Every beekeeper wants to keep their colonies safe, healthy, and free of infestations and infections. Unfortunately, your honey bees face a number of pests and parasites that can cause health issues. One such threat is the tracheal mite, a parasite that lives and reproduces within the trachea of honey bees. Tracheal mites don’t have to mean the end of your beloved beehives, though. With the right resources and quick action, you can handle the issue and help your honey bees continue to thrive throughout the season. Learn more about how to control a tracheal mite problem in your beehive with this overview.
What Are Tracheal Mites?
Tracheal mites are microscopic parasites that enter and lay eggs within a honey bee’s trachea. As these eggs hatch and mature, they clog and eventually pierce the honey bee’s breathing tubes, killing the bee. An infected honey bee will show symptoms such as lethargy, disjointed wings, and an inability to fly. Infected honey bees will have shorter life spans due to the effects of the tracheal mites. As a result of these symptoms, the hive will experience less productivity and a slower population growth overall.
How To Control a Tracheal Mite Problem in Your Beehive
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat a tracheal mite infestation without destroying your hive or the honey bees within it. Menthol crystals are natural treatments for an infested hive. Place menthol packets within the hive, where they’ll gradually evaporate and fill the colony with a vapor that’s deadly to the mites—but not to the bees. The honey bees will breathe in these vapors, killing the adult mites within them. You should leave menthol treatments within the hive for at least two weeks to ensure full eradication of the infestation.
Many beekeepers also use grease patties to control tracheal mite infestations. Made of one part vegetable shortening and two to three parts sugar, these patties serve as alternative food sources for the honey bees. As the honey bees feast on the sugar within the patty, the grease covers their body, making it hard for mites to cling to their hairs and spread from bee to bee. Without the ability to spread and reproduce, the mite population eventually dies out.
Are you prepared to control a tracheal mite infestation in your beehives? Visit Mann Lake to stock up on hive treatments, bee hive stands, and other accessories to make a happy, healthy home for your honey bee colonies.