Varroa Mite Treatment

Varroa Mite Treatment: 10 Best Treatments for A Safe Hive

All beekeepers will have to come to terms with managing mites at some point. Some mites are normal and harmless in a bee colony, but others, such as the varroa mite, can wreak havoc and cause extreme problems such as colony collapse. Having a mite treatment plan includes paying close attention to your hives, keeping careful records, and finding the right varroa mite treatment option.

How We Reviewed

We reviewed some of the best varroa mite treatment options on the market to bring you a list of products to consider. We reviewed the following products based on their key Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. We looked at the manufacturer’s claims and compared them to beekeeper reviews and our own experience to recommend the best.

Overall Price Range

Varroa mite treatments vary in price from a few dollars to several hundred. The treatment options we feature here cost between the low to average price range. The more expensive options will be tools such as vaporizers, while the less expensive are essential oil or chemical treatments.

What We Reviewed

  • Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment
  • BBTshop Oxalic Acid Vaporizer Evaporator Varroa Mite Bee Hive Fumigation
  • Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25
  • Varomorus Durable OXALIC Acid 12V Vaporizer VARROA MITE Treatment
  • Mann Lake DC-799 Apivar
  • ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite
  • QG group VARROAMOR Smoke Propane – Treatment of Varroa Mites
  • GreenBeehives The Victor – Destroys Varroa Destructor
  • Varomorus Propane Insect Fogger for Fast and Effective Varroa Mites Control
  • TOMOYOU 12V 150W Bee Vaporizer Bee Evaporator Oxalic Acid Vaporiser Varroa Treatment

1. Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment

Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment

Features

Hop guards have been used for a long time for control of mites. A hop guard like the Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment is made of cardboard strips imbued with natural, food-grade hop compounds. The hops have no adverse effects on the bees, queen or hive and are safe to use when honey supers are on the hive. Use when temperatures are above 50 degrees for best effect. Hang one strip per five frames of bees and leave in the hive for at least 14 days to cover the life cycle of the mites. This product contains 24 strips, or enough to cover almost 100 frames.

Warranty

Mann Lake accepts returns and exchanges provided you have proof of purchase and items are like new. They do encourage customers to contact them with any issues or complaints.

Pros

  • Natural and non-toxic
  • Safe and effective
  • No adverse effect on wax or honey
  • Low maintenance after installation

Cons

  • Must shake off bees before applying to prevent sticking
  • Can be messy
  • Best used over 50 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Oxalic Acid Vaporizer Evaporator Varroa Mite Bee Hive Fumigation

Oxalic Acid Vaporizer Evaporator Varroa Mite Bee Hive Fumigation

Features

Oxalic acid vaporizers are a common and effective way of controlling varroa mite infestations. The Oxalic Acid is placed in the spoon and heated to vaporize the chemical throughout the sealed hive. This is best used in the cold times of the winter. This vaporizer is made of stainless steel and wood for durability, has a 50 cm wand, and requires a 12V 150W external battery, which is not included.

Warranty

There is no warranty for this product.

Pros

  • Simple oxalic vaporizer
  • Affordable
  • 50 cm wand

Cons

  • Appropriate for cold weather only
  • Some users report wiring is poor
  • Colors of the product vary
  • Vaporizers require an external power source

3. Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25

Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25

Features

The Mite Oxalic Acid Vaporizer v.03.25 is another oxalic acid vaporizer. Oxalic acid vaporizers are a common and effective way of controlling varroa mite infestations. The Oxalic Acid is placed in the spoon and heated to vaporize the chemical throughout the sealed hive, and best used in winter. If used when temperatures are cool, but not cold, the treatment will only take about 1-2 minutes. This vaporizer has a wooden handle, CNC machined pan, and heavy wiring designed to last a lifetime. Connect it to a 12-volt battery for use.

Warranty

Scott Bee Farm, the makers of this oxalic acid vaporizer, is very responsive to customer concerns and guaruntee their products to last a lifetime if used correctly.

Pros

  • Flawless customer reviews
  • Works over multiple seasons
  • Can be upgraded to include safety equipment and case

Cons

  • The high end of the middle price range
  • Vaporizers require an external power source

4. Varomorus Durable OXALIC Acid 12V Vaporizer VARROA MITE Treatment

Varomorus Durable OXALIC Acid 12V Vaporizer VARROA MITE Treatment

Features

To use this product, place the oxalic acid in the spoon and heat it to vaporize the chemical throughout the sealed hive. This is best used in the cold times of the winter. The oxalic acid vaporizer by Varomoorus heats fast in two to three minutes, is made from aircraft aluminum, and has a long 55-inch cord. You will need an external power source (12V car battery).

Warranty

Vamorous has excellent customer service. They have no specific warranty, but broken units and parts are easily replaced when needed.

Pros

  • Responsive customer service
  • Build solidly
  • Less expensive than other vaporizers

Cons

  • The unit does not always vaporize completely
  • Some users report temporary use
  • Vaporizers require an external power source

5. Mann Lake DC-799 Apivar

Mann Lake DC-799 Apivar

Features

Apivar is one of the favored chemical varroa mite treatments. Apivar’s main ingredient is the chemical amitraz, which is a miticide which paralyzes the mites, which then die of starvation. One application, which is continuously released over six weeks, is enough to kill 99% of the mites in your colony. One strip is placed per 5 frames of bees and removed once six weeks have passed. It will accumulate in wax and honey, so is best used when honey supers are not on the hive.

Warranty

Mann Lake accepts returns and exchanges provided you have proof of purchase and items are like-new. They do encourage customers to contact them with any issues or complaints.

Pros

  • Very effective
  • Does not agitate bees
  • Usually works with only one application

Cons

  • Use only at temps over 50 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Packaged in 10 strip units
  • Must remove strips after the treatment period

6. QG Group VARROAMOR Smoke Propane – Treatment of Varroa Mites

QG Group VARROAMOR Smoke Propane – Treatment of Varroa Mites

Features

Propane vaporizers are similar to the electric vaporizers you hook up to a 12V battery, except a propane vaporizer gets its heat from a local gas source. They can treat up to 100 colonies in less than 30 minutes and are usually fast to heat and get quite hot. This one has a gravity-fed reservoir which enables the user to avoid refills that happen with the spoon style vaporizers.

Warranty

This product is made in Germany, and the company gives no info on their warranty in the US, if any; so buyer beware.

Pros

  • Portable and easy, no power needed
  • Acid reservoir feeds by gravity and holds a lot
  • Propane heats fast and hot

Cons

  • The treatment takes longer to apply than an electric vaporizer
  • One time treats one colony
  • No effective grips and handles

7. GreenBeehives the Victor – Destroys Varroa Destructor

GreenBeehives the Victor - Destroys Varroa Destructor

Features

The Victor is a heat method of varroa mite treatment that is very safe and effective provided you have a good battery and a way to charge it. You need a 12V 55Ah SLA battery like you would use for bass trolling. It is safe enough to use anytime because it is just heating, uses no chemicals, and costs little to run. It comes in two sizes for ten frames or eight frames; both sizes cost the same.

The Victor attaches to the battery, heats the hive and circulates the air. A thermostat monitors the temperature, ensuring the entire hive is at least 107 degrees Fahrenheit ,which kills about 80% of the mites. Repeat treatment in two weeks will eliminate more, for a total of 95%. The auto shut off feature will turn the Victor off after 3 hours of heating to protect your hive and your battery.

Warranty

The Victor comes with a two-year warranty and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • No chemicals, heat system to kill mites
  • Two sizes available at the same price
  • One treatment kills 80% of mites in 3 hours

Cons

  • Does require retreating for full effect
  • Multiple steps involved
  • Must purchase separate power source

8. Varomorus Propane Insect Fogger for Fast and Effective Varroa Mites Control

Varomorus Propane Insect Fogger for Fast and Effective Varroa Mites Control

Features

The Varamorus Propane Insect fogger is another propane-powered vaporizer for distributing substances such as oxalic acid throughout the hive. This one treats 100 colonies in 25 min and can be used with a variety of materials including oxalic acid, amitraz, fluvalinate, tau-fluvalinate, thymol, mineral oil, etc. if combined with a solvent. It can also be used with ecological preparations. Used correctly, it will kill 95-99% of mites.

This set includes the fogger, an extension nozzle, filter, gloves, mask, wrench, and manual. You will need to supply the propane gas tank.

Warranty

Vamorous has excellent customer service. They have no specific warranty, but broken units and parts are easily replaced when needed.

Pros

  • Long tube keep heat away from the hive
  • Works for a variety of substances
  • Gravity-fed

Cons

  • Hard to hold onto
  • Must buy a propane tank
  • Danger of flame if used incorrectly

9. TOMOYOU 12V 150W Bee Vaporizer Bee Evaporator Oxalic Acid Vaporiser Varroa Treatment

TOMOYOU 12V 150W Bee Vaporizer Bee Evaporator Oxalic Acid Vaporiser Varroa Treatment

Features

The TOMOYOU 12V 150W Bee Vaporizer Bee Evaporator Oxalic Acid Vaporiser Varroa Treatment is another oxalic acid vaporizer. It is designed to distribute oxalic acid by is placing it in the spoon and heated to vaporize the chemical throughout the sealed hive. It is best used in the cold times of the winter or brood-less periods. The TOMOYOU model is made of stainless steel, is 50cm long, and takes about 6-8 minutes to sublimate the acid. It will require a battery for power.

Warranty

Returns are accepted only through the place of purchase and only if the unit doesn’t work. There is no specific warranty.

Pros

  • Stainless steel and wood construction
  • Very inexpensive for vaporizer
  • Long arm with guard

Cons

  • Seller not available for concerns
  • Takes longer than other vaporizers
  • Requires external power source

10. ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite

ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite

Features

ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite is another natural varroa mite treatment that will not harm your bees, honey, or you. Because mites do not build up a resistance to natural therapies, there is no risk in using them as preventatives. Bees stay healthy and mites are kept under control. This essential oil formula can be used any time of the year and in any stage of the hive lifecycle.

ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite treatment is formed with ethereal and aromatic oils. It contains distillations of thyme, eucalyptus, and mint, as well as glycerin, guar gum, sodium acetate, aromatic components, and minerals. You will use one teaspoon for every two frames in the hive, applying it once every three days for 21 days. This volume will treat 70 frames one round of treatment, so you can plan on buying a new bottle twice yearly.

Warranty

ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite is a single-use treatment with good results. There is no warranty.

Pros

  • All-natural, no chemicals
  • Can be used at any time of the year
  • Easy application; no cleanup

Cons

  • Requires application every three days for seven times
  • Will treat only 70 frames once
  • No available guarantee

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Product FAQ

1. What Are Varroa Mites?

Varroa mites are a parasitic mites originally from Asia. They are small, 8-legged arthropods that are reddish and visible to the naked eye when mature. The mature mites mainly target adult bees by burrowing in between the exoskeleton plates and biting to feed on the bee’s blood. Adult bees are strong enough to resist the mite, but the brood, especially the drones, are the real target of the varroa mite as the mite reproduces in the brood. The longer development time of the drone brood gives the varroa mite longer to breed.

2. Aren’t Mites a Normal Part of the Beehive Ecology?

The answer is yes; mites are a normal part of the beehive ecology. Beehives commonly have several types of mites, and most of them are harmless or are easy to manage. Bees are also resilient, and, over time, will adapt to mites and develop their resistances as a species. Beekeepers also adapt and learn ways of controlling harmful mite infestations. We can see this bee and beekeeper adaptation with tracheal mites in the past.

However, not all mites are as easy for the beehive ecologies to adapt to, and some, such as the varroa mite, can cause devastating effects during the learning process. The Varroa mite is an implant to the United States, and bees local to the US do not yet have a resistance to them. Varroa mite infestations are teaching beekeepers and bees alike to develop innovative varroa mite treatment options. Knowing which mites to treat and which to ignore is an essential skill that all new beekeepers must learn.

3. What Are the Risks of Varroa Mites?

Varroa mites are the number one cause of the bee colony death. Most colonies will survive the first year with a massive mite infestation, but without varroa mite treatment, they will fall in the second year. Most colonies can manage low levels of mites, but over time, the numbers of mites grown until they overwhelm the balance of the hive. Even colonies which survive the experience of a heavy varroa mite infestation will be negatively affected.

Adverse effects for hives with varroa mite infestation are many. The overall health of the bee colony declines. Worker bees do not live as long. Colonies have a higher prevalence of viral outbreaks. An infestation will reduce bee strength and hive. At the worst levels of infestation, you will see effects such as deformities in wings, poor drone reproduction, and shorter drone life.

4. How Can I Know If My Hive Needs Varroa Mite Treatment?

The hives we manage are artificial replications of the natural hives, and we can assume we need to do some management. All hives have varroa mites, and if they reproduce to a large enough number, you will see them. However, if you see the varroa mites, it may be too late for varroa mite treatment. Treating for mites is not done to eliminate mites but to maintain them at manageable levels.

That “manageable level” is very individual. It depends on your style of beekeeping and whether you want to spend more time in prevention or treatment. We recommend preventing overgrowth of varroa mites by carefully monitoring and treating before the mites are a problem. Anything under 5%, for example, which is defined as five mites seen in a colony of 100 bees, warrants watching and deciding which varroa mite treatment to use in the future, but you may hold off on treatment. Once you reach the 5% mark, it is time to treat.

5. How Do I Count Mites?

There are several methods for testing the numbers of varroa mites. You will not count every bee and every mite in your colony. In fact, many of the most damaging mites are the younger ones which are invisibly causing damage to the brood. The most common methods for counting is the sticky mat method, the alcohol shake method, and the sugar shake method. We recommend you look these up and decide which is best for you, but any will provide a reasonably accurate estimate. When getting an estimate, remember that spring and early summer are when mite numbers will be highest.

6. What Are the Risks and Benefits of Varroa Mite Treatment?

All varroa mite treatments carry some risk to you, your bees, your honey, or your wax, which is why carefully choosing which varroa mite treatment to use is essential. Only you can decide which type of treatment is best for your hive. There are essentially three methods; mechanical, synthetic chemical, and natural methods.

Mechanical approaches are varied. Screened bottoms on your hive allow the mites to fall through but only affect a small number of the adults. Drone frames create an area where reproducing mites will target. These frames can then be removed, frozen, and replaced, killing the mites before they hatch. But if you do not pull them fast enough, you will end up with more mites than you would normally. You may also manually remove drones. Temperature regulation, such as heating hives, can help reduce mite reproduction but requires careful monitoring.

Synthetic chemicals, which you should rotate, kill mites but some mites have developed a resistance to synthetics and synthetics can infiltrate the honey and wax. Acids work great for killing mites and even work on mites developing in the brood. However, they sometimes result in the queen abandoning the hive, mainly if used at the wrong temperatures. Natural methods such as essential oils or hop guards may work well but can be messy and will affect the beekeeper, so prevent skin contact. Natural fumigants are available but are temperature sensitive and require frequent application.

7. How Will I Know If Varroa Mite Treatments Work?

Hopefully, as a new or experienced beekeeper, you are keeping a hive journal where you track the status of your hive, what works, and what doesn’t. Keep a separate notebook or section for each hive so you know which is doing well and which hives require more of your attention. Each time you estimate the percentage of varroa mites, note the number. Each time you treat, indicate the method. Over time you will be able to track what works and what doesn’t by observing trends in the numbers.

The Verdict

We know that beekeepers everywhere favor using a vaporizer to distribute oxalic acid when treating for varroa mites. Therefore, we have offered several options for electric and propane vaporizers. However, we favor limiting the use of harmful chemicals whenever possible and encourage you to try one of the natural varroa mite treatment methods featured here. For single-use treatments, Mann Lake DC301 Hop Guard Varroa Mite Treatment is a keen hop guard, and ORGATICS Anti Varroa Mite offers an aromatic solution. If you want a more permanent but still natural, method, consider out personal favorite and the one we recommend: the Victor.

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