Mite out - getting rid of Varroa Mites (without chemicals)

Without using chemical treatments how can mite numbers be reduced in your colony of bees?

My experiment started on the 10th September 2015. I wanted to see if a two stage shook swarm, done in September when the mite load was high, would be a viable way of controling the mite levels in a colony. Initially I wanted to see if the process would get the colony through the winter without using chemical treatments before or during that winter.

I've found that removing the brood (with the mites in) sets a colony up for much longer than just one winter and 'Hive one' has gone through two winters (and the summer in between) without being treated. That is without being treated in the Autumn or winter with Thymol, Oxalic Acid or Formic Acid based products.

Hive one has gone through another summer without treatment - see the final video of the year - click here It now has it's second queen since my experiment began. The current queen is the daughter of the original queen. Bred in 2017 (eggs taken out of the colony on the 25th May) the daughter was unighted with her mother's colony a week after eggs were first found in queen cups. The old queen was removed along with all the brood (16th July).

Hive two was selected for a late summer shook swarm (2017) as it was the best performing hive in the apiary.

Click on an image to see more info and videos (2016 and 2017) of my inspections.