Sunday, June 5, 2011

Honeybee Varroa Mite Inspection

The hive ladies got their very first powdered sugar dusting today. This technique is used to detect the presence of the veracious ferocious Varroa destructor, or varroa mite. The sugar knocks the mites off the backs of the bees and onto the bottom board. Removing and examining the bottom board gives a clue as to a hive's mite load.
Sugar Honeybees

Apparently these mites are omnipresent; all hives will eventually come up with them. It's early yet to expect to see many of them, but I'm pleased to report these ladies have come up with a clean bill of health. No detectable signs of mites!
Varroa mite hitching a ride on the back of a honeybee
Photo from
The varroa mite parasite attaches itself to the honeybee and, like a leech, sucks on the bees hemolymph (blood). This weakens the bees and additionally makes them susceptible to viruses. It is thought that this mite is a key ingredient in Colony Collapse Disorder, the syndrome that is virtually killing off our bees.

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