The Varroa mite, Varroa destructor, is the number one killer of honeybees globally.
Thanks to Jon Zawislak for the Varroa picture(r).
According to Bee Informed Partnership (BIP), annual losses from across the United States for the past eleven years range from 30% to 50%. These are staggering losses to all beekeepers, but especially to the hobbyist with one to three hives. There are many causes for the loss of hives, but the Varroa mite and the viroses they transmit remains their greatest threat.
The best way for you to protect your bees is to keep yourself informed with the current management practices recommend by the bee industry. Questions you might ask yourself:
What does a mite look like? When does mite populations normally peak? How do I know if my bees have mites? Where in the hive would I look to see a mite? Are there medications to control mites and how do they work?
There are many sources to help you enjoy and be successful in keeping bees, but you must be proactive. One way is to learn how to manage Varroa and treat your hives when necessary. A good way to learn about mites is to join a bee club, find a mentor, subscribe to a bee journal, and or read and reread books on bees.
Below are just a few good sources to get you started.
www.scientificbeekeeping.comscientificbeekeeping.com produced by Randy Oliver who writes a column for the American Bee Journal and speaks to bee clubs all over the world.
honeybeehealthcoalition.org that offers "Tools For Varroa Management," a guide to effective Varroa sampling and control. It's free on it's web site.