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Does anyone know of a video or description with pictures showing dissection of the honey bee to check for tracheal mites. I know that one can send bees off to be checked, but my 14 yr old son would like to learn to do this as part of his home schooling program. Thanks.
 

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Just pop their little heads off, and the trachea
come away intact along with the head the
overwhelming majority of the time.

I use 60x or 100x for looking for evidence of
tracheal mites. Normal tracheal are as clean
as a whistle. Any "dirt", "gunk" or discoloration
is cause to look with care, as there is nothing
else that would commonly cause the trachea to
be anything less than clean.
 

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Say you notice a few "K" wing bees during a lift and peek session this time of year. By a few I mean two or three on top of the frames. Temp too low for menthol, currently no brood and likely not to be for a little while yet. Do you do the grease patty or just keep your fingers crossed and wait for warmer weather?

David
 

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> Do you preserve the bees prior to dissection or
> do they have to be fresh?

You can freeze them for long periods if you
don't want instant results. I sample into
ziplock bags and toss them in a small cooler
with plain old ice for all day, and then toss
the bags into a freezer when I am done for the
day. Bags are labeled with permanent marker,
but one wants to remember to do this before
collecting any bees.

> Do you just pull the head forward and the body
> backward with your fingers?

Yes, more with the fingernail than the finger.

One thing - you may never find any, depending
upon where you got your queens or what the
ancestry of your queen is. Tracheal mite
problems are a sign of needing a new queen
supplier more than anything, as only the
meven a feeble breeding and selection attempt
would include tracheal mite considerations.
 

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You can freeze them like Jim said, but they're easiest to take apart fresh.

I use a 40x disecting microscope to get the trachea out and then a compound scope to look at them. There are instructions in "The Hive and the Honeybee"
 
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