Varroa: how to avoid resistance to treatments

Red Alert in the World of Bees! The formidable Varroa mite is developing resistances to treatments, threatening the future of our pollinators and our agriculture. But let's not give up! Solutions exist to counter this threat and protect our precious allies.

In this article, discover the strategies that beekeepers can implement to slow down Varroa's adaptation and save our bees. Together, we can meet this challenge and ensure the survival of these insects essential to our planet.

How does resistance to treatments develop?

When mites are repeatedly exposed to acaricidal treatments, some individuals may develop genetic mutations that make them resistant to the acaricide. These individuals survive the treatment and pass on their resistance to their offspring. Over time, the Varroa population becomes increasingly resistant to the treatment, making its effectiveness less important.

How to avoid resistance to treatments?

There are several strategies to limit the development of resistance to treatments against Varroa:

Treatment Rotation

Treatment rotation is a key method for preventing Varroa resistance to acaricides. This strategy involves alternating the use of products with different modes of action, thus limiting the selection pressure on mites and delaying the emergence of resistances. For effective rotation, it is crucial to vary the modes of action, respect an adequate interval between treatments, monitor their effectiveness by counting the fallen Varroas on the bottom boards, and consult an expert to develop an adapted rotation plan. This approach presents several advantages, such as preserving the effectiveness of treatments, delaying the appearance of resistances, reducing environmental impact, and promoting healthier and more resistant bee colonies.

Monitoring Treatment Efficacy

  1. Detect Resistances: Monitoring treatment efficacy allows for the quick detection of acaricide resistance emergence and the adjustment of the control strategy by choosing products with different modes of action.
  2. Optimize Treatments: By evaluating treatment efficacy, it is possible to identify the most performing products and prioritize them in treatment rotation, thus improving parasite management and colony health.
  3. Reduce Costs: Regular monitoring of treatment efficacy prevents the unnecessary use of expensive and ineffective products, contributing to more economical and sustainable beekeeping.

How to Monitor Treatment Efficacy?

  1. Count Fallen Varroas: The most common method for evaluating treatment efficacy involves counting the number of fallen Varroas on the bottom boards after treatment application. This count allows for calculating the infestation rate and determining if the treatment was effective.
  2. Perform Sensitivity Tests: Sensitivity tests to acaricides can be conducted in a laboratory to evaluate Varroa sensitivity to different products. These tests help identify resistances and guide treatment choices.
  3. Monitor Bee Population: Regular observation of the bee population and behavior can provide clues about treatment efficacy and overall colony health.
  4. Keep a Register: It is important to keep a detailed record of applied treatments, application dates, used doses, and observed results. This register facilitates treatment efficacy monitoring and the development of an adapted rotation plan.

Development of New Control Methods

Stop Varroa is an international research project aiming to develop new methods for controlling Varroa Destructor, the main parasite of bees. The primary objective of this project is to find innovative, sustainable, and environmentally friendly solutions to protect bee health and preserve pollination.

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. To use it, simply lift the frames one by one and spray both sides with the treatment. The Varroa colony will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.

By combining these techniques with sustainable farming practices and supporting research into new control methods, we can save our bees and ensure the future of beekeeping.