Episode-163- Varroa Counts Mite Away II Effects On Beehive Part 2 of 3

Varroa Destructor caught on the sticky board.
Varroa Destructor caught on the sticky board.
Young bees killed by the formic acid.
Young bees killed by the formic acid.

Watch live crawling Varroa mites!  Manage Varroa Counts. This video was taken 24 hours after the application of the formic acid strips to Bee Hive B. The intent is to show you How to Use Mite Away II for Varroa Mite Control. The initial die of young bees was quite frightening to watch the first night. There were dozens of them just crawling out the hive and falling to the sheet in front of the hive. They would crawl a little and then stop. The young bees have newer exoskeletons that could not withstand the formic acid. The fumes affect these bees as they do the the mites  both Varroa and Tracheal with tissue suffocation and/or respiratory inhibition .

The bees seemed to struggle through the night but I had to remain calm and allow some time for the acid to do its job. After the first 24 hours the number of dead bees dropped significantly but the activity outside was abnormal. The colony was inactive to the point that my wife noticed it and told me she was worried about the bees when I came home from work. That was something to note. My wife was concerned for the bees. The video show what’s going on outside and just inside the hive. As you will see the first 24 hours were trying for the bees.

More significantly the first 24 hours seemed to really lay waste to the Varroa Destructor. The mite drop counts as the days went by represent what I mean. The drop board was placed on April 7.

  • April 10 – 72 hours – 25 mites – Decided to apply Mite Away II Formic Acid strips to kill Varroa mites.
  • April 11 – Live mites found under the screened bottom board – Drop board placed (must have been a high initial mite kill)
  • April 12 – 24 hours – 27 mites
  • April 13 – 24 hours – 17 mites
  • April 14 – 24 hours –  6 mites – Bees are buzzing abnormally loud. Is the queen still alive?
  • April 17 – 72 hours – 10 mites

The incredible thing about this video is for the first time I have some mites captured on film crawling around. Usually I only see them on the sticky board. Never have I seen any on their own looking for a host. This is why I did the treatment. The mites were prevalent and required more than just the powdered sugar dusting and essential oils mixed in with food stores.

The mistake I wish to point out that I made was the use of my regular gloves for this application. Randy Oliver of ScientificBeekeeping.com recommends that the toxicity of formic acid requires the use of 8 mil nitrile mechanic’s gloves. He also has a great list of relevant pros and cons but from what I can see and now 6 years after his report the understanding of using formic acid particularly Mite Away II to kill mites has expanded exponentially in the USA. Europe and Canada have been leaders in this application for a long time. However, it took a long time for Mite Away II to get the necessary approvals for use in the US.

Stay tuned for the third installment as I review the affects of formic acid on the colony after 7 days.


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