The efficacy of small cell foundation as a varroa mite (Varroa destructor) control
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Due to a continuing shift toward reducing/minimizing the use of chemicals in honey bee colonies, we explored the possibility of using small cell foundation as a varroa control. Based on the number of anecdotal reports supporting small cell as an efficacious varroa control tool, we hypothesized that bee colonies housed on combs constructed on small cell foundation would have lower varroa populations and higher adult bee populations and more cm2 brood. To summarize our results, we found that the use of small cell foundation did not significantly affect cm2 total brood, total mites per colony, mites per brood cell, or mites per adult bee, but did affect adult bee population for two sampling months. Varroa levels were similar in all colonies throughout the study. We found no evidence that small cell foundation was beneficial with regard to varroa control under the tested conditions in Florida.
KeywordsVarroa mite Small cell foundation Honey bee Integrated pest management
Tom Dowda provided technical assistance with colony care and data collection. Various members of FDACS Apiary Inspection, FDACS Bureau of Methods Development and Biological Control, and University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory assisted in data collection. Funding was provided by the Florida State Beekeepers Association and the Florida State Legislature as directed by the Florida Honey Bee Technical Council.
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