Getting rid of Varroa Mites (without chemicals)

Click here for 2020 hive reports

I'm documenting my experiments on treating my bees for the removal of Varroa mites without using chemicals - can mite numbers be reduced in my colonies by using brood removal methods only and no chemicals?

I have a page for 2019 that has the videos for the year on it - click here

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 controlling 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 from September 2015 through to September 2019 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 now gone through the summer (2019) without treatment but had late Varroa shook on the 17th September 2019 - a week later in the year than the first one I did in 2015. It needed doing as the number of bees with deformed wings was markedly higher than in any of my other hives.

It now has it's third queen since my experiment began. The current queen is the grand daughter of the original queen and was raised by the bees themselves
The bees didn't like the queen I bred for them in in 2017 (eggs taken out of the colony on the 25th May) the daughter was united 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).

Click on an image to see more info and videos of my inspections.

Hive two 2018

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