This morning I received a disturbing email from our county extension agent concerning varroa mites. One of the largest beekeepers in my county (Jackson) has reported losing several hives to varroa. She further stated that in speaking with Dr. David Tarpy, researcher at NC State University, he is verifying that, in pockets of NC, Apistan and Checkmite are no longer effective against mites as they have become resistant to the 2 chemicals contained in these products. For several years Dr. Tarpy has been suggesting alterate control measures for mites:
Unfortunately, varroa mites have become something we are all having to deal with. My mite levels have been low this season and I feel comfortable, right now, using the powdered sugar shake as treatment. I have several fellow beekeepers who are using Api Life Var with good success. Looking to the spring season, my plans are to have 2 TopBar hives with Russian stock. As stated in the paper, Russians are showing good resistance to varroa. I had also heard this from another source at a meeting I attended last week.
Unfortunately, I also learned yesterday, of another beekeeper in the area who had lost 7 hives to CCD. I dislike passing along bad news, but that's the reality of beekeeping right now. I wish we could all put our heads in the sand and it would go away, but unfortunately that's not going to happen. Hopefully, if we're diligent in caring for our bees in a more natural manner, we may begin to reverse the damage that's been done through the use, or misuse, of chemicals in the past.