Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mite Control

I have an old Navy buddy down in Kentucky that is also a struggling beekeeper. He was up here about three years ago and found me working at the problem and now we trade tidbits when we can.

I told him about the bottom screens to reduce mites. They have been using that method for years but don't put anything below the screen. I'm sure their weather is warmer and the season longer so they just leave the hive bottom open.

Something else they do is put a paper towel saturated with vegetable oil on top of the upper super. The theory is that the bees try to rid the hive of the trash and in the process coat themselves in oil that repels the mites. He says it seems to help.

Has anyone heard of such a thing?

Another thing he is trying is starting with a larger package when he starts a new colony.



CoyoteWoman said...

Hi Bud,

I haven't heard of the vegetable oil soaked paper towel procedure. I would wonder about the health of the bee who is coated in veggie oil. I need to know more.

The tray in the bottom of the mite trap is purely for the beekeeper. By pulling out the tray each week and looking for mites you can keep on top of any infestation that could be going on. Without the tray, the beekeeper can't tell if mites are in the hive, or if they are increasing or decreasing in numbers.

It would be great to know if any of our West River bees are infested, and the only way to know is if we are checking that tray periodically.

Thanks for the post.

Bearakade Bud said...


I would never have known what those little buggers looked like unless Denny showed me a few in early spring. He had a few in each of his hives, on the bottom tray. They were about the size of the period in an email and maroon in color. I have not found any yet but check once a week or so just to watch the problem.

I looked in on the troops a couple days ago and things seem OK. Some larvae and I was able to sight the queen. I'm so afraid of doing more harm than good by stirring the pot.

I look for you and Margaret every time I go down the hill. This old rope is going to get tired of riding around with me. ;-)

I'll ask Kentucky about the oily bees.


Visiting Plum Blossoms 5/08

Visiting Plum Blossoms 5/08
Photo: Coyotewoman, Newfane Hill, VT