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Sugar dusting as a varroa Treatment?

I read an article that quotes sugar dusting the hive 5 times in a season will reduce the mite count as effectively as other chemical based treatments.

Can it be this simple?

With a large amount of hives, maybe it’s not that simple. But for myself with only one (right now!), it doesn’t sound that hard…

The article is in Swedish but I can post it if you like?

Any commments welcome - @Michael_Bush :wink:?

I disagree. I think the only place for icing sugar is on a cake. Michael Bush will disagree with me.
My advice is to believe neither of us and try it yourself


This is a complex subject, and one which Randy Oliver has studied quite carefully.


Rusty Burlew has written a nice summary of Randy’s findings on her web site:

I am inclined to agree with her interpretation. The data seems to show that you need to do it weekly for it to be really effective. You need to use very dry powdered sugar, otherwise it doesn’t work well. You need to be aware of additives in the sugar. Some anti-caking agents seem to be toxic to bees, but corn starch (corn flour) is fine. It works best when the colony is broodless. You need to use a screened bottom board and leave the slider out for at least 24 hours after each dusting, so that the mites fall out of the hive - sugar doesn’t kill them, and if you have a solid floor, they will just find another host.

I think 5 times per year is insufficient, and you will risk losing the hive if you have a heavy infestation. I would rather use something which is more reliable and doesn’t have so many caveats. Oxalic acid would be my first choice, given that it is an organic product. :wink:

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You are trying to kill Varroa. I am not. I’ve never used it, but I have a friend who mixes it with garlic powder and thinks that works well enough.


“I’ve thought a lot about how in the world to describe what’s really happening in an apiary that hasn’t used treatments of any kind for more than five years; where mites are now considered to be indispensable allies and friends, and where the productivity, resilience, profitability and enjoyment of the apiary are just as good as at any time in the past. I wouldn’t dream of killing any mites now, even if I had an easy and safe way of doing so.”–Kirk Webster, A New Paradigm for American Beekeeping (emphasis is mine)


Hi Dawn,

Thanks for your input and as always backed up with some handy links for further reading!


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Thanks Michael! Interesting read.
Garlic powder - that’s a first!
Still new and learning, trying to absorb and remember everything I hear and read about these fascinating insects.
:honeybee: :honeybee: :honeybee: