Varroa Monitoring and Control

Beekeepers need to ensure their colonies are free of disease and one of the scourges of modern beekeeping is of course the Varroa mite!

The BeeBase website has a very useful calculator to help estimate mite numbers and determine whether treatment is necessary. It is recommended therefore, that all PBKA members use this tool and then if necessary, treat affected colonies appropriately.

It is also recommended that all PBKA members register with BeeBase and take advantage of any inspections from our local bee inspector who should be considered as a valuable friend in the fight against disease and promotion of healthy colonies.


Varroa Alert from the National Bee Unit

Please see the notice below from the National Bee Unit.

Some of you may not have gotten round to treating your colonies with oxalic acid as the weather was so mild in winter. Treatments that were applied in winter may have had lower than normal efficacy due to the presence of brood and therefore beekeepers may want to consider treating colonies again, especially where bees are showing signs of deformed wings. Thymol based products and formic acid pads may be ineffective at the present time as daytime temperatures respectively of 12-15 °C or above are recommended. Neither should MAQS strips be used on smaller colonies.

Therefore contact strips such as Apistan or Bayvarol may be beneficial, these offer a rapid knock down in severely infested colonies. However, resistance to these products has been reported in some areas and therefore colonies will need to be monitored after the treatment and an alternative treatment applied if necessary later in the season.

Alternatively, Apivar & Biowar (Amitraz) are available under the EU Cascade system by using a special import certificate. For more information about this, contact your local vet.



Notice re Oxalic Acid treatment

As you will all be aware, the last few months in Pembrokeshire have been unseasonably mild, which has resulted in queens continuing to lay significant amounts of brood in many hives. This not only impacts on the amount of stores they have available (which needs to be checked regularly), but given the cold spell we are now moving into, some of you may be thinking of treating your hives with Oxalic Acid against the Varroa mite.

Note however, that using Oxalic Acid will destroy brood and we therefore recommend that you refrain from using Oxalic Acid treatment unless you are absolutely certain there is no brood present. Instead, we suggest that you undertake Varroa monitoring in the early spring and if necessary use an alternative Varroa control.