Varroa Easycheck is an essential tool to help beekeepers to count varroes and % of infestation of the hives, thus allowing a quick diagnosis of "varroa forética".
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This is a cup-shaped container with a grid into which 200 or 300 bees can be inserted (the cup is marked for both modalities), which are stirred for 60 seconds in a solution of alcohol or windscreen washer fluid. The mites separate from the bees and fall to the bottom of the transparent container where they can easily be counted. The liquid can be reused several times. Easycheck is a very useful tool because it allows us to know the % of varroa infestation in the hive will help us to be aware of the health of the hive and make decisions about whether we should treat.
VARROA EASYCHECK INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
First the bees are collected with the container (200-300 bees, there is level in the container). Then, with the cleaning liquid or alcohol inside the container, gently shake for 60 seconds. Finally, count the varroa that falls into the transparent cup.
ALCOHOL (OR SOAP) WASH METHOD
This method consists of immersing a sample of bees into a container of alcohol to detach the phoretic mites so they can be counted. This method is the most consistent in terms of delivering accurate results, and is commonly practiced by beekeepers, apiary inspectors, and scientists throughout North America.
- Use a honey jar and fill it about half full with rubbing alcohol (winter windshield washer fluid for cars works well).
- Collect 30g of bees (about 300 bees) from one or more brood frames, and place them into the half-filled jar. Be careful not to include the queen in this sample, as this method kills the bees. Make sure you carefully examine the frame from which bees are being collected so that the queen is not included in the sample.
- Swirl the jar containing the sample bees for about one minute to dislodge mites from the bees. If you are using a device like the Varroa EasyCheck that contains a filtering screen, you can count the mites directly.
- If not, you can separate the bees from the liquid by straining the contents of the jar through a fine sieve. A mesh size of eight openings per inch is small enough to catch bees, but large enough to allow the liquid and the fallen mites to flow through it. Count the mites in the strained liquid. The liquid can be reused many times if you filter it through a very fine screen after counting the mites.
• Effective and reliable method, results that can be extrapolated for the whole apiary.
• Materials inexpensive, especially if you re-use the liquid.
• Can be performed at the apiary when you visit it for any reason
• Faster than other methods.
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