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Anti Varroa grooming tunnel

Hey guys.
This is an experiment. A tunnel at the entrance of the hive with toothbrush installed to brush their back as they squeeze through to get in to the hive.
I’m thinking that if we can help the bees to groom their back, it might help them fight Varroa at the entrance.
The device is basically a toothbrush holder with mesh bottom and a bottle to catch the fallen mites.

So far, they have no problem getting out from their hive, but when they come back, they seem a bit lost and they keep returning to the usual normally unblocked entrance.

Here’s a video of what it looks like…

:slight_smile:

Cheers

1 Like

Hi Anton,

It is great to see that someone is having a go at resolving the problem.

Some thoughts and observations:

Potentially you need the entrance at the original location as the bees can no doubt smell the pheromones through the gaps.
Also
With the brushes so close to the entry make it may look blocked to the bees.
Also
Do the brushes knock the pollen off the bees when the try and enter?

You may consider lifting the brushes very slightly to allow easier entry.

Keep up the experimenting

Thanks Terrence.
Yes, the brushes might be too close to the edge. I’m putting a card, clipped in front of the entrance to be like a landing pad.
I’m doing the next design iteration. Will be tested tomorrow. The canal will be higher inside and the entrance will be slightly bigger too.
Pollens are intact when they enter.
I saw some mites in the bottle already :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Neat experiment:

Don’t forget about mites on the underside of the bees.

OH man! I can’t wait to see your data after some time. I hope it works!

Hey guys. I think it works!

I just updated the design. Minor tweeks on sizes.
I put a new bottle and inserted the brushes this morning. So that’s 6 hours ago. Now I can see 5 Varroa mites in the bottle.

I initially hot glued a wire mesh as the floor of the catchment chamber, but it rusted. So I’m doing another one with printed mesh instead.

20190403_125745

And about this, it turns out that the bees sometimes walk on the bristles too (up side down), and so some of them will get the belly bit brushed.

6 Likes

My inner engineer loves this idea.

Toothbrushes seem to work, but there are other types of brushes that might be easier to install. Maybe like a fingernail brush like these?

eBoot 4 Pieces Handle Nail Brush Nail Hand Scrubbing Cleaning Brush (Multicolor) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MA1A4MO/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_41tSCbA4H2BKV

I would be happy to gift you some. For science.

(Because it’s killing me as a new beekeeper to know that varroa are coming, and I hate this semi-helpless feeling.)

:slight_smile: haha
Thanks @JcBeeez
I did have a look at other options. But I think tooth bruse is the more robust option.

  1. Every house has it
  2. Most designs are similar everywhere in the world
  3. Cheap. (Even free)

I’m gonna try working on another design that hopefully works better for all kinds of Langstroth based hive.

I’ve been busy working on one of my hives that almost collapsed. The amount on mites were just phenomenal. Tiring.

2 Likes