JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Beekeepers Association (ACBA) gathered for their regular meeting on Aug. 13 to discuss winter preparation and varroa mite prevention with North Carolina State Apiary Inspector Gregory Fariss. The group met at the Ashe County Extension Office with an overwhelming crowd in attendance.
During his presentation, Fariss discussed bee colonies threats including: starvation during the winter months, mice and varroa mites..
Varroa mites (varroa destructor) are small, reddish-brown tick like parasites that feed on the hemolymph of honey bees, transmitting deadly virises.
Varroa mites were originally found in Asia as a parasite on Apis cerana in 1904. They are native to Korea, Japan and Thailand and were later found in the United States in 1979.
According to Fariss, because honey bees live in high density colonies, they produce a high density of mites.
Fariss encourages beekeepers to sample their bee colonies for varroa mites. According to Fariss, an extremely important tool for gaining control of varroa mites is performing a sugar test. The sugar test uses a special cup to collect approximately 300 bees and then by coating the bees with powdered sugar, the mites dislodge from the bees allowing beekeepers to see how many mites are infecting their colonies.
Fariss stressed that treatment shouldn’t be dependent on a ‘high’ mite count. Few mites can transmit many different viruses that effect bees. According to Fariss, five mites per 300 bees is enough to begin treatments.
“It keeps your mite population low thus your viruses very low also,” Fariss said.
For more information on prevention and treatment methods for varroa mites, contact Fariss at 336-671-2883 or by email at [email protected]
During the ACBA meeting, Randy Baldwin announced he will be teaching an intermediate beekeeping class this fall at Wilkes Community College on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m.. The Course will begin September 8 and continue through Oct. 1 and will serve as preparation for the Journeyman certification.
For more information about the course, contact Baldwin at 336-982-8289.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.