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It is too early in the year for me to feel comfortable drowning a bunch of nurse bees in alcohol to get a sample of my mite load. I do, however, have a considerable amount of capped drone brood that I'm not nearly so concerned about. I spent some time yesterday tweasering drone brood out of a frame to see how many had varroa mites. I assume that the mites take a while to develop, but that if the pupae is at the purple eyed stage that any mites that were laid in the cell should be at normal size and visually identifiable.

Of 300 purple eyed stage drones (not counting a few hundred that weren't as developed) I found one mite.

First, is this a valid methodology for determining mite counts?

Second, Would this be the equivalent to .3 per 100?

TIA
Glen
 

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Use powdered sugar instead of alcohol; no killing of bees and supposedly very similar results (compared to alcohol) when performed according to accepted practice.s
 

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I don’t know the answer to your question but am intrigued, later this spring I think I will do both checks at the same time and see what I get. My guess would be that the drone count should be higher than the wash. Everything you read says most mites are in the brood and that mites prefer drone brood if it is available because it gives them more time to produce multiple daughters.
 

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I use that method. Originally I was culling whole frames of drone but now use the culling to assess the mite loads and OAV as the control. On one such entire frame face cull I came up with 6 mites. I have been in a low mite situation with virtually no surrounding bees. I dont believe you would have high levels in worker brood at the same time as virtually zero on drone brood.

I see one possible complication but not really thought out the implications; first brood reared in spring is predominately worker; there will have been a few rounds of that before the first drones, at least in my climate. They would likely have received the overwintering mites ~

I wish I had done a wash or sugar roll but I am satisfied with checking drone brood as being a safe indicator. Sure does not take long to do a check. I had one inspector that used that method and another that used the windshield washer.
 

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