What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    York, York County, SC
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    Default What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    I have been watching my IPM boards recently as I am pushing 1:1 to complete a final super draw out. My 24 hour numbers were acceptable (<20). I am running a 72 hour IPM grease board and will check again for a daily average on Tuesday evening when the board comes out. I would like to avoid a treatment with chemicals, I have a Apivar strips available. What do you think the effectiveness of powdered sugar is to dislodge the phoretic mites? I have a flour sifter should I screen the sugar more? I also have a one gallon paint bag which has a much finer screen. Do you remove the frames and powder them? (I have heard sprinkling powdered sugar kills open brood)

    I will know more on Tuesday evening. I would still do the sugar even if my average daily is less than 20.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    A dadant deep needs 200g of powdered sugar. Put honey supers off. Screen the whole surface of brood deep. Use pure white sugar without starch and grind fine. Sifter is good.
    Don`t remove frames. Brush into the spaces.
    Close hive and wait 15 minutes. Then pull boards and clean them.
    Do it every second day for ten days, so you dislodge some mites coming out of cells, too.
    It will not kill open brood doing it this way and it will not be very sticky on the bees without starch. The bees will do much grooming.

    But most of the mites are in the capped brood and it will not help against virus disease.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    1,530

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    I had good results when I tried it. However, I set off the worst ant problem I have ever seen. Even now if I lose the tiniest bit of powdered sugar when I do a sugar shake, the ants come from far and wide. It is a labor-intensive process and I sure wouldn't suggest it for more than 2-3 hives for that reason. And be prepared for the ants. I almost lost mine to carpenter ants until I put the hives on IPM bottom boards. Even then at first I had to change the oil daily for awhile before I got the ants under control. Oil pans work great to control both ants and SHBs. My hives are living proof of that.

    Just understand that powdered sugar IS a treatment and this is the treatment-free forum.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    I suspect SiWolKe is about right ... it would take that kind of effort to make a significant difference.

    Clearly, putting 300 bees into a jar with powdered sugar and shaking it will get most of the mites off the bees, at least temporarily. That's a useful diagnostic tool and does little harm to the bees.

    But a sprinkle of powdered sugar down between the frames does little. I spent a summer trying and never got a noticeable increase in the mite drop rate onto sticky boards doing it. This included using a clean insecticide duster to blow powdered sugar across each side of each frame to get the best coverage.

    The problem, I think, is that the sugar may cause some mites to drop off, but in a hive, especially a large hive, they rarely fall far. What you need is for the mites to drop out of the hive onto a death trap, such as a sticky board or oil tray. I think that is only likely in smaller hives, such as a single deep. And to make the technique effective, it would need to be done fairly aggressively. One casual dusting a month is unlikely to produce a significant effect.

    We've had better luck by getting better bees, a locally-bred mix with strong VSH characteristics.

    We did not have a serious ant problem due to sugar treatments. But we had the hives on a Charlie B ant-resistant hive stand (the thread was recently resurrected, and worth a look if you plan to try powdered sugar).

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Powdered sugar will remove 20 to 30% of the varroa mites on adult bees, but 70% or more of the mites is in capped brood. The only time you could expect any success is when there is no capped brood in the hive. If you have no capped brood then you could expect to remove 90% of the mites, or better, by dusting 4 times. This is labor intensive unless you have a small number of hives. A combination of sugar dusting and trapping mites with drone brood would be a better method to remove mites.

    When cleaning up a natural or a shaken swarm, a dusting with sugar and a frame of proper age drone brood for trapping mites, followed by another dusting and frame of drone brood at one week, usually results in a clean swarm that builds rapidly and need no further treatments.

    Naturally, if using powdered sugar, you need to have a screened bottom board. If the mites fall onto a solid bottom they just hitch a ride on the next passing bee of the proper age.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    west central Arkansas
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    1,080

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    If I were to treat, and try to do the least harm to bees with the most effective results, I'd do OAV. It's as "natural" as sugar dusting, less invasive ultimately.

    I don't treat anything, and definitely wouldn't based on those numbers. What mite counts won't show is disease tolerance, and there is really only one way to find that out.

  8. #7

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    A dadant deep needs 200g of powdered sugar. Put honey supers off. Screen the whole surface of brood deep. Use pure white sugar without starch and grind fine. Sifter is good.
    Don`t remove frames. Brush into the spaces.
    Close hive and wait 15 minutes. Then pull boards and clean them.
    Do it every second day for ten days, so you dislodge some mites coming out of cells, too.
    It will not kill open brood doing it this way and it will not be very sticky on the bees without starch. The bees will do much grooming.

    But most of the mites are in the capped brood and it will not help against virus disease.
    Do you use this method?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    3,080

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    There was a study a few years back, not on the effectiveness of powdered sugar on treating mites, but on safety to the bees. They concluded it would harm larvae within a couple of days of capping, but only at very high application levels. A dusting was harmless but filling the cells 2/3 full of sugar just before capping was lethal.

    0.2 kg of powdered sugar per deep sounds high enough to warrant being careful with getting it down in with larger larvae. Although I suppose, worst case, you only lose a couple of days of brood.

    I don't recall if that study used commercial powdered sugar (which these days almost always includes starch), or pure powdered sucrose.

  10. #9

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Do you use this method?
    Not with my mite resistant stock.
    We use this when we regress.

    To me, regression means going to small cell, natural food, more natural managements.
    This needs one up to five years depending on your location.

    The weak old school kept bees we have here would not live for one season without help.
    Other "treatments" would reset every effort.

    When my first hive , treated with formic acid, had a downfall of 30 mites per day, I tried this as substitute treatment.
    Very good, but I started to late.
    You have to start in early spring and use this every 3 weeks the whole year through.

  11. #10

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Here some more information.
    You may decide if it works for you.

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/powd...y-work-part-1/

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    York, York County, SC
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    291

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    So powdered sugar is effective when used regularly but can only knock down phoretic mites. A drone brood recovery needs to be included every four weeks with the weekly dustings. I pulled my 72 hour IPM last night and counted out a number that was very close to my 24 hour for my average daily number. Both of those were well under 20. Should I start a frame of drone foundation on the outside two frames next spring? Ultimately, my goal is to make it to next year with this colony. Goals of turning into a apiary powerhouse are way off. Thanks for the input.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Olmsted County, MN USA
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    86

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Peer-reviewed study from 2008: "We found that dusting colonies with powdered sugar did not significantly affect the adult bee population (treated: 10061.72 629.42; control: 10691.00 554.44) or amount of brood (treated: 4521.91 342.84 cm2; control: 4472.55 365.85 cm2). We also found no significant differences between the total number of mites per colony (treated: 2112.15 224.62; control: 2197.80 207.75), number of mites per adult bee (treated: 0.080 0.010; control: 0.097 0.010), or number of mites per capped brood cell (treated: 0.112 0.013; control: 0.106 0.018). All data are mean s.e. Within the limits of our study and at the application rates used, we did not find that dusting colonies with powdered sugar afforded significant varroa control."

    Reference http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/1...IBRA.1.48.1.14.

    Google Scholar is a pretty useful tool.
    Christian (Chris) Schad
    Website: TheBeeShed.com, Facebook: The Bee Shed

  14. #13

    Default Re: What is the efficacy of powdered sugar as a mite treatment

    Treatments are a way to keep mites at bay it doesn`t matter what treatments you use.
    Now you can do treatments yourself or leave the defense to the bees.

    Treatment is never healing or we would not have any mites left.

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