It is no secret to any beekeeper that increased population of parasites, and particularly Varroa mites, is one of the main reasons for the increasing mortality rate among honeybee colonies in the past few decades. Varroa destructor, as it is commonly known, is spreading across the globe, leaving beekeepers in distress.
Of course, beekeepers are not entirely helpless. Some bio-beekeepers tend to use plants like lavender to help reduce the Varroa infestations and they claim great results. However, not every beekeeper is capable of providing such a source of additional food and relief. Some don’t have space, others practice mobile beekeeping, but mostly they don’t have the time to be farmers as well. And because of that, the majority of commercial beekeepers resort to providing some sort of medicine. There are a number of different choices, based on the active substance and the form they come in. Some beekeeper would mix their own medicine, often based on oxalic acid, and others will directly buy off-the-shelf medicine, provided in the form of thin strips which are put either on top of the frames or suspended between them.
Whatever choice is made, it is very important to have an adequate estimating as to how infected your colonies are. Providing the medicine at the right time is of crucial importance for the overall efficiency of the colony. At Bee Smart Technologies, we believe that by making thorough analyses to the sound spectra coming from inside the beehive, we would someday be capable of estimating the parasites infestation levels. Until then we use the sound analyses, which our sensor module provides to estimate the overall health of the colony, to identify attacks and even swarming.
Please tell us in the comments section, what do you do to fight against those nasty parasites?