We wanted to let you know we are preparing to dispatch the first batch of predator mites from next week - if you are interested in using this biological approach to Varroa control, please let us know on 01392 872887 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, phone number, and the number of hives to be treated.
What are Predator Mites? Predator mites are a chemical-free method of controlling varroa in honeybee colonies. They are actually a species of Stratiolaelaps mites, which are native to the UK, and have previously been used in biological control in horticulture.
How do they work? This species of Stratiolaelaps works by attacking the phorectic (adult) stages of Varroa mite. They provide an ongoing reduction in the population of Varroa by attacking and keeping it beneath a significantly harmful level to the health of the colony. This is in contrast to chemical treatment which has a one-off effect and cannot be used during nectar season.
Keepers will be provided with paper sachets which are placed on the tops of the frames. The predators are released from the sachet when the bees chew open the paper. The recommended dosage is two sachets (approximately 1000 predators) per hive.
How effective are Predator Mites? Stratiolaelaps are best administered in a colony where the Varroa population is already fairly low and can be controlled as such, as opposed to a colony with a high Varroa count. Our research has shown that regulalry treated hives maintained a far lower Varroa count than untreated hives, which showed a sharp rise during the season..
We have devised a strategy of Predator Mite use through the season. On signing up to the programme, keepers will receive the mites on set dates in March, May, July and September. The mites are stored at 10-15 degrees and should be placed in your hive within 24 hours of being received.
Cost is about £5.50 per hive per treatment (incl vat and postage) and they reckon each hive will need 3 to 4 treatments throughout the year if you do a full programme.
"The aim of the survey is to understand and share some of the treatment methods we use against varroa.
The idea is that there is one form per hive and it is a place to record any details you like about the types of treatment and what you think about its effectiveness, including mite drop counts if you do this. We have made the form extend backwards to December for those who have records or can remember, so we can include Oxalic acid treatment in the survey.
If you don't monitor varroa numbers in your hives we would still like to understand what treatment methods you use. It would also be helpful to know if you don't treat at all!
Please send the form directly to Caroline: c1knight [at] btinternet [dot] com when completed. Substitute [at] for @ and [dot] for . The second character is a number one.
Caroline and John
Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the 'Asian hornet' is an invasive non-native species from Asia. It has recently arrived in France where it is spreading rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems.
Take a 2L plastic drinks bottle, remove the cap and carefully cut off the top third. In the bottom part add half a pint of water and some rotten fruit. Turn the top part upside down and push into the bottom part. Use some tape to hold the 2 pieces together. Make a couple of holes to thread some string though for hanging it up.