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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


The Varroa Problem: Part 12- Building a Model

First published in: American Bee Journal, November 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 12 Building a Model First published in ABJ November 2017 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com      In my last article, I showed the basic math of varroa buildup during the period of broodrearing, and the subsequent decline of the mite population when no broodrearing was taking place.  My simple graphs were illustrative of […]

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Extended-Release Oxalic Acid Progress Report #2

First published in: American Bee Journal, October 2017

  Extended-release Oxalic Acid Progress Report #2 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ October 2017      There has been a huge amount of interest in the extended-release application of oxalic acid for controlling varroa.  I and my collaborators have been working hard to collect the data necessary get this treatment approved for use by […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 11- The Math of the Mite

First published in: American Bee Journal, October 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 11 The Math of the Mite Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ October 2017      I’ve previously written about how the seasonal buildup and decline of the honey bee colony is a function of the birth and death rates of the workers [[1]].  Varroa follows a similar buildup and decline […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 10-Smokin’-Hot Mite Washin’

First published in: American Bee Journal, September 2017 - this version updated

The Varroa Problem: Part 10 Smokin’-Hot Mite Washin’ Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ September 2017      If you had asked me even a month ago as to how many of your hives to sample for varroa, I’d have suggested using Katie Lee’s plan of 8 hives per apiary [[1]] (in truth, we’ve rarely […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 9- Knowing Thine Enemy

First published in: American Bee Journal, August 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 9 Knowing Thine Enemy First published in ABJ August 2017 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com      “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”– Sun Tzu.  We are all beekeepers; we are also all varroa keepers (some of us better at the latter […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 8

First published in: American Bee Journal, June 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 8 Regulatory Cascades, Varroa Tolerance, and a Moon Shot Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ June 2017      In writing this series, I skipped ahead over some details so that I could publish my suggestions for setting up a breeding program for mite resistance in time for this season’s queen […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 7- Walking the Walk

First published in: American Bee Journal, May 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 7 Walking the Walk Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ May 2017      I’m not one to tell any beekeeper what they “should” be doing—it’s up to nature, the market, personal preference, and history to determine what works.  In my last two articles, I’ve discussed ways to go about breeding […]

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Extended-Release Oxalic Acid Progress Report

First published in: American Bee Journal, July 2017

Extended-Release Oxalic Acid Progress Report Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ July 2017 In January I wrote about an exciting extended-release application method for oxalic acid [[1]].  I’m currently collaborating with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the EPA to get this application method added to the current label for oxalic acid.  In the […]

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The Varroa Problem : Part 6B- Small-Scale Breeding

First published in: American Bee Journal, April 2017

Contents Let’s work together. 1 For the hobbyist: Be part of the solution. 2 Work cooperatively. 3 Responsible beekeeping. 6 Mite bombs and drift of mites. 8 Wrap up. 9 Notes and citations. 9 The Varroa Problem Part 6b: Small-Scale Breeding First published in ABJ April 2017 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   I’m fully aware that […]

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A Test of Using CO2 for Bee-Friendly Mite Monitoring

First published in: American Bee Journal, April 2017

A Test of Using CO2 for Bee-Friendly Mite Monitoring First Published in ABJ April 2017 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com Beekeepers who monitor the varroa level in their hives tend to be more successful at keeping their colonies alive and healthy.  But no one likes having to sacrifice bees to take mite counts.  So when I heard […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 6a-Bee Breeding for Dummies

First published in: American Bee Journal, March 2017

Contents It’s been thirty painful years. 2 Breeding is merely Human-directed evolution. 3 Bees are still pretty wild. 4 Natural and artificial selection. 4 Assessment methods. 5 The Bond method (you get what you wind up with) 5 the bond method, but without the Needless carnage. 8 Getting down to the nitty gritty. 9 Define […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 5- Striking a Deal with Varroa

First published in: American Bee Journal, February 2017

Contents selective breeding. 1 There’s no free lunch. 2 The good news. 2 What needs to change. 2 Striking a Deal with Varroa. 3 Other mechanisms and traits. 4 Progress can be fast. 5 knowing your enemy. 6 The strategy for subduing varroa. 6 The bees’ tactics. 7 Using models. 9 wrap up. 11 aknowledgements. […]

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Beyond Taktic® -Beekeeper-Funded Research

First published in: American Bee Journal, January 2017

Beyond Taktic® Beekeeper-funded Research Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ January 2017 The miticide Taktic has been the savior of the commercial bee industry since the early 2000s.  But it may be time to move on.  I’ve been experimenting with a promising potential replacement. Our Situation As I recently pointed out, there are signs […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 4- Resistant Bees- Pipe Dream or Plausible

First published in: American Bee Journal, January 2017

The Varroa Problem: Part 4 Mite-Resistant Bees—Pipedream or Plausible? Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ January 2017 I imagine that some readers may be thinking, “Randy lives in cannabis country with the rest of the fruits and nuts in California—what’s he been putting into his smoker?”  And I’m glad to hear that, since smart […]

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The Varroa Problem: Part 3 – A Creation of Our Own Doing

First published in: American Bee Journal, December 2016

The Varroa Problem: Part 3 A Creation of Our Own Doing Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   First published in ABJ in Dec 2016 The Varroa Problem didn’t just happen—we created it, and we unintentionally perpetuate it. And we will continue to prolong the agony until we, as a community, finally say “Enough!” and start to work […]

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