With Varroa Infestation. 6 Tag Recovery by Date. 8 Timelines of Recovery of Drifted Bees 9 Relevance to Mite Immigration. 10 […]

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A Study on Bee and Mite Drift: Part 2

 Contents Questions to Answer 1 Materials and Methods 2 Placement of the hives 2 Preparation of the Mite Donor Colonies. 3 Tagging the bees 3 The Control Group. 7 Preparation of the Mite Receiver Hives 7 Eliminating the mites. 7 Magnetic tag recovery. 9 The stickyboards. 10 The hive scales. 10 Layout of the Donor […]

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Testing Cotton Matrices for OAE

Contents The Fabrics to Test Preparation A Field Trial Results Discussion   TESTING COTTON MATRICES FOR OAE Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ January 2023   I continue to look for improved methods for application of extended-release oxalic acid (OAE), and thought that perhaps there might be an inexpensive, fully biodegradable all-cotton fabric that […]

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Thymol — A new application method? Part 2

Contents Extended-release thymol 1 The optimal release rate and placement of thymol 1 What’s The Optimal Dose?. 2 Our Field Testing. 3 The Dose-Response Curve. 12 Discussion. 12 Citations and notes 13   Thymol — A new application method? Part 2 First published in ABJ in December 2022 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   I do a […]

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Thymol — a New Application Method? Part 1

Contents “Off-Label” use of thymol 4 Thymol products for varroa control 5 Understanding Thymol 6 Reaction to the delivery matrix by the bees 6 Thymol in Shop Towels. 7 Removal and dispersion of thymol matrices by the Bees 9 Extended-Release Thymol?. 11 A Thicker Matrix. 11 moving ahead to 2022. 15 Citations and notes 15 […]

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Formic Pro in Hot Weather — Slowing the Rate of Vapor Release

Contents Hard “Flash Treatment” vs Slow-Release. 1 Flash Treatments 1 Extended-Release Application. 2 our Follow-up experiments. 3 But Did the Wrapped Strips Kill Mites?. 8 Discussion. 9 Citations and Notes 9   Formic Pro in Hot Weather — Slowing the Rate of Vapor Release Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ in October 2022   […]

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Formic Pro and Queens in Hot Weather

Contents Formic for mite management 1 A trick for using formic pro on weak colonies 2 Queen loss in hot weather 5 Why would queens be more susceptible to formic than workers?. 6 A test of queen loss in tiny colonies. 7 Taking advantage of opportunity. 10 Trial #1 — Would foil covers reduce queen […]

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Selective Breeding for Mite Resistance, Part 3; Shifting the Genetics of a Breeding Population

  Selective Breeding for Mite Resistance, Part 3 Shifting the Genetics of a Breeding Population Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   The alleles necessary for varroa resistance already existed in my stock of bees, so I didn’t need to “create” anything new. What I’m attempting to do via strong selective pressure is to (1) eliminate from our […]

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Selective Breeding for Mite Resistance, Part 2; Mite Resistance and Genetic Expression

Contents The Achilles’ heel of varroa. 2 Genotype vs. Individual- or colony-level phenotype. 2 gene regulation. 3 An example of the differential expression of genes in the honey bee. 4 What Is our own bees’ mechanism(s) for Resistance?. 6 Testing for Uncapping behavior 9 Is there a Cost to the colony for resistance?. 10 Our […]

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Walking the Walk Selective Breeding for Mite Resistance; 2022 Update, Part 1

Contents Resistance vs. Tolerance or “Survival” 1 Managed apiaries vs. natural evolution. 2 Background. 3 The necessity of Mechanical Agitators 3 The resistant colonies 6 So what’s our progress so far?. 10 A built-in lag inherent in open mating programs 13 Exhibit A: Mite-count tracking for our 2022 breeders 14 Coming. 16 References. 16   […]

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2022 Extended-release Oxalic Update Part 3

Contents The slow effect of OaE. 1 Mite turnover 3 A bothersome question. 5 You don’t need to kill a single mite in order to control varroa! 5 Varroa’s world: Olfaction, taste, and touch. 7 Disruption of mite sensory perception. 9 “Blinding” or irritant?. 9 A relevant question. 9 Wrap Up. 10 Citations and notes […]

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2022 Extended-release Oxalic (OAE) Update Part 2

Contents An additional test of matrices and OA:gly ratios. 1 Cardboard Strips vs. Sponges. 3 Compostability of spent sponges. 3 A winter field trial 4 Methods. 5 Results. 9 Discussion. 11 The Elephant in the Room.. 12 Reality Check. 12 A possible easy solution for getting us legal 13 Citations and notes. 15     […]

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The varroa incursion in Australia 4 July 2022

I’ve been speaking on a daily basis with one of the two beekeepers whose operations are infested, as well as others in the industry. So far, over 1000 of their colonies have been euthanized, with many more planned to be burned.  As you can imagine, this is very emotional for those beekeepers, who have also been prevented from […]

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Instructions for extended-release oxalic acid

Extended-release oxalic acid for varroa management This method of application of oxalic acid is not yet approved by the EPA, so the instructions below are intended only for researchers having Pesticide Research Authorizations, Experimental Use Permits, or other permissions from their State Lead Agencies. FYI, the EPA does not require an Experimental Use Permit to […]

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A Test of Thermal Treatment for Varroa: Part 2

Beekeeper-funded Research A Test of Thermal Treatment for Varroa Part 2 First published in ABJ April 2021 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com Last month I covered the theory of using thermal treatment (hyperthermia) to control varroa, and some of the designs of devices on the market.  I’d like to now answer some questions regarding thermal treatment. I […]

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