Varroa Mites Aren’t Vampires, They’re Werewolves!

While I have been learning Beekeeping 101 over the past year I have been taught several things about the Varroa Destructor mite.   Basically, the following have been drummed into my head:

  • Varroa suck the blood! (Hymolymph)
  • Varroa mainly weakens the bees in the brood stage
  • Varroa ride the thorax of the honey bee, see Google – Images

I just attended the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association’s Fall meeting and heard many fascinating lectures.  The most immediately influential one was Dr. Samuel Ramsey’s “Varroa destructor Feed on Hemolymph and Two Other Alternative Facts.”  In Dr. Ramsey’s has studied the Varroa for years while earning his Ph.D.  His presentation has 3 critical revelations for beekeeping and I’m sure you will hear much more about this in the coming years.  

Watch this informative video that covers most of his points, se Varroa Does Not Feed on Hemolymph.  

Where Varroa are found on bees from “Varroa Does Not Feed on Hemolymph” by Dr. Ramsey

Dr. Ramsey’s work was totally convincing, he has done excellent work. I will be testing my bees minimally monthly and will plan on treating 3 or 4 times a year.  There were other lectures by Dr. Jamie Ellis from the University of Florida, that were also quite convincing.  So that I don’t need to treat so often I will have to get more hygienic genetics into my colonies.  For now, I plan to be more aggressive in treating and alternate between two effective treatments to help avoid breading resistance in the Varroa mite. 

Happy Beekeeping,


P.S.  Dr. Samual Ramsey’s is planning on studying Tropilaelaps Mites, and going to return to Thailand for a year.  This research he has proposed had often gotten the response in the USA is “Tropilaelaps mites aren’t here yet.”  (YET being the optimal word)  Since effective treatment takes about 10 years to develop Dr. Ramsey’s want to get a jump on this new threat.  His other talk was “Tropilaelaps Mites: A Fate Worse Than Varroa.” the showed a nightmare creature that is spreading in Asia and towards Europe like wildfire.  The funding for a year of research is not complete, so he has a Go Fund Me page “Fight The Mite” campaign, I urge you to donate to this effort and support this young brilliant scientist; I have donated and as several other people I know are.

Varroa mite on an emergent honey bee (src: