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Varroa mites and Beevital Hiveclean

Varroa mites
Advantages of Beevital Hiveclean
Other Treatments
How does Hiveclean work?
When do I treat the bees?
How do I use Hiveclean?
Varroa mites on worker honey bees

Varroa mites

The Varroa mite is a parasite that attaches itself to the Honeybee. The mite feeds off the bees, weakening them and spreading harmful pathogens and viruses. Infested, untreated colonies eventually die out unless control measures are carried out.

The Varroa mite is a major threat to bee colonies in the UK. The mite originated from the Asian Honeybee and became prolific as the European honeybee does not groom its colleagues as much as the Asian bee. This gives the mites the opportunity to expand quickly in number.

The drone bees are believed to propagate the mite between colonies as they move freely from hive to hive, taking the mite with them.

If the Varroa mite is found in your hive, you must act quickly and provide treatment or else risk the collapse of the entire colony.

Advantages of Beevital Hiveclean

Varroa mites scaled next to a match-head

Beevital Hiveclean is formulated to reduce and ultimately eliminate the number of Varroa mites within the hive.

The key benefit of Hiveclean compared to other treatments is that it encourages bee grooming. Upon using Hiveclean, the bees will groom each other, knocking the mites off and through the hive mesh floor.

Hiveclean also provides a sticky Varroa floor that is placed in the tray of the hive mesh floor, this monitors the mite drop. This then enables the beekeeper to get a more accurate reading of the mite problem. Unlike conventional treatments, the sticky floor also prevents the mite from being able to climb back up into the hive, thus further reducing the Varroa population. This sticky floor mat is used in conjunction with a Varroa mesh floor.

Unlike ordinary treatments, Hiveclean can be used throughout the season without affecting honey flow and brood production. It is organic and does not contain any medications. Some other treatments can slow down brood development during critical times of the year. They can also taint the honey if used during the honey flow, and in some cases, the mite has become resistant to treatment. For further information, please see the article on Varroa Management. As Hiveclean is an organic product, it does not suffer from these problems.

Beevital Hiveclean Varroa Treatments

We believe that Beevital Hiveclean is the best choice because it is a natural based product for the conscientious beekeeper. It supports the immune system of the bees and scientific tests have shown it to be highly effective against the Varroa mite.

It encourages the breeding of strong and healthy bee colonies by natural means, it is organic and the application of treatments can be used during honey flow unlike most other Varroa control treatments.

It activates the purification of bee colonies, it keeps your colonies clean and in proper condition. The mite population will be reduced to a minimum. Your bees will be regenerated by natural means and they will produce better quality honey.

Itís believed that the Varroa mite builds up in the summer months during the honey flow and come winter the colony can collapse. With Hiveclean, treatment can be given throughout the summer thus preventing collapse of the colony. This product also encourages grooming, which is a natural preventative against Varroa.

It is simple to use and economical, it is organic and can be used all year. Most importantly, as already stated, including through the honey flow.

Beevital Hiveclean contains: water, saccharose, citric acid, oxalic acid, propolis extract and essential oils.

Other Treatments

Some other treatments contain Thymol. Although this is a natural product, Thymol can contaminate or taint the honey during honey flow and slow down the bee's reproduction cycle.

Other products can be rather extreme with regards to active chemicals or antibiotics.

Varroa mites have also become immune to some treatments after constant use.

How does Hiveclean work?

The action of Hiveclean is entirely exterior to the bee body, based on natural means and does not influence the quality of honey.

Once dribbled among the hive frames it forms microscopic sticky drops that adhere to the fine hairs of the bee. During their continuous movement the bees distribute the product evenly amongst the other bees of the colony.

Beevital Hiveclean activates the cleaning instinct of the bees to start thoroughly cleaning the cells of dead larvae.

In a heavily infested hive and when bees are weakened or ill due to an attack by Varroa mites, the bees leave the colony and may be observed in front of the hive. Beevital Hiveclean prevents this by changing the smell of the bee environment. The mites perception of this situation is one of a change of their food source, which agitates the mites and forces them to leave their hosts.

The parasites fall on the hive floor and starve to death. Death is not caused by the action of any chemical compound in the product. The result may be seen only on the bottom board and not on the combs. Correct use of Beevital Hiveclean produces no negative effect on the bees, brood or the queen.

When do I treat the bees?

In spring after the pollen forage starts, in warm enough weather, make a treatment by dribbling 15ml of Beevital Hiveclean over the middle combs of the lower brood box. The next morning, evaluate the mite fall. In the case of a high mite count, the beekeeper can then decide to perform a complete treatment in order to allow the regeneration of the colony.

In July/August, check the health of your bee colonies. At this time of year, most of the Varroa mites are to be found in the brood cells. The easiest way to check is to use the Hiveclean Varroa sticky floor. Simply put the sticky floor on the tray of the Varroa mesh floor. Apply the first treatment of 15ml of Beevital Hiveclean (or equivalently one Varroa stick) and after 24 hours, do a mite count on the floor. If within a 24 hour period, the mite count is greater than 15, then carry out an extensive treatment.

Further Hiveclean treatments during every hive inspection throughout the year will benefit the health of the bees throughout the winter. Constant use of Hiveclean will benefit the colony through the winter and into the following year.

To get rid of the last mites in the hive, that would normally live for over 6 months, you can perform a winter treatment. Providing the outside temperature exceeds 0°C (32°F), you can carry out a Hiveclean on the winter cluster of bees. You can carry out a Hiveclean treatment anytime throughout the year. The winter cluster is when the bees gather into a cluster in the hive to keep warm.

How do I use Hiveclean?

Initially, warm up the Beevital Hiveclean to human body temperature. Hiveclean is best used when the outside temperature is between 10-25°C (50-77°F). If the outside temperature is too high, the bees will leave the brood nest and this leads to low efficiency. The best results are obtained when most of the bees are in the hive.

About 15ml of Beevital Hiveclean must be dribbled in the gaps among the middle 7-8 frames because this is where most of the mites are to be found. Removal of wax bridges makes the application easier.

To see how to apply Beevital Hiveclean, the best thing is probably to watch the detailed video below and see how it's done properly when actually at a hive.

How to apply Beevital Hiveclean to your hive
Extensive Treatment/Hive floor debris test

Use a Varroa mesh floor and a sticky floor and dribble Beevital Hiveclean in the brood box. The next morning, count the number of fallen mites. The result gives a rough idea of infestation level.

In colonies with brood the number of mites doubles every month. If the result of the fallen mite count is higher than 15 within a 24 hour period, an intensive treatment consisting of 3 sequential applications is needed, as described below.

This course of treatment takes into consideration the breeding period of the mite. As the development of the mite - from egg to adult - takes approximately 7-8 days, a course of treatment over 18-20 days ensures close to 100% efficiency in eliminating Varroa mites from your hive.

  • 1st treatment should take place on the 1st day - This will be efficient until the 8th day.
  • 2nd treatment should take place on the 6th day - This will be efficient until the 14th day.
  • 3rd treatment should take place on the 13th day - This will be efficient until the 18th day.

In this way, at the end of the summer, the colony will be prepared for a safe overwintering.

We hope you have success in eliminating Varroa mites from your honey bee colonies, thus ensuring your bee's sustained long-term health.

All Beevital Hiveclean products are available for purchase at our online store...

When working with Beevital Hiveclean avoid eye contact. Always recap the bottle and ensure it is closed tightly.
Keep the product out of direct sun light. Keep the product out of childrenís reach.
Beevital Hiveclean is not a medicine and does not replace any.
Beevital Hiveclean helps the breeding of strong and healthy bee colonies by natural means.
10-20ml of Hiveclean per treatment is required depending on the size of the colony.

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