Now is the time of year to carry out varroa treatment on your bees. The winter bees are
starting to hatch, so once you have decided how much honey you want to take off and how much you want to leave for the bees, treat them with one of the approved varroa treatments.
Remember to put your varroa boards in first and do a baseline count before you treat. Go to Beebase and use their handy varroa calculator to check your level of varroa infestation.
There are a number of chemical and biotechnical treatments to choose from, the Club is using Apiguard this season and it is important to change your treatment each year to stop the varroa becoming resistant to it.
It is important that you manage varroa in your hives. If you don’t then colonies could collapse and die. Primary details of biology and control methods can be found in the Fera/NBU booklet ‘Managing Varroa’, which is available online at www.nationalbeeunit.com. This sheet highlights best practice and some important considerations in developing a management programme.
All good bee books have a section about varroa, so get your favourite bee book out now and read up. Varroa feeds on bees by piercing the cuticle of honeybees and grubs with their mouth parts. This feeding can activate and spread various bee viruses and other disease problems. It is generally considered that varroa as a sole bee pest will probably not kill the colony for a number of years, though it does impact on honeybee social
cohesion, ability to function and it can debilitate bees by depriving them of nutrition. However when varroa is acting in conjunction with viruses and other bee disease it can become fatal quite rapidly.
So the message is to read up on varroa and understand how it can affect your bees health and wellbeing and don’t forget to regularly monitor and treat your bees for varroa.