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Thread: Sugar Roll?

  1. #1
    Ken Wilson Guest


    I don't mean to sound dense, but would someone tell me what Sugar Roll is for detecting mites.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Naples, Maine



    As I understand it, a Sugar Roll is a way to check your bees for Varroa Mites without killing them. The old "Ether Roll" technique uses a jar and a can of spray ether. It kills the bees in the process. After you scoop up the bees, you give them a blast of ether and roll them around in the jar. The dead mites stick to the wet side of the jar and you can count them. In a Sugar Roll, you basically are doing the same thing EXCEPT that the bees get a tablespoon of confectioners sugar to roll around in. The sugar doesn't kill them but it coats the fine hairs enough to cause the mites to drop off the bees. After rolling the jar, you can open it and release the bees and then count mites that are laying in the sugar. I have not tried a sugar roll, but, I have heard that it works. Some say that it is not as effective as an Ether roll.

    Hope this helps,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Evansville, IN, USA


    Greetings Ken Wilson,

    Powdered Sugar-Shake Method
    For Method Description See:

    First step in using sugar-roll method is to determine how many bees your are sampling.
    Calibrate collection jar by collecting bees, gently shaking them to bottom of jar, mark jar w/permanent marker to indicate depth of bees. Then kill bees w/ rubbing alcohol and count bees. Use approx 300 bees. In Midwest, sample colonies in spring and no later than mid August. In spring, when (1 or more) mites are detected w/ this technique, it is best to implement a strategy to reduce mite populations. In fall, when brood is present, remove honey crop and treat ASAP when 0.03 (1 mite per 33 OR 9 per 300) or more mites are found. Colonies w/ more than 0.12 (1 mite per 8 bees sampled OR 37.5 per 300) mites per bee (in fall w/ brood present) will have increased winter morality. Colonies w/ more than 0.25 (1 mite per 4 bees sampled OR 75 per 300) will almost always perish in winter.

    Good Luck!

    Dave W . . .

    A NewBEE with 1 hive.
    First package installed
    April, 2003.


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