The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Rhubarb varroa-mite treatment results

Bees carrying out paper

Two weeks after treating our Langstroth hive with rhubarb-infused paper strips, it was time for the moment of truth --- had varroa mite counts increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the face of the treatment?

Varroa countThe graph to the left shows the results (blue line is the untreated Warre hive and green line is the treated Langstroth hive). Over the last two weeks, the Warre mite count continued to increase, albeit at a decelerated pace, while the Langstroth mite count actually went down.

Of course, these few data points aren't really enough to prove anything. Maybe the Langstroth hive is merely cutting back its brood chamber the way bees always do in the autumn while the Warre hive is a bit behind. Maybe the mites per bee haven't changed in either hive at all.

Still, it's a heartening trend, suggesting that rhubarb strips might be a valid alternative to other types of varroa-mite treatment in borderline hives. The big question will be --- which hive is doing better in the spring?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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