Varroa

Organic Varroa treatment for bees

Last weekend we went to the Apiculture NZ Conference.

It was 3 days long and there were so many interesting speakers. They were just about all scientists, who all seem to be just starting on their various research projects. Now, as we all know, science takes a long time, there is no "well that seems about right, let's publish that", and definitely no 'anecdotal evidence'. Or at least the anecdotal evidence might create new areas to look into, but it doesn't form the published results. So it all takes years and years to get a good result. Great stuff that it's happening though.

And, apart from the speakers, we found the conference goers to be super interesting too.

And one great guy we bumped into was Dr Pablo German, who is a scientist who is working on an organic varroa treatment. Doesn't this sound a great idea?! His new (hot off the press) company is here Pheromite.com . Pablo says:

"Beekeepers currently have three types of treatments at their disposal, synthetic chemicals, organic chemicals, and biotechnological methods. However, they all have limitations. Synthetic chemicals are the preferred method for commercial and many non-commercial beekeepers because of their convenience. This has led to the frequent use of these chemicals, often without the use of alternatives, which in turn led to the rise of chemical-resistant mites, in particular in the USA and Europe. "
"Organic chemicals and biotechnological methods are alternatives to synthetic chemicals. Their limitations are that they are very labour-intensive and the results are often inconsistent."
"Pheromite has developed a treatment against the Varroa mite which is organic, works consistently, is long-lasting and easy to set up."

And if you think this is a good idea, well scientists always are on the look out for funding too, so you can find that bit in his web site too. Pheromite.com

We hope he gets adequate funding because if at least one of the chemical treatments for varroa has stopped working in the USA then it might here too any minute. And the traditional organic varroa treatments are very time consuming, so that's OK if you have a few hives, but no good for big commercial operations.

Varroa Free Bees to save the world

Our world's food supplies rely heavily on bees for pollination. But they are increasingly under attack from various causes, creating colony collapse disorder. But here is good news of an amazing dude who has been working hard on bees in Niue since 1999. That's 16 years, so patience is often required when working with nature, as this guy must know.

Check out the article

Creating a Global Bee Sanctuary

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And for more information see their 

fund raising page

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Control of Varroa in beehives

To have healthy strong hives, the varroa mite needs to be treated. This is usually in spring before the honey flow, and again in autumn after the honey flow. We are getting ready to put varroa strips in our hives now that the honey harvest is nearly finished.

There are different types of varroa treatments, with different chemicals, and a few non-chemical methods too. Some varroa build up resistance to some chemicals, so each hive needs to be treated in a variety of ways over the course of a year.

Breeding Varroa resistant bees

There is scientific work going on to try and overcome varroa, that destructive mite that kills bees. Currently the only way is with chemicals. But check out this short (6 min) Ted talk on this.

There is also a very cool 60 sec video in it, of the first 21 days of a bees life, where you can watch the baby bees hatch.