Parasitic Mites in Honeybees & Control
Mites are not insects, they are Arthropods. Most mites have four pairs of legs
while insects have only three pairs of legs.
Four species of mites are associated with honey bees, only two are of economic
importance in the United States at this time. These mites have been accidentally
introduced, presumably by man to areas far beyond their natural range. They
are destructive in the new places and are perfect examples of what man's carelessness
Tracheal mite (TM)(acarapis woodi)
Tracheal mites live in the large prothroacic trachea of the honey bee. All
stages, eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults may be found in the trachea at any given
time. They breed throughout the:year.
TM females may be found on adult bees within a day of the bees' emergence from
its cell. The female enters the thoracic trachea of the young bee and lays eggs.
These eggs hatch in three to six days. Feeding takes place in the trachea,
causing scar tissue to form an the tracheal wall, this scar tissue interferes
with the exchange of gases through the tracheal wall causing stress in the bee.
Sometime after two weeks from the time the young bee is infested, mature, mated
females may migrate out of the trachea and look for a new host.
Apiary inspectors can sample colonies for tracheal mites. The examination takes
place under a microscope,and requires a keen eye even then. Tracheal mites are
considered to be established all areas therefore random sampling is no longer
done. Sampling will be done if requested or when required for certification
to move or sell colonies.
Control measures are few and unpredictable. The best defense is to acquire
stock that is resistant to the mites.
Varroa mites are external parasites of the honey bee. The female mite
deposits their eggs in the cells containing older honey bee larvae.
The nymphal stages of the mites attach to the bee and feed on the hemolymph
(blood) of the developing bee.
This blood meal is necessary for the young female mite. Without this meal she
will not be able to produce viable eggs. Not all infested brood is killed. Close
examination of bees of the colony or on the bottom board may reveal adult bees
with deformed wings, legs, or other body parts.
The bees may also appear smaller than unaffected bees. The mites most often
attach to the thorax and may be easily seen by the unaided eye.
Though menthol has low toxicity to humans, its vapors may cause tearing if
the eyes are exposed to concentrated vapors.
Therefore, open containers cautiously in a well ventilated area. Gloves are
recommended to protect hands from irritation of cuts and scratches while handling.
Exposure limits for humans ..Not Established
no hazard;but may cause transient irritation
FIRST AID: None should be needed, except
for the eyes, flush with plenty of water.
Do not apply directly to any body of water. Do not contaminate water by cleaning
of equipment or disposal of waste.
Use only when bees are not producing honey and preferably at a time when bees
are not raising brood. Damage to brood may result, or house bee activity may
crystalline alcohol from oil of peppermint
Dosage: 50 grams (1.8 ounces )
Enclose crystals in plastic screen bag (7x7 inches) or similar porous packet.
Size of hive should be less than 2 deep hive bodies. Remove honey supers. Place
menthol packet the top bars of frames for 15-20 days minimum.
Maximum control is achieved if menthol is on the colony for 10-12 weeks.
Recommended treatment is in the late summer; August or September. The mite
population must be brought to low levels before the fall brood hatch occurs
in order for the control to be effective.
Remove menthol one month prior to honey flow. In some areas you may have to
sacrifice the fall honey flow to treat your b colonies.
Follow all label:directions and precautions for handling, storage, and disposal.
For survey and control of Varroa mites in honey bee colonies.
Apistan is a plastic strip impregnated with the active ingredient fluvalinate.
It is a contact poison and is distributed throughout the hive by the co-mingling
of the bees in the hive. Effective control may be achieved by treating the hives
in the fall or late summer.
It is preferred that treatment be commence before the time when bees begin
to raise the fall brood cycle and continue for a period of time after all brood
rearing has ceased.
This will expose almost all of the mites to the product, thus giving more complete
control. When used as a survey tool, remove honey supers if present. Install
"sticky board" and Apistan strips. Remove strips and sticky board after three
days and before seven days.
Replace honey supers. Read sticky board.
Do not get material in mouth. Harmful if swallowed. Wash hands thoroughly
with soap and water after handling, use of latex gloves is recommended.
Do not expose honey intended for human consumption to strips.
After treatment, do not use beeswax for human consumption. Follow all label