Note: The class is full. If you are interested in a future Varroa monitoring course, send email to program director Tonia Moxley.
Join the NRVBA at the Virginia Tech Apiary on Saturday, Aug. 3 for a short course on methods for sampling your colonies for Varroa destructor infestation.
Jackson Means, a research assistant working in Tech’s entomology program specializes in Varroa and will teach this short course at the apiary from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The apiary is located at Tech’s Prices Fork Research Center near the corner of Prices Fork Road and Brooksfield Drive.
Varroa destructor is an invasive mite species introduced from Asia that has decimated European honey bee populations in the U.S. since the 1990s.
The mite is an arachnid similar to ticks that parasitize humans and other mammals. The mite, like the tick, can vector diseases, such as viruses and bacterial infections. The mites reproduce inside capped brood cells, preferring drone brood but also preying on worker larva and pupa.
High mite infestations can weaken and even kill colonies, and in less severe cases can compromise winter hardiness.
Traditionally synthetic and naturally-occurring miticides have been used to reduce mite loads in hives, but experts have found high levels of mite resistance to synthetic treatments and negative side affects with natural miticides. Experts now recommend monitoring coupled with integrated pest management techniques such as drone brood removal to control mite populations. Chemical treatments are recommended only as a last resort, and only when regular monitoring shows a need.
Means will explain and demonstrate various methods for sampling hives for Varroa infestation, and discuss the recommended thresholds for treatment.
Beekeepers of all skill levels are encouraged to sign up for the class, which is limited to 25 attendees. Sign up here. If you have problems signing up, contact Tonia Moxley to get on the list. Please remember to bring your own protective equipment (veils or bee suits).
NOTE: Much of the material to be covered in this course was covered in the 2012 Honey Bee Disease Workshop held at Tech. Even if you took that class, you are certainly welcome to sign up for this course. However, you may find a lot of repeat information.