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Field Day: Alcohol Wash to get Accurate Mite Count

July 21, 2018 @ 5:30 am - 7:30 am

Join us at Dave Rieman's apiary to learn how to conduct alcohol washes to get accurate mite counts on your hives. Jason Morgan will conduct multiple alcohol washes to get an accurate mite count on each hive and discuss each step as we walk through it together. We'll talk about the best frames to shake to get a good sample of mites and if the hives need to be treated, we'll discuss the options and decide what to do.

There are several methods of getting mite counts on your hives, but each seems to have their individual nuances that often dissuade beekeepers from being diligent and getting those numbers. Sticky boards and sugar shakes either take multiple trips to the apiary or have more complicated math to get the final count (which is the number of mites per 100 bees).

Practicing listening to bees using a stethoscope. This helps hear bees through walls and other cavities when we do cut-outs and removals.

Yes, the alcohol wash will kill a sample of your bees, but it does give you a highly accurate count of mites per 100 bees. One might argue that it is better to kill the sample of bees than to allow your hive die a slow death from virii vectored by mites. These include the most common, deformed wing virus (DWV), Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS), and unfortunately, many more. When mite loads get high, all sorts of things happen in the hive. The bees are sick, and so they respond just the way we would if we were sick. They underperform, and cannot ever seem to get back on top of the chores of the hive. The result is watching a hive that seems to struggle along but never get to that honey-producing hive that we strive for.

We work to keep mite counts at or below 2 mites per 100 bees. We've also found that when we can keep these counts closer to this level, hives start taking care of themselves and ultimately impress us with their strength and honey-producing abilities.

Dave also has some queens that need to be marked so if you have any questions on queen-marking, it'll be a good opportunity to talk about them too.

Join us, bring your veils, and your questions and see you there!

9338 St.Rd. 62 Dillsboro, IN 47018.
Disregard the road closure signs.
Call 812-432-3995 or 812-655-3920 with any problems on directions.


July 21, 2018
5:30 am - 7:30 am


Dave Rieman’s Apiary
9338 St.Rd. 62
Dillsboro, Indiana 47018
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