Managing varroa destructor
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varroa mite on larvaA varroa mite on the body of a developing larva
Photo by Scott Bauer
varroa family A family of varroa mites found at the bottom of a brood cell.
Photo by Scott Bauer.

There are many accounts for managing the varroa destructor mite which are available on the internet. See for example:
the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
In the UK Bee Base is a valuable source for all things bee.
The booklet Varroa unter Kontrolle gives the German perspective.

In Canada the use of formic acid in the form of Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) has been marketed. This product was quickly registered for use in all states in the USA, and in association with BASF the German pharmaceutical giant is in the course of being brought to the European market. The product was approved for use in the U.K. in February 2013 and is now for sale in this market.

It is interesting to read the Danish approach to varroa in view of the fact that no medicine or pesticide has been allowed in that country in the treatment of any bee ailment.

An EU Report on Varroa from 1991 can be viewed here.

And little more needs to be said here. What is particularly interesting are the accounts on how varroa is tackled world wide and the various treatments used particularly in Europe and Canada. In view of the fact that the varroa mite has become resistant to the two miticides used world wide - Apistan and Bayvarol, some of this information in the above accounts is out of date but the information on other chemical treatments remains valid.

Basically what emerges is that where varroa is present treatment (or evaluation of the situation) needs to be given (made) three times a year:
in Spring before the supers go on;
in late Summer after the supers come off; and
in mid Winter when no brood is present.

There is no overall agreement as to what treatment should be used nor as to the product which is allowed in each country. Where a strategy has evolved it is promoted by the respective National Beekeeping Association.
However, in some countries there is no overall strategy.

The Spring treatment may involve the use of formic acid or drone brood trapping;
the late Summer treatment may again use formic acid or thymol; whereas
the mid Winter treatment always uses oxalic acid.

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