Entomology, Department of


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Published in Experimental and Applied Acarology 48 (2009), pp. 303–309; doi: 10.1007/s10493-009-9240-8 Copyright © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Used by permission.


Abstract Numerous studies have investigated using oxalic acid (OA) to control Varroa mites in honey bee colonies. In contrast, techniques for treating package bees with OA have not been investigated. The goal of this study was to develop a protocol for using OA to reduce mite infestation in package bees. We made 97 mini packages of Varroa-infested adult bees. Each package contained 1,613 ± 18 bees and 92 ± 3 mites, and represented an experimental unit. We prepared a 2.8% solution of OA by mixing 35 g OA with 1 l of sugar water (sugar:water = 1:1; w:w). Eight treatments were assigned to the packages based on previous laboratory bioassays that characterized the acute contact toxicity of OA to mites and bees. We administered the treatments by spraying the OA solution directly on the bees through the mesh screen cage using a pressurized air brush and quantified mite and bee mortality over a 10-day period. Our results support applying an optimum volume of 3.0 ml of a 2.8% OA solution per 1,000 bees to packages for effective mite control with minimal adult bee mortality. The outcome of our research provides beekeepers and package bee shippers guidance for using OA to reduce mite populations in package bees.

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