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Thread: Spotting varroa

  1. #1
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    Default Spotting varroa

    I've had an observation hive from a cutout for a couple of months. I've spent hours looking at it, but I still haven't spotted a mite. Anyone know how hard it is to see the little suckers?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    It's pretty easy if there's enough of them. Look at nurse bees on brood frames, most of them will be there.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    they are usually on the abdomens, when they are on the adult bees. A small round redish/brown speck the size of a fly speck, or half the size of a pinhead.
    "A good day is when no one shows up and you don't have to go anywhere." - Burt Shavitz (Burt's Buzz)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    You might not be able to see them on an observation hive. For them to be visible, the hive needs to be going strong with a lot of brood. An observation hive just does not have the brood volume. How many frames in yours?

    Usually the mite numbers peak right after the flow when brood rearing starts to taper off, so more of the mites hang on the nurse bees. If your swarm is still in build-up mode you won't be seeing them as most of them will be in the brood.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    they are usually on the abdomens, when they are on the adult bees. A small round redish/brown speck the size of a fly speck, or half the size of a pinhead.
    Aren't they closer to the size of an "o"?
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Aren't they closer to the size of an "o"?
    Yes, that's a good reference. Those that I see are just a wee bit smaller than the letter "o" when viewing the font on this site at standard magnification.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    About the size of the head of a pin.
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  8. #8
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    An interesting photo comparison:


    Photo is linked from BeeInformed.org at this page:
    http://beeinformed.org/2011/12/on-the-hunt/


    For a nice photo of a mite on an emerged bee, see:
    http://www.honeybeekeep.com/content/...roa-destructor
    Scroll down about 1/3 of the page for the photo with the arrow pointing to the mite.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Quote Originally Posted by merince View Post
    You might not be able to see them on an observation hive. For them to be visible, the hive needs to be going strong with a lot of brood. An observation hive just does not have the brood volume. How many frames in yours?

    Usually the mite numbers peak right after the flow when brood rearing starts to taper off, so more of the mites hang on the nurse bees. If your swarm is still in build-up mode you won't be seeing them as most of them will be in the brood.

    Four deep, filled with brood, (2x2) with 4 medium frames above, the lower two are capped honey/brood.

    Just coming out of summer, days still in the high 80's. Lots of pollen from Crepe Myrtle, a few loquats are blooming, bottle bush, Mexican sage. Not sure I'll ever experience a true flow in my urban environment. Just ordered clover seed to cover the bare spots in my yard.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Rader has a good picture of how I have seen them. I will occasionally see one on the back of a worker bee. I didn't see many this year.
    I took this close up photo of one with my microscope last year and you can really see how hideous they are. They are like crabby/ticks.
    mite.jpg

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    I think they are beautiful. I don't like what they do to my bees, but that has nothing to do w/ how they look. They mite think u look hideous too.
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    I get what you are saying. I perceive them as hideous monsters since they are so destructive to the bees. I can appreciate aspects of their design especially up close but I wouldn't have associated the word beautiful with them although I can understand that someone else could and that I may find things beautiful that someone else doesn't etc. I took some pictures of a tick up close and the texture of it was rather remarkable. I still don't want it on me though. Here's another mite.
    smaller mite 100x.jpg

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Here are a couple of pictures with them circled so you can find them:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Varroa2.jpg
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/Varroa3.jpg
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    If you can spot them on the bees, you are already way into the danger zone. The only meaningful way of trying to see mites is by seeing them in the bottom of a mite sampling jar so that you can determine the infestation rate. At a low infestation rate, you'll virtually never be able see mites on the bees, but conversely, not seeing then on the bees doesn't guarantee that the mites are at a low level. In my experience.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    I will pull out the entrance reducer and look under it. They seem to gather there. If I see any I investigate further.
    "We'll just check real quick, we don't need our suits"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Hmmm.

    AFAIK, adult varroa mites can't live too long without being on a bee. They feed on the bee's hemoglyph (similar to blood). I would think that if you have small creatures gathering under an entrance reducer, they are more likely to be SHB (small hive beetles) than varroa mites. More on SHB here: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/...ive_beetle.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Lol, I know the difference. I will see if I still have some photos when I get home.
    "We'll just check real quick, we don't need our suits"

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Hmmm.

    AFAIK, adult varroa mites can't live too long without being on a bee. They feed on the bee's hemoglyph (similar to blood). I would think that if you have small creatures gathering under an entrance reducer, they are more likely to be SHB (small hive beetles) than varroa mites. More on SHB here: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/...ive_beetle.htm
    First, let me apologize, I realize now this probably wasn't the best place to put my post since the topic was observation hive and my comment dealt with an entrance reducer. To give some back ground, I purchased 27 more hives from a commercial beekeeper, all strong 8 or more frames drawn, last fall queens, the hives had solid BB made from 3/4 pressure treated plywood, 2x2 pressure treated cleats underneath and 3/4 x 3/4 pressure treated rim. Since I like using SBB of my own manufacture I switched them all out right after purchase (first week of Feb).

    I have no problem seeing mites or eggs & larvae for that matter, although street signs, tape measures, pencils, pens, hive tools are another matter.

    While switching the BBs I happened to notice a few mites. I also just happened to notice that underneath the entrance reducer there was several mites, I though to myself both, sh*t mites and also huh that's odd they are under the entrance reducers. I treated for mites and now seem to have it under control.

    Part of my observation was, hmm good place to look for mites to see if they have any. I have been to three (3) other beekeepers place who said they have never had mites, I pulled entrance reducers and guess what.... wait for it...... MITES (or maybe hive beetles we haven't determined that yet have we), I then proceeded to open the hives, use my tweezers and pull some capped drones, and showed them......wait for it..... MITES. (or maybe hive beetles inside capped drone cells, not sure yet)

    Radar Sidetrack,

    Please take a look at the photo and let me know ASAP, I am going to feel terrible if I have been giving out bad info. just for clarification that is a standard 3/4 of an inch by 3/4 of an inch entrance reduce and a normal T pin found in any sewing or craft store. NOT a 4x4 and a tent stake.
    KIMG0220 (2).jpg
    "We'll just check real quick, we don't need our suits"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    Doesn't look like anything I have seen that would be a problem to bees. It isn't a varroa mite and it isn't a small hive beetle.
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  20. #20
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    Default Re: Spotting verroa

    I enlarged a portion of the photo in post #19 ....

    miteorshbbig.jpg
    (click the image to see bigger)

    If I used my measuring tool correctly (based on the board being 3/4" thick), the bug at the end of the pin is about 1.4 mm across the body. That falls in line with this:

    The female mite is brown to reddish-brown in color, measuring 1.1 to 1.2 mm in length and 1.5 to 1.6 mm in width (about the size of a pinhead).

    https://agdev.anr.udel.edu/maarec/wp...Mites_PMP2.pdf
    =====================
    UPDATE: It looks like I misread the details of the post describing the photo. At this point, I don't think the board in the photo is 3/4" high, more like 1.5", so that makes the scale of the bug about 1/2 the size of a female varroa mite.
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 04-10-2015 at 05:08 PM. Reason: update
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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