Varroa mites are parasitic mites that feed on the bees fat body. Varroa mites can spread diseases and kill colonies off if not kept at a small level. We have blogged about varroa mites and what they can do to a hive here.
We treated for varroa mites right after we removed the honey from the hives. We took a mite count to find out how many mites we had then treated the hives with Apiguard. Apiguard’s active ingredient is thymol, a naturally occurring substance. When handling any chemical, safety precautions must be taken. We wore disposable gloves and were careful not to rub our hands on anything. Apiguard is not dangerous as long as it is handled properly.
Apiguard, a gel, is squirted on cardboard tray on the top frames of the hive. The bees remove the gel and by removing it spread it around the hive. By doing this they kill some varroa mites this helps keep the varroa mite population down. We treated our hives for four weeks. The treatment is very gentle and the bees are not disturbed by it. After the treatment was over, we fed the bees to build up their stores for winter.