How often should monitoring be performed?
“Accurately assessing and understanding mite population is the basis of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) control strategy. Waiting too long to confirm elevated mite population numbers is risky. A delay in treatment can reduce a colony’s likelihood of survival over the winter and contribute to spreading mites to other colonies.”
Honey Bee Health Coalition - Tool for varroa management
Monitoring should take place at least three times a year, and ideally four times:
Early detection makes it possible to plan effectively and assess the need for an early springtime treatment without honey supers. A second check will be necessary after the spring treatment to confirm its efficacy.
Before your main treatment
(usually late July – August)
Choose the best-suited late-season treatment
depending on the level of infestation. Knowing your mite infestation before treatment is very important as it will help you assess is efficacy.
During a honey flow
Detect a massive varroa build-up
and plan possible intermittent treatment between honey flows.
After your treatment
Ensure the effectiveness of late summer treatment and assess the need for additional treatment in winter (when brood is absent) or early next spring.
It is recommended to sample colonies from the center and the edges of the apiary.
How many colonies should be sampled for mite monitoring?
Apiary ≤ 10 hives
All the colonies should be sampled for best accuracy.
Apiary ≤ 20 hives
6 to 10 colonies should be sampled.
Apiary > 20 hives
Sample 25% minimum
(at least 8 colonies)
Monitoring results and treatment decisions
Choose the best monitoring method according to your preference
This method consists of immersing a sample of bees into alcohol and then gently shake the EasyCheck to detach the phoretic mites so they can be counted.
This method leads to the loss of the sample, but it is the most consistent in terms of delivering accurate results.
It has been recognized as the most accurate, reliable, and economical option for beekeepers.
With this method, the bees are gently rolled with powdered sugar, causing the mites to separate from the bees.
The EasyCheck is then gently shaken, causing the sugar and the mites to pass through the white basket’s holes.
It keeps the sample of bees alive but will be a bit less effective to separate the mites than an alcohol wash.
In the CO2 method, both bees and mites are rendered unconscious by exposure to carbon dioxide gas.
The sample of anesthetized bees is then gently shaken in the EasyCheck, causing the mites to fall from the bees and pass through the white basket’s holes.
Research conducted in Europe indicates results that are similar in accuracy to those obtained by an alcohol wash.