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How To Get Rid Of Varroa Mites Naturally
What Are Varroa Mites?
Varroa mites are the parasites that suck their food from honey bees and cause a disease called varroosis. These mites perform their reproduction only in a honey bee colony. They feed on the fat bodies of bees and weaken them, thus destroying the honey bee colonies. They are the carriers of minimum 5 debilitating bee viruses such as RNA viruses and Deformed wing viruses. Infestation of Varroa mites ultimately causes the death of honey bees. These mites produce young ones within a 10-day cycle. They enter a honey bee brood cell and lay eggs on the larvae as soon as the cell is capped.
How To Eliminate Varroa Mites?
The process of elimination can be done using handmade or commercial products available in the market without causing damage to honey bees. Although the treatment of Varroa mites has been categorized into four methods. They are natural method, chemical-free method, powdered sugar method, and mineral oil method. Every method has its own advantages and limitations which are needed to be learned before choosing one. Usually, homemade or natural treatment has been regarded as the safest treatment method to control Varroa mites as they are free of harsh chemicals.
Natural Treatment Of Varroa Mites
Being one of the most important food industries, beekeepers prefer to rely on natural methods of parasite control. It is important to make sure that the treatment is safe and doesn’t allow the infestation to recover easily. Here are some natural methods which beekeepers can adopt to save their bees from these tiny mites.
The first safe and natural method is to breed mite resistant bees. These bees are more hygienic and can be seen brushing their back more frequently to get rid of mite infestation. They also tend to remove each other’s mites by biting them off, thus keeping the chance of an infestation in the colony very low.
Keeping eyes on bees:
Constant monitoring of bees and their behavior can also save them from the apocalypse. Beekeepers can look for mites attached on brood or the body of adult bees. Mites can also be seen around the beehives, which will allow you to start the mite removal treatment in its early stage. Deformed wings is also one of the indications of Varroa mite infestation.
Split the colonies:
As already mentioned mites are dependent on brood cells for laying eggs. Therefore splitting the colonies decreases the rate of mite reproduction, thus hampering their life cycle. This is a very effective method and has shown success number of times.
Use of heat:
Even a slight high temperature (47C/116.6F) is fatal for Varroa mites and they start to perish. They can’t tolerate high temperature for a significant period of time. Thus this method is quite safe and effective because it doesn’t affect the bees. Special heating chambers are available which can be used once a year to wipe out the mites.
Drone foundation sheet:
Since mites make drone brood as their target, we can trap them using drone foundation sheet. After capping off the brood cells, you can freeze the frame for a period of 26 to 30 hours. It is important to note that this method will kill the mites as well as the drones.
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