What are the signs of a varroa infestation?

The bee, this fascinating and vital creature for our ecosystem, is confronted with numerous threats, one of the most dreadful being the varroa. The varroa, or Varroa destructor, is a parasitic mite that feeds on the blood of bees and can wreak havoc in hives. In this article, we will explore the signs indicating a varroa infestation, so that beekeepers and bee lovers can take measures to protect these precious pollinators.

High mortality rate of bees

One of the first signs of a varroa infestation is an increase in bee mortality. Bees infested with varroas may present symptoms such as deformed wings, darker coloration, and an overall less healthy appearance. If you notice an abnormal amount of dead bees around the hive or inside it, this may be a sign of a varroa infestation.

 Presence of Varroa on bees

The most evident sign of a varroa infestation is the visible presence of mites on the bees. Varroas are small creatures, brown to reddish in color, that attach themselves to the bodies of bees, particularly on the abdomen and between the segments of the thorax. If you observe bees with brownish or reddish spots attached to their bodies, it is highly likely that they are infested.

Deformed wings

A severe varroa infestation can lead to bees with deformed wings. The mites feed on the bees' blood, weakening their immune system. This can cause wing deformities in adult bees, making them unable to fly properly. If you notice bees that have difficulty flying or whose wings seem deformed, this may be a sign of a varroa infestation.

Increase in unhatched brood cells

Varroa prefers to reproduce in the brood cells of bees, where it lays its eggs. When varroas infest these cells, they can cause the death of developing bee larvae. Therefore, one of the clear indications of an infestation is an increase in unhatched brood cells or open brood cells containing dead larvae.

Abnormal behavior of bees

Bees infested with varroa may exhibit abnormal behavior. They may appear agitated, scratch themselves frequently, or behave disoriented. This behavior is often the result of the discomfort caused by the mites feeding on their blood.

Decrease in colony population

An untreated varroa infestation can quickly reduce the colony population. The mites weaken the bees and can transmit viruses, leading to increased mortality. If you notice a significant decrease in the population of your hive, it is important to consider a varroa infestation as one of the possible causes.

Varroa drop count

A precise way to determine the level of varroa infestation is to perform a varroa drop count. This involves placing a screened bottom board in the hive and counting the mites that naturally fall off the bees. A high number of fallen varroas is a clear indicator of an infestation.

Decrease in honey production

A varroa infestation can also lead to a decrease in honey production. The mites weaken the bees, reducing their ability to collect nectar and produce honey. If you notice a decrease in honey production in your hive, this may be a sign of a varroa infestation.

How to treat in case of an infestation ?

The Stop Varroa treatment 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, then spray both sides with the treatment. The varroa colony will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.


Varroa is a formidable enemy for bees, but by being attentive to the signs of infestation, beekeepers can take measures to protect their colonies. It is essential to implement appropriate management practices to combat varroa and consider appropriate treatments when necessary. The health of bees is essential for pollination and the preservation of our environment, and by recognizing the signs of a varroa infestation, we contribute to ensuring their survival.