Bee’s diseases.

Varroa mite

The varroa mite is a parasite that nourishes itself with the blood of the larvae.
Originally this parasite did not exist in Europe. It existed only in India, but by exchanging bees the varroa mite arrived in the early 80’s in Western-Europe via Japan and Russia.
However, the bee race in India has another cleaning behavior than the European one. 
Because of this cleaning behavior the arroba mite cannot hurt the Indian bee that much.
The original varrao mite didn’t harm the European bees either, but in 2000 a variant was discovered, the varrao destructor, which as you may imagine, can cause a mass destruction.



Just before the brood cells are closing, the varrao mite enters them to get close to the larvae.
So they reproduce in closed brood cells, where the female lays its eggs. The cycle is about the same as those of the bees. They prefer drone brood
because the cells remain closed for 15 days.

Prevention/ control

These last years, the department of agriculture prescribed the use of Apivar, Apistan and Perysine. All these products are chemical.
Some beekeepers try to fight this mite with alternative product. 
They make use of a drone frame for example, because the varroa mite prefers drone brood.
When the cells are closed the brood is cut out. This helps to prevent the spreading of the varroa mite. The treatment with formic acid is being used more and more, but it is time consuming and bees that get the full treatment, die anyhow.   
Some experiments are going on with essential oils that are abominated by the varroa mite.
Via the internet I got into contact with Mr. J.M Danze, ex-assistant at the university of Liège.
Since several years he is applying his own method and his bees do not suffer from the  vaorrao mite at all. His treatment is bases on the principle of  isotherapy. I copied his method at the beginning of the winter in 2004 and with success. The entire explanation can be found on .

It is certainly worthwhile. To be 100 % sure I have been using Apilife since august 2005, which is also based on essential oils.
Actually there is an Austrian product that stimulates the cleaning behaviour of the bees.


American Foulbrood  

Is caused by bacteria and can remain contagious for dozens of years and the reproduction of these bacteria takes place in the intestines of the bee.
On advice of the department of agriculture, bees suffering from this disease will be destroyed.
In the United States this disease is cured with antibiotics. So watch out for imported honey!
It could contain antibiotics. See the article of “Testaankoop” of December 2005.



Is caused by a spore-forming microsporidian and causes diarrhoea. This disease occurs especially with bees that in spring can find no or little pollen. From a colleague beekeeper I got the following recipe: milk with egg-yolk. Spray the mixture on top of the frames.
There are also beekeepers that provide extra pollen in springtime to prevent nosema.


Wax moth

It lays its eggs in the wax frames of the bees. The larvae eat the wax.
With a serious infestation the larvae can destroy the wax frames and they become useless.
A strong colony can stand up against the larvae and the larvae don’t haven a chance to develop. The bees remove the larvae themselves.
To avoid the destruction of the wax frames, I put the honey supers in the freezer for 24 hours.
The wax moth does not stand a chance against -20°C.
The wrapped up supers can be stored during the winter without any problem.