December 21, 2014

Varroa Treatment Comparison

Apiguard

Maine beekeepers are thinking about their bees and parasitic mite controls, spurred by the arrival of this year's beekeeping supply catalogs, coupled with the recent snow melt after January's rain and wind event. Already, there are reports of hive mortality and requests for information and post mortem inspections. So far, most of the inspections reveal mortality due to Varroa and several cases … [Read more...]

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...]

May 2011 – The Beekeepers Calendar

Bee on a dandelion bloom

Inspect the brood pattern at the beginning of dandelion bloom. Check the queen’s performance, symptoms of brood disease and Varroa. Reverse brood chambers if bees are in the upper box only. Apply mite treatments and requeen failing queens if necessary. Divide and requeen colonies at fruit bloom via multiple frame splits or colony divides to recoup winter loss, increase apiary size … [Read more...]

When Disaster Strikes

Hive Lost to Nosema

In late winter, beekeepers often find themselves thinking about their bees. Apprehension is most common when the previous fall had dismal honey production and when houses creak and snap on bone-chilling nights during January and February. Unfortunately, there isn’t much northern beekeepers can do during the dead of winter. At best, newspaper can be added on top of fiberboards of live hives that … [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...]