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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


2023 Field Trial of Matrices and Formulations for Extended-Release Oxalic Acid

Contents A Large Field Research Project 1 Materials and Methods 2 Experimental design. 2 Surface Area of the Treatments 4 Justification for the Ratios Tested. 4 The Test Colonies 4 The Matrices 7 Dose applied to the bees 13 Results. 14 Summary of my interpretation of the chart 16 Discussion. 16 Musing on other studies […]

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The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Management: Part 3– Reading the Fine Print

Contents CATCH UP. 1 A LOOPHOLE?. 1 “THE LETTER”. 2 Authority to Regulate. 2 Unreasonable Adverse Effects on the Environment 2 Our Questions (again) 3 EPA’S RESPONSE. 4 WHERE WE NOW STAND. 4 Acknowledgements and clarification. 4 Citations and Notes 4     The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Management Part 3 Reading the […]

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Selective Breeding Progress Report 2023

Selective Breeding Progress Report 2023 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ September 2023 In 2017 I proposed a simplified method for commercial queen breeders to select for varroa-resistant stock, and then undertook a demonstration project to see if it would work. After six years of strong selection, we appear to be making substantial progress! […]

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Drones and Varroa: Part 2

Contents Testing Hypothesis #2. 2 Let’s Do the Calcs! 11 Conclusions 11 Why Would Mites Prefer  Drones?. 12 Acknowledgements. 12 Citations and Notes 12     Drones and Varroa Part 2 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First Published in ABJ November 2023         In the May issue of this journal, Dr. Zac Lamas presented some findings of […]

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Drones and Varroa: Part 1

Contents The Proposed Hypotheses 2 Monitoring of the Mite Infestation. 3 How Best to Obtain a Representative and Consistent Sample?. 3 Testing Hypothesis #1. 4 Field Observations. 5 Results. 9 The Take Home. 15 Citations and Notes 16     Drones and Varroa Part 1 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First Published in ABJ October 2023   […]

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The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Management and What Can We Do About It?

The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Management and What Can We Do About It? Part 2 First Published in ABJ August 2023 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   CATCH UP Last month I wrote about the options (legal or unapproved) that beekeepers are taking to deal with varroa as it evolves resistance to amitraz. In this […]

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A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration: Part 6

A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration Part 6 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ July 2023     In our 2018 study in the California foothills, we confirmed that bees indeed drift from collapsing colonies to other hives, even to those at considerable distance. And that drifting can result in a substantial […]

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How to use Randy’s Handy mite wash cup

Tips for Using the XXX cup for Monitoring Varroa TAKING THE SAMPLE Use an 18-quart dishwashing tub and a stainless-steel half cup (125 mL) measuring cup (for measuring live bees, a deep cup is more accurate than a shallow cup). Take the bee sample from a frame (or frames) adjacent to the broodnest, but not […]

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The Status of Our Industry Regarding Varroa Mgmt and What Can We Do About It?

Contents Introduction: A Reality Check on the American Beekeeping Industry’s Varroa Control Predicament 2 The Lead Up. 2 The Elephant in the Room.. 2 Our Conundrum.. 3 Our Predicament 3 A Personal Note. 4 Rationalization and Lack of Unreasonable Risk. 4 How the EPA Can Help Us 4 Our Current Arsenal: The Registered Varroacides 5 […]

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A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration: Part 5

Contents A Deeper Look into our Data. 1 Was Robbing Involved with Mite Immigration?. 6 Discussion on Robbing. 8 Study Wrap Up. 9 Review.. 10 Next Month. 10 Acknowledgements. 11 Citations and Notes 11     A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration Part 5 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ June 2023 […]

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A Study on Bee Drift and Mite Immigration: Part 4

Contents Distance that Worker Bees will Drift 1 Effect of Distance upon Bee Drift 4 Hive-to-Hive Variation in Captured Tags 7 Validating our Methodology. 8 Mite Immigration: Results of the Stickyboard Counts. 10 Cumulative Mite Immigration. 11 Next Month. 12 Acknowledgements. 13 Citations and Notes 13     A Study on Bee and Mite Drift: […]

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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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