Processing bee colonies from ticks is an important measure that protects insects from a parasite that acts as a carrier of various viral diseases. There are three main ways to deal with a pest: physical, biological and chemical. The life of insects at different times of the year depends on the correctness of the tick-borne treatment.
General characteristics of the pest and the need for processing
The tick of varroa is a pest that harms the bee family. It not only sticks to individuals and feeds on their blood, but also acts as a carrier of dangerous diseases from which honey plants die. Tick damage significantly weakens families.
The pest has an oval, flattened little brown body. Its width is 1.8 mm, its length is about 1 mm. These parasites live for about 10 months. Varroa mites develop at a humidity of 70%, the optimum temperature is + 34-36 degrees.
Pests infect bees. On one individual, up to 7 ticks can parasitize. When they find themselves on honey plants, pathological processes begin to develop in the body of the insect. Bees become lethargic; they cannot resist various diseases due to reduced immunity.
Varroa tick: a female tick finds cells with a bee brood and lays its eggs there
Unsuspecting bees seal cells where a tick develops and begins to parasitize on a chrysalis
An adult tick parasitizes on bees, feeding on their blood and lymph. Without treatment from parasites, bees are born with developmental defects; over time, their numbers decrease
If the tick infects the larva, then a small bee leaves it. She has no body fat in her body, its surface is devoid of shine. Adult drones and bees affected by Varroa lose their ability to fly and are not able to fully feed the brood.
About how to treat bees for varroatosis and whether it is possible to prevent this disease - read here .
Tick-borne treatment of bees
Apiary owners must necessarily process insects to prevent the development of ticks in the hives, as well as for treatment purposes if infection has occurred.
Processing is planned in the spring, usually in March, when a small amount of honey remains in the hives. In the fall, processing can also be carried out: if Varroa is not taken before winter, then the bees will not be able to endure the cold time and will most likely die.
The arguments in favor of measures for the prevention of ticks in bees are:
- a decrease in the number of bees at this time of the year;
- the ability to minimize insect loss in every hive, as tick-infected insects do not survive until spring.
To assess the extent of stickiness, you can use this method of verification:
- Take a glass container with a volume of 0.5-1 l.
- Bring it to the combs and gently fill it with bees, making movements from the bottom up.
- Collect 20 insects. The uterus does not need to be selected.
- Repeat for each frame.
- Cover bee containers. It is necessary to make holes in them for air intake.
- Pour 500 ml of water into a separate container, put on fire.
- Shake the jar of insects and place it in a container of water, which stands on the stove.
- Twist the jar, bring the temperature in the container to 50 degrees. At such temperature indicators, ticks release their victims, separating from them.
- Gradually bring the temperature to a boil, remove the insects on a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Calculate the number of bees and the number of ticks that fell from them.
Provided that the strength index is not more than 0.5%, it is enough to carry out preventive actions. In the case of a higher level, it is necessary to begin treatment.
Ways to treat bees from ticks
There are 3 main methods of dealing with the problem:
- physical - heat treatment of insects;
- biological - the use of acids;
- chemical - the use of special drugs with aggressive action: such drugs are used if other methods have not yielded results.
This method of processing bees from a tick involves increasing the temperature level in the hive to +48 degrees. At this temperature, the pests become uncomfortable, and they leave the body of insects. Thermal processing lasts 8 minutes (for one hive).
To raise the temperature to the required value, you need to use thermal cameras. This equipment can be purchased at specialized stores.
The advantage of this effect is the absence of harmful fumes and particles of chemicals that can get into honey.
This method of removing ticks is not very popular. This is due to a number of factors, which include the following:
- lack of result in the case of an insect pestilence due to a tick invasion;
- the risk of steaming bees;
- risk of burns in insects;
- the possibility of reducing immunity in honey plants;
- risk of injury to insects.
Heat treatment of hives is carried out once a year. Experts point out that such a method guarantees the absence of a tick in the hives throughout the next year.
The specified method, although it is simple, is popular because it gives a good effect. To process the hive, you will need an old canvas and a smoke gun. The canvas is smeared with propolis and placed in a cannon. The emitted smoke quickly acts on the parasite: already 30 minutes after the start of processing, dead mites appear on the bottom of the hives.
Also, as a source of smoke, in addition to the canvas with propolis, smoldering oak bark or leaves can be used. These materials do not represent any harm to honey plants. Some beekeepers use a mixture of rosemary and horseradish root.
The best way to handle beehives with smoke is with a device like the Varomor smoke gun. Its principle of operation is similar to a smoker, but this device has a lower consumption.
When processing beehives with smoke, you should remember about the need for personal protective equipment.
How to process beehives from a tick using a smoke gun is shown in this video:
Against the tick in bees are used:
- Formic acid This substance is diluted before treatment at a concentration of 85-87%. 40 ml of the drug are poured into a special container designed for acid and suspended in one corner above the nest. Acid evaporates within 3-5 days. It is necessary to carry out such processing at an air temperature of + 15-25 degrees;
- Oxalic acid . For quality treatment of the hive, only 2 g of substance is required, which makes this tool more profitable in terms of financial costs. Oxalic acid is placed in the hive in a slightly warmed form. The rest of the application methodology is similar to the previous method.
In the fight against a tick that infects bees, the following drugs are used:
- Bipin, Bipin-T . These drugs contain a powerful active substance - amitraz. Medicines act not only on ticks, but also on other harmful parasites. The tool is used in the form of an emulsion. The hive is treated on the day the solution is prepared. It must be instilled between the frames using a syringe, expelling a few drops. Processing is carried out twice. The interval between each of them will be 7 days. Bipin and Bipin T does not affect the quality of honey and does not affect the well-being of bees, however, it is not recommended to process hives with weak swarms with such drugs.
- Aqua Flo . The drug is characterized by moderate toxicity. It is used from spring to autumn, but only if there is no brood in the hive. A solution based on the Aqua-Flo preparation is sprayed with gaps between the frames. Do this with a regular syringe. After the initial treatment, repeat the procedure (after 5-8 days). Honey collected after processing the hives can be eaten 2 weeks after the spraying procedure with Aqua Flo.
- Varroadez . This tool is a strip of wood, on which a special composition is applied - acaricide, effectively fighting the parasite. It is recommended to use Varroadez in the autumn, after the end of the collection of honey. For 6 frames, one wood strip is enough. They should be placed in the middle of the hive. If the family is weak, then it is better to hang Varroades between the honeycombs. The strips are valid for a month, after the end of the specified period they need to be updated.
- Polisan . The tool also represents strips, but they are made of cardboard. Their surface is saturated with acaricide, which is detrimental to ticks. The strips must be ignited and extinguished. They will smolder, creating pungent smoke. Handle hives with the help of Polysan should be in the morning or evening.
In order not to be mistaken with the choice of funds, you need to purchase it in specialized stores.
To reduce the risk of bee mites, as well as increase the immunity of insects, you can use such folk remedies as:
- Coniferous infusion . It is necessary to take the needles of spruce or pine, pour boiling water so that the liquid completely covers the needles, and allow the product to infuse. Here you can add a little chopped garlic. The mixture must be combined with sugar syrup (1 part infusion 5 parts syrup) and give to the bees.
- The tool based on the balm Asterisk . You need to take 6 packs of this ointment and dilute this volume in 3 liters of water. Apply the finished solution to polyethylene. Lay it at the bottom of the hive.
- Therapeutic feeding with hot peppers . You need to take chopped pepper, pour a liter of boiling water, let it brew for a day. After that, mix with sugar syrup (for 1 liter of syrup - 120 ml of pepper infusion). Also, the tool can be made more effective by adding 20 ml of propolis tincture (10%) to it.
- Vapors of thyme . It is enough to collect the plant, grind it and place it in gauze, tying it in the form of a bag. Place on a frame, cover with cellophane until the plant material dries. When this happens, replace the thyme with fresh. Use this method throughout the summer period.
- Alcohol and lavender oil . For this method, you need an evaporator. It is mounted on a frame and filled with alcohol, adding a few drops of lavender oil. Leave for 3 weeks. If necessary, add the mixture.
To minimize the risk of bee infestation with a tick, the following rules must be observed:
- avoid buying infected bees, carefully check all new hive inhabitants;
- regularly check the hives for parasites;
- limit the likelihood of bee theft;
- conduct seasonal treatments against ticks;
- destroy the frames with the first and last brood;
- set the hives not too close to each other, at a height of more than 30 cm.
The tick of Varroa becomes a cause of infection of a large number of bees and causes massive pestilence. To prevent the likelihood of the development of the parasite, it is imperative to conduct seasonal processing of the hives.