• Dadant
  • Mann Lake Ltd.

Thanks to these sponsors, you can enjoy this website without annoying popup ads! You can show your appreciation by clicking on their banners above to go directly to their websites.


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


Oxalic crystals on bees after vaporization

Crystals from oxalic acid vaporization on bees’ bodies Randy Oliver February 2020 In order to determine how OA crystals settled on bees’ bodies after an OA vaporization, I set a graduated microscope slide and a number of dead bees under a 16-oz inverted plastic cup.  I injected OA vapor briefly into a hole at the […]

Read More

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive: Part 4

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive Part 4 First Published in ABJ February 2021 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   In the three previous articles in this series, I showed the results of my field trial of summer mite treatments. Now let’s go a little further with extended-release oxalic acid (OAE).   A Note on […]

Read More

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive: Part 3

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive Part 3 First Published in ABJ January 2021 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   In my two previous articles in this series, I showed the formal results of my field trial comparing summer mite treatments.  We also have additional findings from other yards in which we applied extended-release OA.  […]

Read More

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive: Part 2

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive Part 2 First Published in ABJ December 2020 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   Last month I covered the setup of my field trial of summertime mite treatments, including experimental extended-release oxalic acid in glycerin.  I’ll now share the results.     The Results and Discussion Due to space limitations, […]

Read More

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive

Mite Control While Honey is on the Hive Part 1 First Published in ABJ November 2020 Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com   During our hot, dry California summers most of our nectar flow may be over by early July, but if we’re lucky, our hives may still put on some harvestable honey.  In any case, to control […]

Read More

Refining the Mite Wash: Part 4 – Comparing the Release Agents

Refining the Mite Wash : Part 4 Comparing the Release Agents Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First Published in ABJ in October 2020 As I tested different release agents for varroa monitoring, I was often surprised by the results, which then raised new questions about why some worked better than others. So I ran a number of […]

Read More

Refining the Mite Wash: Part 2 – Mite Release

Refining the Mite Wash- Part 2 Mite Release Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First Published in ABJ in August 2020 The high efficacy of hand dishwashing detergent at getting mites to release their grip on bees bestirred me to investigate this finding more deeply.  What I’ve come to realize is that there are four steps involved between […]

Read More

Refining the Mite Wash: Part 1 – Treatment Threshold and Solutions to Use

Refining the Mite Wash Part 1 Treatment Threshold and Solutions to Use Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ July 2020 Once you’ve shaken a sample of bees, you then need to separate the mites from them.  There are various recommendations for using alcohol, detergent water, powdered sugar, ether, or CO2.  I’ve been using inexpensive […]

Read More

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring: Part 4 – What About Letting the Shook Bees Fly Off?

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring Part 4 WHAT ABOUT LETTING THE SHOOK BEES FLY OFF? Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First appeared in ABJ June 2020 In my previous article I showed how the varroa infestation rate of bees varied by comb type, with those on brood frames having higher mite counts, but those on storage frames, despite showing […]

Read More

 Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring: Part 3 – How Does Mite Distribution Vary Frame-to-Frame in a Hive?

   Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring Part 3 HOW DOES MITE DISTRIBUTION VARY FRAME-TO-FRAME IN A HIVE? Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ May 2020 In the previous articles in this series I evaluated the different methods for varroa monitoring, and then discussed the state of our knowledge as to where mites would be most prevalent […]

Read More

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring: Part 2 – Questions on Sampling Hives for Varroa

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring Part 2 QUESTIONS ON SAMPLING HIVES FOR VARROA Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ April 2020 In order to monitor the varroa infestation rate of the adult bees in a colony, one must take a sample of bees from somewhere in the hive. But how to decide which comb to take […]

Read More

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring: Part 1 – Methods

Re-Evaluating Varroa Monitoring Part 1 METHODS Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ March 2020 In order to avoid the preventable death of colonies due to varroa-virus overload, we’re told to monitor our colonies’ mite levels.  But how best to do so?  In this series of articles, I’ll review what we actually know, and provide […]

Read More

Questions on Amitraz

Questions on Amitraz Randy Oliver ScientificBeekeeping.com First published in ABJ March 2020 This past year, some beekeepers asked me a couple of questions about amitraz. So I ran some quick cage trials to obtain answers. The results surprised me. Amitraz is a highly-effective acaricide (something that kills mites and ticks), and is widely used by […]

Read More

Extended-Release Oxalic Acid Progress Report #5 – 2019

Contents Background. 2 The 2019 field test. 2 Results. 4 Those danged outliers!. 6 Overall efficacy. 7 Could there have been mite immigration from other colonies?. 8 Fate of the applied towels. 9 progression of action of treatment over time. 13 Results from others. 14 Mexico and uruguay. 14 Southeastern States with high humidity. 14 […]

Read More

Selective Breeding for Mite Resistance: Walking the Walk

Contents Selective breeding for mite resistance. 4 The 2018 season. 4 A visit to France. 12 My spring surprise. 13 Selection vs. Bottlenecking. 16 Choosing the breeders. 17 The big question ― heritability. 18 The importance of the drone pool 19 A Primer on Bee Genetics. 19 Bottom line. 21 Acknowledgements. 22 References. 22   […]

Read More