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Beekeeping Gear

Varroa Mite Screen and Sticky Board

 sticky board is a vital part of varroa surveillance.

 When used correctly it is one of the most sensitive testing methods available. Sticky boards work by catching varroa mites as they drop. You then go back periodically and inspect the sticky board for varroa mites.If the sticky board is placed directly on the bottom board a screen will be needed to keep the bees off the adhesive. When used in conjunction with a screened bottom board (like the Hive Doctor Bottom Boards), the sticky board can be used alone, simply cut these to size and place them in the pest checking tray.

 Sticky boards are a useful surveillance tool for detecting the natural mite drop of a hive infected with Varroa. Mites will often dislodge from bees and fall onto the hive base, usually because of the hygienic grooming behavior of their host. Sticky boards are placed on top of the bottom board to trap mites as they fall off bees. They can be removed after 48 hours to determine the presence of Varroa within a hive. Sticky boards are a non-invasive detection method that minimizes hive disturbance and does not kill any bees. However, as only a small proportion of mites will naturally fall from bees (5 – 30%) sticky boards should be paired with a synthetic treatment for 48 hours. This combination is a very effective method for detecting Varroa in a hive

1. Trim the sticky board and wire mesh to fit the entire internal surface of your chosen bottom board (this will vary between 8 frame and 10 frame equipment).

2. Open the hive and smoke as usual. Remove all hive bodies leaving only the bottom board exposed.

3. Brush off any bees and debris on the bottom board, then place your sticky board evenly on top of the bottom board.

4. Place the wire mesh evenly on top of the sticky board.

5. Ensure both the sticky board and wire mesh are sitting as flat as possible.

6. Reassemble the hive.

7. Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) can be sprinkled on the top bars to encourage hygienic grooming behaviour.

8. After 48 hours, return to the hive and remove all hive bodies.

9. Gently remove the sticky boards and wire mesh and reassemble the hive.

10. Take the sticky board to a sheltered location with good lighting.

11. Using a pen to sift through debris, look for the presence of any mites. Even a single mite indicates an infection. Female mites will appear as brown/red dots 1- 1.5mm long. Male mites will appear as yellow/cream dots 0.5 - 1mm long.

12. Record your findings.

13. If Varroa mites are detected contact your local state authority for advice on how to proceed.