Two documents familiar to beekeepers looking to control the varroa mite in their colonies are now available to a broader audience.

The Honey Bee Health Coalition says it has translated both the “Tools for Varroa Management Guide” and the “Guide to Varroa Mite Controls for Commercial Beekeeping Operations.” The guides provide information on testing and treatment protocols for U.S. and Canadian beekeepers to manage the mite.

According to the coalition, the management guide is the product of six months of editing by “an expert team of beekeepers, entomologists, extension agents, apiary inspectors and federal … to bring it up-to-date with changes in best practices and treatment options.”

The commercial guide “lays out a vision that addresses the risks of resistance created by off-label chemical treatments of varroa,” the coalition said in a release – which was also translated into Spanish. Continuous use of off-label amitraz, with increasing dosages and frequency of use as it becomes less effective, is very likely to cause amitraz to lose its effectiveness more quickly,” it added, noting beekeepers are already observing the trend. This document “aims to help commercial beekeepers evaluate a variety of varroa control methods that can be integrated into a management plan” and includes six case studies.

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According to the Hawaii Plant Industry Division, varroa mites lay eggs in the brood cells of bee hives, and the mites then feed on bee larvae. As a result, bees can emerge with deformed wings and bodies. The mites can also feed on adult bees, which causes population declines and “ultimately reduces pollination.”

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