Mite counting the training yard

At Clermont today, we focused on alcohol mite wash testing using both windshield washer fluid and rubbing alcohol as the wash agent. We also used a commercial wash container and a pint Mason jar with screen as the testing devices. I would conclude that the Mason jar and windshield washer fluid quickly proved to be a cost effective and easy to use system. It appeared that both were just as accurate with a slight advantage for ease of use going to the Mason jar. The windshield washer fluid is a good bit cheaper than rubbing alcohol. A 2nd container (white plastic mixing bowl) was also incorporated into the process allowing the Mason jar to be emptied out for counting. The commercial wash container’s advantage is that it shows the mites on the transparent bottom.

There are 12 hives at Clermont, with a mix of 10 frame, 8 frame and 5 frame equipment. They are all medium supers and have open screen bottom boards. All the hives are at least 3 supers (one is 5 supers) and all appear to be strong with good brood patterns and abundant bee and larva populations.

Mite counts were performed on 8 of the 12 hives. We did not count the bees after washing but attempted to error on the 300+ sampling number.

The results are as follows:

Hive # Mite #
1 0
4 1
23 4
24 3
N4 0
N10 4
Yellow 1

All the sampled hives are below the treatment threshold level of 3 or fewer mites/100 bees (the highest counts, 23 and N10 are 1.3 mites/100 bees). It was decided that the Apivar treatment was successful and that mite infestation is currently controlled.  The strips are due to be removed as part of the next visit. We may test again before the season ends to be sure the hives are going into winter with demonstrated low mite loads.

Where applicable, feeders were filled and these hives are steadily increasing their stores. All the hives have multiple frames of brood. The combined hive is back to reasonable with acceptable brood and good bee coverage. We may have saved this one! Next spring will be the real proof.

The BroodMinder equipped hive’s data was uploaded and has recorded a weight gain of 17 pounds in the last 14 days – see for those who would like to review the results. Hive temperature and humidity are being well regulated.

There was pollen coming in from Clermont and the surrounding area’s abundant fall blooms. It was a productive day at the Clermont beeyard! Our next meeting will be September 28th at 9:00 AM.