IPM Mite Control Thresholds

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Economic Thresholds & IPM StrategyDewey M. Caron University of Delaware


IPM – Integrated Pest Management“Several techniques are employed simultaneously to solve specific pest problems”I=INTEGRATED – ideally use of more than pesticide chemical control P=PEST – mites sure but applicable to any of the 3 P’s M=MANAGEMENT – as you mange the bee population you manage the P’sAlternative BMP’s Best Management Practices names: Alternative Treatments (non-pesticide)


IPMIPM is a decision-making process for control of PESTS PEST = pathogens, parasites, predators of honey bees, their colonies &/or products Bee Mites have changed the face of beekeeping – no longer bee-havers We are management specialists!


Four Fundamental Strategies for Pest ManagementDo nothing Reduce numbers of pest Reduce susceptibility of the host Use combinations of the last two


Goals to Focus on When Developing a Pest Management PlanReduce pest status Conserve environmental quality Accept tolerable pest densities Improve net profits Timing…NOT calendar treatments


Implementation of Pest Management StrategiesPest identification Pest population assessment Economic evaluation* Timing of controls * Is economic damage possible/imminent?


How to Achieve These GoalsEfficient sampling methods Valid decision guidelines Integrating a number of effective tactics for an overall plan of attack Acceptance of higher mite levels


IPM in PracticeMONITORING Mite levels fluctuate within & between seasons. We must carefully sample (=scout or monitor) and then use best estimates to determine risk level – if risk elevated we control! We MUST - Understand bee/mite life cycle - be able to ID mite & predict #


Varroa mite – a pest or vector?K-Wing or Wingless bees of value?


Illustration series from Martin IN: Mites of Honey Bees Dadant & Sons, Inc 2001Adult female mite enters larval cell as it completes development. She hides on side wall as pre-pupa spins cocoon


In 60 hours she lays 1st egg (male). After 24 hours she lays female egg one every 24 hours


Her son (male) develops feeding on pupa & mates w/ sister as she matures


When adult bee emerges 1.3 adult female mites are mature – if eggs on drone 3X are mature




Control Collapse w/ Pesticides“Resistant” mites increase with each generation Due to: (1)selection pressure (2)Sub-optimal exposure


EILETAverage densityTimePest density80706050403020100Economic ThresholdApply controlsAvoid exceeding economic injury level


Mite NumbersIncrease seasonally


Mite NumbersVary between colonies & yearsHigh mite yrLow mite yr


MonitoringOn brood - worker - drone On bees - ether roll - powdered sugar - alcohol wash In colony - Sticky board


IPM THRESHOLD Monitoring can supply a number - a “guesstimate” One or more numbers can be obtained - use number(s) to evaluate mite population - one mite in sample = X mites in colony (1=50 in U.S. -- 1=100 Europe) Determine an appropriate risk level - one mite vs 100 vs 1000? Assumption: 3000 mites in fall represents a minimally acceptable conservative risk??? Balance of costs vs benefits


Valadation of mite sample [bars] to actual numbers [background] Not perfect but good correlation


ThresholdAn acceptable level of pests [mites] – determine necessity of further controls A number to use to evaluate mite control efficacy efforts Allows estimation of risk if no pesticide chemical is integrated into the control The basis for IPM – a decision process utilizing modern pest control practices


ThresholdSpring/summer (April or May or Mid-June) Sticky boards – over 5-10 Adult bees – over 3-4 Brood – over 5% Exceeding threshold means additional control may be useful Pre-fall (mid-August, Sept too late!) Sticky boards – over 50-60 means additional control Adult bees – over 10-12 Brood – over 5-10% Exceeding threshold means additional (chemical) control needed

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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