Powdered Sugar Dusting to Control Varroa Mites – Jan 2013 Bee Culture.
Jennifer Berry published a paper in the Journal Of Apiculture Research, an IBRA publication. The paper is also in the Jan 2013 Bee Culture magazine. A summary paragraph was also published in Bee Culture as follows:
Prior to our study, when an experiment required Varroa free colonies, we would dust bees with powder sugar as a means of removing mites. Dusting with powder sugar was also gaining popularity in the beekeeping arena as a method of controlling Varroa. In 2009, researchers in Florida conducted a study which examined the efficacy of powder sugar and found it did not help in controlling Varroa. However, even though the study was sound, powder sugar only dislodges phoretic mites and not ones inside the cell. Therefore, for powder sugar to be effective it would have to be applied during broodless periods, which Florida rarely experiences due to its warmer climate. So we decided to design an experiment that would test the efficacy of powdered sugar when applied during broodless times verses when brood was present.
Unfortunately, as the study revealed, relying solely on powdered sugar as a means of controlling Varroa mites does not keep mite populations from reaching devastating levels. This was bad news for us here at the lab. We were hoping that powdered sugar would be the cure-all, a silver bullet, that one control method that worked which didn’t include chemicals in the mix, but it’s not. Yes, it does work at dislodging mites but is not “powerful” enough to remove enough mites in order to keep them from eventually causing damage to colonies. If you are planning to use powder sugar, be aware that it needs to be “part of” your Varroa management scheme and not your only choice.
End of summary as in Bee Culture.
I can see using powdered sugar if you are trying to go treatment free and you have bees that came from a treatment free supplier or have a queen that has hygienic behaviors and you just want to help them along until the bee population catches up. If you are buying packages ask the supplier if the bees were treated for Varroa with chemicals. If they were treated be prepared to treat as well.
Any other thoughts are more than welcome.
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Just some thoughts.