The Bee Vet is involved in field trials with a species of predatory mite applied to Honeybee colonies to aid in the control of Varroa. This is a native UK species widely used in the horticulture industry and has no deleterious effect on the bees.
Through 2012 and 2013 field trials have been carried out on hives at Buckfast Abbey. Clare Densley, the professional beekeeper has monitored Varroa drops every week on the treated and control hives for the past two years. Results have showed promising trends each year with treated hives having much lower Varroa counts through the season.
In 2013 our suppliers BCP Certis produced the mites in bespoke paper sachets which can easily be applied to bee hives. The bees open the paper sachets and allow the predatory mites to populate the hive. These sachets were made available commercially to eager beekeepers and the feedback was very positive.
The Environment and Sustainability Institute of the University of Exeter have now allocated a postgraduate student to continue research into the interaction between Honeybees, Varroa and predatory mites. We look forward to their results and hope they provide a greater insight into the potential for this novel non-chemical approach to Varroa Control.