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Thread: Spotting varroa

  1. #1
    Join Date
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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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    May 2012
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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.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  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"?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  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.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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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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    Sep 2013
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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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    Feb 2011
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    Franklin County, PA
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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.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
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    Feb 2011
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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
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Lakeland, FL
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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.

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