Skip to main content

Varroa Mites

Varroa mite is a problem for bee colonies and something bee keepers all become aware of really fast. Their actual name is Varroa Destructor which gives you a bit of an idea of just how devastating having Varroa can be. Everywhere in the world, except Australia, has Varroa, and it first appeared in Devon, UK. If colonies have Varroa they will die if you don't treat it.  The mites hide in an uncapped cell and then feed on the brood food and then begin to nibble the larvae itself transferring disease and causing defects. The defects caused are most commonly deformed wings but could also be stunted growth and other problems.
Varroa mites emerge with the new bee, hanging on to its back. The mites then  begin the cycle again by entering a new cell and laying eggs there. 



This is Varroa Mite on a larvae.



This is Varroa Mite on a bee. They look pretty obvious and easy to spot.














I haven't seen any on our bees. However we have bees with deformed wings. This is really worrying so despite …

Marking the queen

Well, you might have noticed that the blog is about the bees, mostly, but that there is a fair amount of juggling going on with work, family, etc etc. Alongside my first assignment which has been due ( I am doing a course) we have made a model volcano, tested it with mentos and coke, thats a sticky business, and started the process of term end and every event that goes with it.

The hive is growing which is great and we decided to take the feeder off for now to give the bees more chance to go out and forage. We need them to draw out (so thats making comb and putting honey in for eggs and larvae) around three quarters of the brood box (thats the one the queen lives in) before we put the super (thats the box where the honey will be) back on.

Whilst hubby was there 'just checking' he managed to mark the queen! This is a job that of course I might have liked to be there for but guess it had to be done sometime.

Why do we mark the queen and what does it mean? 

We do it so we can see her really. Its hard to spot the queen in a hive so it just makes it easier. It also means that if you forget how old she is you can work it out. I don't think I will forget, she's like family now, along with the guinea pigs, the fish and the cats.

As its 2017 the queen gets marked with a yellow dot. It was lucky I read this as I was starting to choose colours and our daughter had already suggested pink. Anyway turns out each year gets a colour and its an internationally recognised code.




It is quite distinctive and looks like I have marked the photo but there she is, the yellow dot. There, halfway up, towards the right hand side, see it? 

The colour code is based on the last digit of the year:

Year ending:
1 or 6 White
2 or 7 Yellow
3 or 8 Red
4 or 9 Green
0 or 5 Blue

A simple way to remember it is Will You Rear Good Bees (White, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue)

Popular posts from this blog

Looking good!

Pouring with rain today for 10 mins or so I know not best timing but that when we delivered our hive to the apiary. Moving from our lounge to the apiary is certain to increase our chances of bees taking up residence.

Note the hubby standing in the dry patch under the trees.






We left the super on, realise thats a mistake but since its currently empty not sure it matters yet.

Deadlines, deadlines

We should have visited the bees today, just to check all is well, they have enough to eat, they are settling in, checking any problems with the neighbours etc etc, but we didn't. Work got in the way today, plus it really is too hot to be wearing the kit!


We got this - see below -  from the National Bee Unit, we've got the sugar in and we are making up the solution tomorrow, we don't want to be responsible for starvation!

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely, particularly in any splits, nucleus colonies or colonies where the entire spring honey crop was removed. In some areas of the UK, our Inspectors are concerned at finding colonies that are starving.Feed can be prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping equipment suppliers.