Strategies for overcoming the Varroa challenge: Chronicles of a beehive

In the fascinating world of beekeeping, there are many challenges that beekeepers must face. One of the most formidable is the Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that threatens the health and survival of bee colonies. This article, inspired by the "Chronicles of a Hive," examines strategies for overcoming this challenge and preserving our precious pollinators. We will explore in detail the nature of the Varroa, its impact on bee colonies, and the different methods for combating this parasite.

Understanding the Varroa destructor

The Varroa destructor, often simply called "Varroa," is an external parasite that attacks adult bees and their brood. Originating from Asia, it has spread throughout the world, causing havoc in hives. The Varroa feeds on the hemolymph of bees, weakening their immune system and making them more vulnerable to diseases. But how does this parasite manage to cause so much damage?

The life cycle of the Varroa is closely linked to that of bees. Female Varroa enter the brood cells just before they are capped, where they lay their eggs. The Varroa larvae feed on the developing bees, causing irreversible damage. Once the bees emerge, the adult Varroas can move from one bee to another, thus continuing their cycle of reproduction and destruction.

Impact of Varroa on bee colonies

Infestation by the Varroa can lead to a decrease in the bee population, a reduction in honey production, and, in severe cases, the collapse of the colony. Furthermore, the Varroa is a vector for several viruses harmful to bees, which exacerbates its negative impact. Among these viruses is the deformed wing virus, which can cause physical deformities and significantly reduce the lifespan of bees.

It is important to note that Varroa does not always cause immediate damage. Light infestations may go unnoticed for some time, but if left untreated, they can quickly become uncontrollable. This is why regular hive monitoring is essential.

Strategies for combating Varroa

Fortunately, there are several strategies that beekeepers can adopt to combat Varroa and protect their hives.

  1. Regular monitoring: Regular hive monitoring is essential to quickly detect the presence of Varroa. Beekeepers can use various methods, such as counting Varroas that have naturally fallen or using smoking boards, to assess the level of infestation. Monitoring should be carried out throughout the year, but it is particularly important in the spring and summer, when colonies are most vulnerable.
  2. Biotechnical treatments: Certain biotechnical methods, such as the use of organic acids (such as formic acid or oxalic acid), can help control Varroa infestations. These acids are naturally present in the environment and are relatively safe for bees when used correctly. However, they should be used with caution, as excessive use can lead to Varroa resistance.
  3. Stop Varroa Treatment: The Stop Varroa Treatment is organic and easy to use. It guarantees a 100% success rate. Simply lift the frames one by one and spray both sides with the treatment. The Varroa colony will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.
  4. Genetic selection: The selection of Varroa-resistant bees is a promising long-term strategy. Certain strains of bees, such as Russian bees or bees from the island of Gotland, show natural resistance to Varroa. These bees have developed grooming and breeding behaviors that help them cope with the parasite. Selecting and breeding these bees can help create more resistant colonies.
  5. Hive management: Good hive management can also help control Varroa. This includes reducing the hive space during periods of low activity, regular replacement of brood frames, and avoiding the transfer of Varroas between hives. Additionally, beekeepers can encourage the natural reproduction of bees (swarming), which can help reduce the number of Varroas.


The Varroa destructor represents a major challenge for beekeepers around the world. However, by understanding the biology of this parasite and adopting appropriate control strategies, it is possible to overcome this challenge and maintain healthy and productive bee colonies. The "Chronicles of a Hive" remind us that beekeeping is a journey full of challenges, but also rewards, and that protecting our pollinators is a responsibility we all share.