Why is Treating Varroa Mites so Important?
Testing & treating varroa mites is one of the most important things to do in all of beekeeping. If you don’t pick the right size of super, or forget to install an entrance reducer, it isn’t going to impact your hive much. If you don’t control your varroa mite population your hive will, the vast majority of the time, die. There are few things as serious in the world of beekeeping. It is the leading cause of hive deaths for small scale beekeepers, and arguable, all scales of beekeepers.
Varroa mites not only suck the fat from bees, but they also transmit deadly viruses. The mites leave huge open wounds on adult bees, deform developing bees, and greatly weaken bees immune systems. You can’t accurately gauge varroa levels without testing since they are very difficult to see on adult bees. This makes testing critical. Many hives dwindle and die from varroa mites, and are eventually overtaken by wax moths or small hive beetles. Thus, the moths and beetles are often blamed for killing hives. However, varroa are often the real culprit. Remember, essentially every hive has varroa mites...it’s just a question of how many.