September 16, 2014

Varroa Destructor, the Pest

Varroa Destructor - Adapted from illustration by B. Alexander

The Varroa Destructor seems to have come to Maine in 1987, the year after the Tracheal Mite. Both created devastation in the beekeeping world and caught beekeepers off-guard. At that time it was referred to as the Fall Dwindle. It took a closer look to see that the die-outs were coming from a pesky little parasitic mite. The Varroa is now known to suck the blood-like body fluids, hymolymph, from … [Read more...]

April 2011 – The Beekeepers Calendar

Installing a package of bees

Monitor food reserves.   Feed medicated (Fumagilin-B) light syrup (1:1) to hives low on stores. Scrape bottom boards and check the brood pattern on a mild day.   Install package bees April 15th or later and feed light syrup medicated with Fumagillin (PDF).   Apply mite treatments to wintered colonies if Varroa are detected (mid-late April) in the drone brood. … [Read more...]

Reflections on 2010

A honeybee found with deformed wing virus and Varroa mites.

The past year presented several valuable lessons to beekeepers. For example: bees should be managed according to weather conditions and plant phenology, not calendar date; monitoring Varroa is crucial since mite populations can explode under certain circumstances; and the timing and choice of Varroa treatment can have variable outcomes. Also, reading pesticide labels is imperative!   In … [Read more...]