Combating Varroa mites: key moments to protect the health of bees

The Varroa mite is a formidable parasite for beekeepers and bee colonies. It feeds on the brood and hemolymph of bees, weakening colonies and making them more vulnerable to diseases and infections. To combat this scourge, it is essential to know the key moments for treating hives and preserving the health of bees. In this article, we will explore the different treatments against Varroa, the strategic times to administer them, and the recommendations of the apicultural authorities for an effective fight against this parasite.

Treatments against Varroa

To fight against Varroa, beekeepers use various treatments, such as oxalic acid, thymol-based treatments, menthol, or even strips impregnated with insecticide. These treatments each have their mode of action and efficacy and should be used according to the stage of development of the parasite and the climatic conditions.

Oxalic acid is a treatment commonly used against Varroa. It is effective against the phoretic forms of the parasite, i.e., those that are found on the body of adult bees. It can be administered in the form of spraying or sublimation and is generally used in winter when the colony is at rest, and the bees are grouped in a cluster.

Thymol and menthol-based treatments are also commonly used against Varroa. They have an acaricidal and repellent action and are effective against phoretic forms and hidden forms of the parasite, i.e., those found in the capped cells of the brood. These treatments are generally administered in the form of vaporization or diffusion and can be used in summer when the colony is in a period of high activity.

Strips impregnated with insecticide are another means of fighting against Varroa. They are placed in the hive and gradually release the insecticide, which kills the parasites present on adult bees. The strips are generally used in the fall after the honey harvest to eliminate the Varroas present and prevent winter infestations.

Key moments for treating hives

The treatment against Varroa should be administered at specific times of the year, depending on the reproductive cycle of the parasite. In general, it is recommended to treat hives against Varroa at the beginning of spring, before the period of high activity and reproduction of bees. This helps limit the spread of the parasite and protect colonies when they are most vulnerable.

It is also advisable to treat hives in the fall, after the honey harvest, to eliminate Varroas present and prevent winter infestations. This period is crucial because colonies must be healthy to survive the winter and prepare for the next season.

Recommendations of apicultural authorities

It is important to follow the recommendations of the apicultural authorities and veterinarians specialized in beekeeping to determine the best time and method of treatment against Varroa. Apicultural authorities can provide information on treatments authorized in each country, as well as on the recommended doses and modes of administration.

Regular monitoring of hives is also essential to quickly detect the presence of the parasite and act accordingly. Beekeepers can use different methods to monitor the presence of Varroa, such as counting varroas that have fallen naturally on a tray placed under the hive or using varroa traps.

In addition to chemical treatments, there are also biological control methods against Varroa, such as the use of predatory mites or breeding of bee colonies resistant to the parasite. These methods can be used in addition to chemical treatments for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly fight.

There is also the famous treatment against Varroa called Stop Varroa. Stop Varroa is the only one to eliminate 100% of varroas. It can also be used in organic beekeeping. Stop Varroa is safe for bees and does not poison your honey.

The Stop Varroa treatment is organic and easy to use. It guarantees a success rate of 100%. Simply lift the frames one by one and spray both sides with the treatment. The varroa colony will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.

In conclusion, the fight against Varroa is a major issue for the health of bees and the preservation of our environment. By following the recommendations of the apicultural authorities, using appropriate treatments at key times of the year, and exploring biological control methods, beekeepers can help protect these essential pollinators for our ecosystem.