Tag Archives: varroa

Varroa Prescription: Powdered Sugar

29 Apr

So you’ve spotted creepy red dots on your bees. Even worse, they move!

Nasty little varroa parasite on my bee

Nasty little varroa parasite on my bee

Yep, that’s varroa, or the parasitic mite more officially and ominously called varroa destructor.

We found the lil nasties in our Kerry hive this spring and have been treating the besieged girls with powdered sugar for the past 3 weeks. It’s not as simple as slapping on a strip of Apistan, but it’s a more gentle approach of the kind advocated by practitioners of Integrated Pest Management

Honey bee coated in powdered sugar

Honey bee coated in powdered sugar

Here’s how it works… Continue reading


High Drama and the Virgin Queen Piping

18 Apr

My little bee brain is buzzing with information overload.

Today’s hive inspections brought plenty of good news but also a wild cornucopia of new bee experiences. I think I need a drink.

Alex opening the Ann Hive

Alex opening the Ann Hive

But first, here’s what went down:

  • We found queens and eggs in the Ann Hive and the Polski hive. Yay!
  • At least 10 capped swarm cells awaited us in the Kerry Hive.
  • It was impossible not to hear the high-pitched squawk of a virgin queen in the Kerry Hive which we tracked down and photographed. 
  • We removed 7 bars of brood and resources from the Kerry Hive and gave some queen cells to a local beekeeper in need.
  • The extra swarm cells we dissected.
  • Opening some drone cells, we found varroa mites on drone pupae.
  • We saw a birthing bee.

Photos and details follow. Whew! Who knew one afternoon in the life of a beekeeper could be so fascinating.

Continue reading