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Braula fly (bee louse) treatment


I’m wondering if anyone knows if icing sugar dusted into the hive will do anything to reduce Braula fly? I have them in all 3 of my hives and am looking for an alternative treatment other than tobacco, although I did give them some tobacco smoke this morning. One hive has a particularly heavy infestation and I have noticed the hive weakening over the last month or so, and given the brood is ok, suspect the Braula have something to do with it.


Hi Dan,
Not much being done in the way of treatments. I had a look through a few documents and found the most information on the NSW DPI site (strange considering it does not exist in this state. Your best bet might be target to the lifecycle. Here is a snippet from the DPI fact sheet:

The normal practice of uncapping honey combs in the extraction process is an effective means of controlling the larval stage of the braula fly. To control the larval stage, comb honey should be stored in a freezer as soon as practical after its removal from a beehive, for at least 48 hours. This practice will ensure that all stages of the braula fly life cycle are killed. This will also kill all stages of other bee hive pests, such as wax moth and small hive beetle.

I think I would be tempted to cycle every honey frame through the freezer, or at least extract all supers, freeze and replace back on the hives.


Thanks Roderick, yes, I have seen that document and perhaps should take the honey frames out to freeze them. They are absolutely laced with larvae tunnels. I just have an issue with room in the freezer and also that the honey frames are for the bees for winter, as I have packed the hives down with frosts soon to arrive.

I’m hoping that Tasmania is not the last bastion on the globe for this pest (given the overseas varroa miticides apparently kill them) and someone might have tried the icing sugar. Perhaps someone has a distant memory of treatment options? I’ve just checked the corflute for dead ones and am disappointed with my low kill rate from the tobacco.

Edit: here is a photo of the tunnelling. If you double click hopefully it will enlarge and you can see the ends of the tunnels…almost plant like or something…


Wow, what superb photos. You can even see sacs at the end of tunnel branches (eggs?). I am so glad that we don’t have to deal with that - looks very tricky. :thinking:


Yes…not great if you want nice cut comb honey :grimacing:. I’ve given one hive a good dusting of icing sugar. I’ve oiled the corflute to see if I get any and am freezing a few frames at a time.


I think I would give up on that and spin the honey out. At least then you can strain out the “unwanted protein” and other undesirable waste materials! :blush:


Thanks for this forum, Braula fly and their larvae can easily be spread through the movement of hives. Like bees pest additionally available in the market to escape them to leave their hive. your approach is also good to tobacco. you could also use tobacco for that.