Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Varroa Without Hosts

3229 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Tom G. Laury
I've read in a couple of places, including on this forum, that the lifespan of the female Varroa is 2-3 months during summer and 6-8 months during winter on bees. Does anyone know if and how these spans are impacted if there are no hosts?

The reason I ask is that two of the colonies that I hived on April 18th were on dead-outs. The following day I put in sticky grids to begin monitoring on 3-day mite drops every two weeks.

Those two hives were the only ones showing mites, the others were on new foundation. I am assuming at this point that the drops I got were from the workers cleaning out old cells. The counts were: 26 (8.6/day) and 15 (5/day).

I'll continue monitoring but it got me wondering if it is possible that female Varroa overwintered by themselves without hosts. We had two hard freezes after the colonies died with wind-chills in single digits.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Just wondering if they were alive or not. Hard to tell if they can't crawl on the sticky paper.
Varroa cannot live more than a few days without a host.
Just wondering if they were alive or not. Hard to tell if they can't crawl on the sticky paper.
They didn't appear alive and I wondered the same.
Varroa cannot live more than a few days without a host.
That's good news! Thank you very much.
"Varroa cannot live more than a few days without a host. "

seen them live a week in a sample bottle, without a host, they are tough
This info is from MAAREC:

Female mites produced in the summer live 2 to 3 months, and those produced in the fall live 5 to 8 months. Without bees and brood, the mites can survive no more than 5 days. They can, however, live in a comb with sealed brood at 68F for up to 30 days.
I am sure the numbers can be stretched, but serve as the typical case
Where the heck are they finding brood that stays capped for 30 days?:)
Were these package bees that you hived in the deadouts?

The varroa on your sticky boards may have arrived on your package bees. It wouldn't be the first time it happened.
Brood held at 68F may not emerge at all, but it isn't dead.
Whoops! Missed that detail!:)

I would expect varroa in a package/swarm to drop pretty heavily having compared to a hive with brood.
The end of last week I was looking at some hives started as packages a month ago on drawn comb. The bees had built some drone comb between the top bars and the excluder. When we popped the excluder off, the exposed drone brood had mites.

Considering that the whole yard was started as packages, and I saw mites in more than 1 hive, I'm going to assume the mites arrived with the packages, the mites waited around until there was drone brood for them to climb in the cells with.

The mites would not have had time to reproduce in the first worker brood raised, and then be able to get inside sealed drone brood. What were the mites doing until there was drone brood being sealed up?
I ordered a package back in January it is going to be here next week. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to give them an oxalic acid treatment either via vaporization or dripple shortly after getting them? Before the bees start making comb. The mites will all be on the bees and you should be able to have a very good kill ratio. What do you guys think?
Powdered sugar on them through the package cage works well too.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.