Varroa monitoring class set for July 26

(Left ) Ashley Peery and (right) Jackson Means receive their Alwood Extension Awards from Ed Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

(Left ) Ashley Peery and (right) Jackson Means receive their Alwood Extension Awards from Ed Jones, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Join the NRVBA at the Virginia Tech Apiary on Saturday, July 26 for a short course on methods for sampling your colonies for Varroa destructor infestation.

Jackson Means, who recently successfully defended his thesis on Varroa monitoring at Virginia Tech will teach this short course at the apiary from 10 a.m.-noon. The apiary is located at Tech’s Prices Fork Research Center near the corner of Prices Fork Road and Brooksfield Drive.

Sign up by sending an email to NRVBA Program Director Tonia Moxley at

Beekeepers of all skill levels are encouraged to sign up for the class, which is limited to 25 attendees. Please remember to bring your own protective equipment (veils or bee suits), and any snacks or beverages you wish to have on hand. These things will not be provided.

Varroa destructor is an invasive mite species introduced from Asia that has decimated European honey bee populations in the U.S. since the 1990s.

varroa on beeThe 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 give a short lecture on Varroa, demonstrate various methods for sampling hives for infestation levels and discuss the recommended thresholds for treatment.

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