Varroa traps: an effective treatment method against Varroa?

Bees are essential pollinating insects for biodiversity and food production. However, they face many challenges, including the presence of parasites such as Varroa destructor. This small mite attacks adult bees and larvae, weakening colonies and even causing their collapse. To combat this scourge, beekeepers use various treatment methods, including Varroa traps. But are they really effective? Let's find out in this article.

What is a Varroa trap?

A Varroa trap is a device designed to capture Varroa mites without harming bees. It typically consists of a tray covered with a grid, placed under the hive. The mites fall through the grid and are trapped in the tray, while bees cannot access it.

How Varroa traps work

The principle is simple: exploit the Varroa's reproductive cycle to catch and trap it. The traps, usually artificial frames inserted into the hive, imitate drone cells where varroas like to lay eggs. Attracted by these cells, female varroas lay their eggs there, but the larvae cannot develop and die, thus trapping the parasites.

Advantages of Varroa traps

  • Natural and chemical-free method: traps are environmentally friendly and do not contaminate honey.
  • Easy to use: installing and monitoring traps is simple and does not require specific skills.
  • Effective: traps can capture a significant amount of varroas, reducing the parasitic population of the colony.
  • Affordable: traps are generally inexpensive and can be reused several times.

Limits of Varroa traps

  • Variable effectiveness: capturing varroas depends on several factors, such as colony size and infestation level.
  • Requires regular monitoring: traps must be inspected and emptied regularly to avoid accumulation of dead varroas.
  • May not be sufficient alone: in cases of significant infestation, traps may be used in combination with other treatments.

While Varroa traps are a promising alternative to chemical treatments, it is important to emphasize that they cannot be the sole solution for combating the parasite. Their effectiveness depends on several factors and may not be sufficient to curb a significant infestation.

Here are some reasons why it is important to combine Varroa traps with other treatments, such as Stop Varroa:

  1. Variable effectiveness:
  • Fight against phoretic varroas: traps only capture varroas present on bees, which represents only a part of the parasitic population. Varroas in the brood (about 80%) are not affected.
  • Infestation differences: the effectiveness of traps is lower in heavily infested colonies.
  • Seasonality: the attractiveness of traps may vary depending on the season, reducing their effectiveness at certain times of the year.
  1. Need for increased surveillance:
  • Regular emptying: traps must be emptied regularly to avoid accumulation of dead varroas that can contaminate the colony.
  • Infestation monitoring: regular monitoring of the number of trapped varroas is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the method and adjust treatment if needed.
  1. Risk of resistance development:

Exclusive use of Varroa traps may favor the appearance of varroas resistant to this control method.

This is why it is important to combine Varroa traps with other treatments, such as Stop Varroa.

Stop Varroa: an effective curative treatment

  • Fights varroas in the brood and on bees.
  • Ideal complement to Varroa traps.
  • Optimal protection of colonies.

Combined control strategy:

  • Use Varroa traps to capture phoretic varroas.
  • Perform a Stop Varroa treatment to eliminate varroas in the brood.
  • Monitor infestation and adjust strategy if needed.

In conclusion, Varroa traps are a valuable tool in the fight against Varroa, but their use alone does not guarantee optimal protection. Combining them with curative treatments like Stop Varroa and careful monitoring will ensure the sustainability of bee colonies.