Monday, August 25, 2014

More Mite Counts - Bee Vlog - Aug 23, 2014

Dr Dewey Caron is joining me today to demonstrate how to do 2 other methods for counting mites: an alcohol wash, and a sugar roll.

Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping by Dewey M Caron & Lawrence John Connor can be purchased at

Unlike the sticky boards, these other 2 methods give you a percent mite load. This is a more meaningful number, as hive population can affect mite drop counts. But a sugar roll or alcohol wash is independent from population size.

However, it is important to get the bees from inside the hive and off brood frames. Taking samples from outside bearding bees, or from bees in a honey super will not be an accurate indicator because the mites hang out in the brood nest and are more likely to be found on the nurse bees tending the brood.

You'll notice that we got 2 different results from 2 different frames within the same hive. Both frames were side-by-side in the brood nest, but the first was capped brood while the second had open brood and eggs. In the sugar roll we got 52 mites out of 304 bees (or 17%) but on the alcohol wash we got 26 out of 346 bees (or 8%). Could this be simply a difference of the brood frames, or is it due to differences in the 2 methods?

Personally, I think I prefer the sugar roll method. This doesn't kill bees, so it suits me better. It also looks much easier to do with more simple, and easy to make equipment.

Video Link

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