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Checking Varroa Mite Load - Our Results

We tested one of the hives at the FLC and found 0 mites! We used Randy Oliver's method for capturing the sample and we also used the Honeybee Health Coalition's Varroa Management Guide for its alcohol/soap wash instructions and mite load calculation because we anticipated finding mites. 
  1. Tools used: Washer fluid with 91% alcohol mixed in, tub, jar with mesh screening and 1/2 measuring cup
  2. We found a frame with from the middle of the cluster with capped brood and. . . the queen! We then isolated this frame and grabbed the brood frame next to it. We then inspected that frame for a queen (you never know!) and used this queen-free brood frame for our sample.
  3. Shake the frame into a tub, the older bees will then fly off and you can grab your sample from the baby bees left, which carry more mites.
  4. Use your 1/2 cup measure cup and take a level sample and dump them into the jar that has your washer fluid liquid already in it.
  5. Shake your sample for two minutes
  6. Dump the rest of the bees from the tub back into the hive
  7. Pour liquid into tub and count your mites! Randy Oliver has a photo of them on his website if you've never seen them before
  8. Calculate the load, i.e. 12 mites ÷ 300 bees = .04 X 100 = 4% (4 mites per 100 adult bees)
  9. Page 9 of the Varroa Management Guide has a chart with acceptable mite loads
  10. You can then use the Varroa Management Guide to find a treatment
Because we found 0 mites, we did not treat this hive. It's always a good idea to test your hive's mite load frequently but we specifically chose to test this hive because we noticed it wasn't as hygienic as the other one. This hive still has some sugar and dead bees on some frames from winter when we would have liked to see the frames a bit cleaner. 

Tasha & Josh
Tools Used
Can you spot the queen?
Notice the queen's red dot? That indicates she was born in 2018.
TVBC Website
Apiary managed by Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club volunteers and located at:
Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center
3188 Sunset Peak Rd
Boise, ID 83702






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Tasha Smagula · Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club · Boise, ID 83705 · USA

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