Producing Varroa-Tolerant Honey Bees from Locally Adapted Stock: A Recipe*

Carl Hayden Bee Research Center
2000 E. Allen Road
Tucson, AZ 85719

How To Do It:

1. Finding Varroa-tolerance
Varroa-tolerant colonies can be identified using one or more of the following techniques.
A) Use survivor colonies. Sometimes colonies or whole apiaries go un-treated unintentionally, or they may have been abandoned
B) Prior to fall treatment with Miticides, look for those colonies with little evidence of mite presence. Use colonies having:
∑ Good brood patterns
An absence of worker pupae in uncapped cells
∑ Few worker brood cells with mite feces in them
∑ Few drone brood cells with mites
∑ An absence of bees with deformed wings
∑ Few bees seen with mites on them
∑ Few of dead mites on bottom boards
I've noticed my best hive with six to ten uncapped worker cells on a given inspection, and the occasional sighting of a worker carrying a pupa away from the hive. Does that mean these bees are too aggressive about getting at the mites?

I've only seen two mites on the tattle tale board, one mite for each of the two powdered sugar treatments I've done. Started from a NUC in April, Italian/Carniolan bees, with new queen raised by the hive in May, this NUC is now three hives.