I would like to introduce our members to our sticky board assessment study. There are two primary goals. One is to standardize a simplified means of varroa testing using natural drop on sticky boards. Knowing the varroa level in your hive is probably the most important health management tool for all beekeepers.
Participation in this study will test the validity of the concept and help guide and motivate club members to monitor for varroa. Your club investigators would like to use your data and sample sheets to study what else can be learned from reading the detritus on the sticky boards.
Purpose summary: Confirm the value of a simple method of determining the one day mite drop per deep frame of bees without disturbing the hive. And, using the same test sheet material, attempt to identify other insights to hive health and activity.
If you choose to participate, these are the directions for a volunteer:
A) Fill the blanks of the data sheet over the season as well as you can and share with investigators in December
B) Compare 3 day natural drop and after sugar dusting and with gold standard sugar role.
- Collect and assess detritus on sticky boards, attempting to identify other pests in the hive with individual particle types they produce
- Save and protect the sample sheets and help get them to the investigators. Mailing in a business envelope will also be tested.
1) Determine where the busy zone is in your test hive by inserting the sticky board for a day or less.
2) Place oil or Vaseline on the board on that area of activity and a sheet of typing paper over it and then oil on the paper. Some opinion suggests Crisco or Vaseline traps the mites better. Leave in place for three days.
3) Retrieve sheet and count mites, then divide by three (days), then divide again by 5 ( or the # of frames of active bees located over your test sheet in a single deep hive).
4) Calculations should be adjusted depending on the colony configuration – double deep, deep/medium/ plus super, etc. This may be a little subjective yet is more insightful than alternative methods of drop counts generally suggested where the colony size is assumed to always be the same.
5) Sugar dusting could be done as a mite treatment without full inspection, especially on small colonies. This can be performed right after the counting natural mite drop
6) Do this every three or four weeks – more frequently late season.
7) Two or three sugar role tests conducted during the season and full hive inspections will test the validity of the sample sheets
8) The retrieved sample sheet (#3 above) should be provided to the investigators asap, so their part of the assessments may proceed. The investigators may be invited to your inspection if scheduling can be worked out as the season progresses.
We are looking for volunteers. If you would like to participate in this study, please contact Don Coats at firstname.lastname@example.org