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Mites and honey supers


I did a sugar roll and one of my hives showed up with a very high (40+) mite count, now its mid spring here and they are busy filling the honey supers.
The local bee guys recommend a couple of treatments with formic acid but removing the honey supers during that time.

I really didn’t want to throw chemicals at my bees if avoidable so I thought I get your insights into what to do and if treating is the right way to go, how would you do it in this situation?



Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS) is listed for use with honey supers on. Do it late a afternoon if you’re in a heat wave this way the worst of the fumes is gone by the next day when the heat returns. WEAR A RESPIRATOR!!!


If you want to avoid chemicals I’ve heard that using powdered sugar and sprinkling it over all frames/bees will force them into a cleaning process and that knocks the mites off. It won’t get any mites in the capped brood so you’d have to do it every few days to be sure to get the majority of mites. You can also use a sugar syrup in a spray bottle to the same effect.

A pro for MAQS is that it isn’t absorbed into honey (stays safe for human consumption) and it also penetrates the brood capping to kill the mites in the cells.
A con of the MAQS is that I’ve read about people who have lost a portion of bees (very young or very old) after treatment, there’s a thread on here somewhere of someone who lost their queen after treating with MAQS


The only place for icing sugar is on a cake. Did you know dusting open brood can kill it?
Thats a pretty high infestation so I would risk MAQS. Never needed a respirator when I used it. It’s not as if you are inhaling the fumes. Just open the pack once you have the top bars exposed.
Personally I would lift off the supers to one side, Vape the brood box and replace the supers. You might find that a bit of a faff but it’s effective and safe for the bees


So are we talking about one cup of bees shaken in powdered sugar removing 40 mites? If so, they should already be dead. I would guess they would not recover. If we are talking about a natural drop of 40 mites a day on a sticky board, that’s within the normal range…


Yes did OP mean a sugar roll or an accelerated drop using sugar. If the latter then that’s acceptable


OP stated “sugar roll”.


I know. But 40 seems pretty impossible for a sugar roll…


Yes it was about that 35/40 or so that ended up in the water after the sugar roll of a cup of bees. :frowning:

I did add the MAQS last Saturday and the mite drop on the board was huge when I checked yesterday but there were also a lot of dead bees at the entrance and being cleaned out, this stuff is nasty for the bees.

When should i be doing another sugar shake to see where we at?


Seven days after installing the MAQS


Update: went back in today (9 day later) and had a look. Removed the rest of the strips and did another sugar roll = 6 mites. Not great but much better.
Overall they look good open and capped brood. I was a bit worried after I put the light strips and they were lots of dead bees at the front. But they seem to have recovered. I’ll give them another week and we will see.


Six mites now is not too bad but 6 mites in October is really bad.


Yes I will keep an eye on it and see how this changes over the next couple of month. Also I had a huge amount of drones in the box at the time of the first test - that does influence the amount of mites, right?
I got myself some of the green drone brood frames but guess the time for huge drone brood is now over?


Yes, the time for drone brood is over.
Sell or return the green DBF’s imo. If you keep killing their drones, they’ll want to replace them with more drones plus they don’t help when the mites are the worst; late summer/early autumn.