Questions and Answers from E-Mail:

Bee Mites

Q. I heard that there is a web site about an alternative mite treatment, using oils... Where is it?? - from NS, 11/24/96
A. You are probably thinking of the Alternative Mite Treatment Page placed by the University of West Virginia...

Q. How long can one leave Apistan Strips in hives? - from JPKM, 11/10/96
A. I really can't offer any advice except that which the manufacturer has supplied with the product. More and more beekeepers have been writing and warning about being certain to treat sparingly, removing the strips on time, so that the mites do not develop resistance to the stuff.

Q. What are the bee mites, and where can I buy medication to fight them? - from HK, 9/4/96
A. There are two types of mites which were recently introduced into North America. They respond to different types of treatment, but both can cause stress, spread viruses, and create a lot of trouble for the bees. Varroa mite is larger, visible to the eye, and seems to be the more potent. Tracheal mite lives inside the bee's tracheal, or breathing, tubes. Chemical treatments are usually used to control the populations. Rather than create a long e-mail note, I am giving to you the addresses of several bee-supply houses which sell the chemicals. They may help you with more information and will certainly sell to you the materials necessary to treat the bees. You will need to call directory assistance to get their phone numbers.
Dadant and Son's, 51 S. 2nd Street, Hamilton, IL 62341
A.I. Root Co., 623 W. Liberty St., Medina, OH 44256
Western Bee Supply, P.O. Box 171, Polson, MT 59860
Walter T. Kelley Co., Inc., P.O. Box 240, Clarkson, KY 42726

Q. Have mites killed off all the wild bees in North America? - from MD, 6/16/96
A. Your question was about the loss of honey bees over the past winter. Apparently many wild colonies of bees perished during the extended, cold winter last year. Part of the reason was weather related, but part may be attributed to the occurence of two new mites, varroa and tracheal, which transmit viral infections among bees, and which have a detrimental effect of their own.
Some reports of losses of 90% may be locally correct, other areas in North America had almost no bee loss. Commercial bee farms are actually expanding their operations, and the number of hives available for pollination will probably be greater next year than it was last year. However, in areas where gardens are entirely dependent on wild pollinators, crops may be down a bit. It is expected that some of the wild bees are resistant to the mites and the viruses which they transmit and they will eventually repopulate the feral, or wild, colonies. This may take a few seasons.

Q. I would like to become a beekeeper, but have heard mites are killing off all the bees. - from PD, 6/4/96
A. As far as the mites are concerned, many commercial beekeepers are doing very well without much impact from the mites in their operations. Chemicals are commercially available to reduce the number of mites in a hive. They are not too expensive to purchase and apply. Several natural treatment systems are available and these always contain an emphasis on keeping bees in extremely good shape and reducing stress such as beekeeper mismanagement, lack of honey stores in the hive, other diseases (nosema, foul broods), aging queens, etc.

Q. Will tracheal mites kill my hives? - from JM, 5/21/96
A. You wanted information on tracheal mites. The problem need not destroy your hives. There are several options available to beekeepers to treat hives which may have this pest. The most common is the use of MENTHOL. Menthol treatments are legal, approved chemical treatments for tracheal mites. You can purchase menthol from the bee supply catalog places which you may have seen listed on our home pages. Go to the Beekeeper's Home Pages, then select the page about Beeginning Beekeeping. A list of about six places to buy menthol is supplied. Ask any of them to send to you a catalog. Tracheal mites cause much less damage than they have been blamed for- a lot of the problem is weak colony strength, poor queens, and hives short on pollen. The mites themselves transmit several viruses which may cause more trouble than the mite itself. Strong, healthy bees are your best resistance to most viral problems.

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