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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Reexamination of the Accuracy of a Detergent Solution for Varroa Mite Detection

item Rinderer, Thomas
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Sylvester, H

Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2004
Publication Date: July 1, 2004
Citation: Rinderer, T.E., De Guzman, L.I., Sylvester, H.A. 2004. Reexamination of the accuracy of a detergent solution for varroa mite detection. American Bee Journal. Vol. 144(7):560-562

Interpretive Summary: This report describes the examination of three different methods of detecting varroa mite infestations using large samples of bees. The data verify the accuracy of mechanical agitation of samples in water plus detergent solutions. The most suitable use for this technique is to process large numbers of samples. Why it is better than the use of alcohol solutions is also discussed. This provides beekeepers and bee scientists with experimental verification of the value of a useful technique to monitor varroa mite populations. This minimizes chemical applications while maintaining effective control of parasitic varroa mites.

Technical Abstract: Three methods for detecting varroa mites were re-examined using large sample sizes: 1) hand-stirred in 70% ethanol for one minute, 2) hand-stirred in detergent solution for one minute, and 3) mechanical agitation using detergent solution for 30 minutes. Our results showed that the use of dishwashing detergent is an effective and economical alternative to alcohol for washing bees. We conclude that shaking the bees with a mechanical shaker makes the method more accurate.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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