Today I checked Flower Hive for varroa destructor mites. There are several ways to do this, today I chose the least invasive way. My two warre hives have a slide board that I can slide in under the bottom screen. I taped a piece of wax paper onto the board and wiped some olive oil on it with a paper towel. I slid it into the bottom of the hive and left it there for 24 hours.
When I did this on my green roof hive a few weeks ago I didn’t find anything. This time I saw quite a few. I counted about 30 varroa
mites. Most hives will have some level of varroa mite infestation but when the drop count gets to 15 to 20 it is time to treat. There are quite a few ways to treat for varroa mites. I’ll not delve into those here except to say that they can become pretty chemically invasive.
We are trying to go as natural or as organic as possible. Now I’ll be the first to say that it is not natural to have powdered sugar fall from the sky onto an open hive but this is the method I chose. Dusting the hive
with powdered sugar 1) clogs the suction cupped feet of the mites causing them to fall through the screened bottom board and 2) increases the grooming behavior of the bees so that they clean the sugar and the mites off of each other. If I had a solid bottom board hive the mites would be more likely to fall to the bottom, shake off the sugar and climb back up on the next passing bee. The screened bottom board adds ventilation to the hive and also creates a way for the mites to fall out of the hive.
I’ll check in a week or so with another olive oil slicked board to see how well this treatment worked.