1 - How to Monitor, Sample, and Treat for Varroa
2 - When to Sample
3 - Sugar Shake
4 - Alcohol Wash
5 - Sticky Board
6 - Disclaimer
USDA Varroa Sugar Shake Instructions
How to Sample for Mites
Mason jar outfitted with ⅛ inch hardware cloth (cut to fill the ring of the lid)
Measuring cup (½ or 1 cup)
White / light colored tray or tub
- Place 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar into the screened jar. Leave the lid off.
- Select a brood frame with plenty of bees on it. Make sure the queen is not on the frame.
- Hold the measuring cup flush with the frame, and using a bee brush, gently brush the
bees into the measuring cup, filling to ½ cup. Once the bees are in the cup, the cup can
be shaken back and forth to get the bees to settle for an accurate measurement. If
necessary, add more bees.
- Quickly dump the bees into the mason jar and place the screened lid on tight.
- Roll or shake the jar to evenly coat the bees with powdered sugar. Let it sit in the shade
for 1 minute. (DO NOT leave the bees in the sun or in the jar too long, as they may get
sticky and/or asphyxiate).
- Fill a white / light colored tub or tray with 1 inch of water. Vigorously shake the jar upside
down until there is no more powdered sugar coming out (approximately 30 seconds to 1
minute). This will cause the mites to dislodge from the bees and fall into the water. The
sugar will dissolve in the water, making the mites easier to see.
- Return the sugared bees to the hive. Their sisters will clean them.
- Count the number of varroa mites in the tray (reddish brown ovals).
- ½ cup of bees is approximately 300 bees. To calculate mites per 100 bees, divide the
total mites found in the sample by 3.
** Treatment is recommended if the sugar shake or alcohol wash results in 3 mites per 100
Sugar shake supplies
Select a brood frame with plenty of bees
Add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to mason jar
Brush approximately 1/2 cup of bees into measuring cup
Shake the measuring cup back and forth to help the bees settle and visually determine whether there are enough bees
Pour the bees into the jar with the powdered sugar
Add the hardware cloth lid and roll the jar evenly coats the bees with sugar
Bees coated with powdered sugar
Add 1 inch of water to a white or light colored tub
Vigorously shake the jar up and down until all the powdered sugar comes off (approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute)
Count the varroa mites in the water
Credit: All Photos taken by Mona Chambers
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