First Apiary meeting of the year for WDBKA members

Members of WDBKA gathered at the apiary on Saturday 6th April for the first meeting of the season. Not surprisingly the weather was deemed too cold to open hives and inspect the colonies.

Hives were hefted to assess the weight of stores to keep the bees going whilst the cold snap continues. Varroa trays were also inspected and the Langstroth hive was selected to trial a new treatment for varroa.

The predatory mites are a species of stratiolaelaps mites which are native to the UK where they live in leaf litter.

The first sachets of predator mites are introduced into the Langstroth hive

The first sachets of predator mites are introduced into the Langstroth hive

They have been used in biological control in horticulture for over 15yrs but have only recently been trialled for use in controlling pests of livestock species. This species of stratiolaelaps is a non-specific predator which attacks the phoretic (adult) stages of the the Varroa mite. They provide an on-going reduction in varroa population through the season to maintain it below a level which would cause significant health problems in the colony. Each treatment consists of two paper sachets, each containing approx 500 mites, which are placed on the top bars in the hive at two monthly intervals. The bees chew through the paper and the mites spread through the colony. 

It will be very interesting to monitor the health of the bees and  the varroa levels in the hive over time.

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