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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Keith Delaplane on Powdered Sugar as a Varroa Mite Treatment

This weekend the Georgia Beekeepers Association met in McDonough, Georgia just southeast of Atlanta.  Our Metro Atlanta Beekeeping club had the highest number of people there.  It certainly made me appreciate the quality and level of programming our local club has.  The speakers' topics for this meeting were not available ahead of time. I much prefer to know what to expect when I go to a meeting.  There also was no food available except by leaving to go to a fast food restaurant and that made the whole process feel less nurturing.

The two speakers I learned something from were Keith Delaplane and Kim Flottum.  Today I am going to tell you about Keith's talk on the results of the powdered sugar study done by Jennifer Berry at the University of Georgia Bee Lab.

Keith Delaplane talked the most specifically I have ever heard him speak about the results of the powdered sugar study done by Jennifer Berry at the University of Georgia Bee Lab.  Jennifer took the position that it might be more effective to try to address the varroa mite at a break in the brood cycle such as in the winter.

Her study compared a number of factors.  They looked at treating with powdered sugar beginning in January or beginning in March.  They compared using a top sifter (a flour sifter) to using the Dustructor - a contraption they built that blew in the powdered sugar from the bottom of the hive.  Then they compared how often to apply powdered sugar.  Some hives they treated every two weeks for a year.  The others they treated every other month.  On the treatment months they did four applications of powdered sugar with three days between the treatments.

First they found that winter bee populations are better in the spring if treatment begins in January.  They also found that treatment is better with the Dustructor.  Finally the timing of treating every other months, giving four treatments at each treatment month, three days apart was the most effective timing of treatment.

I own a contraption from Brushy Mountain called Varroa-Dustructor and plan to use it regularly on every hive beginning in January.  I"m going to follow the plan for four treatments every three days and do it in January, March, May, July, September and November.  We'll see if I have healthier bees!


  1. I don't keep bees, but I did enjoy reading this post. Sounds like you have an interesting life and profession!

  2. Please post the reference to the berry article, I would love to read it

  3. I don't think the study is completed yet. They've run the results on this part of the study so they can talk about them but he did not give a reference.

  4. Hi, Linda. Thanks for the report. I wondered if Delaplane mentioned "snot" brood. I heard that Jennifer Berry in a discussion said that some brood was killed by dusting (the term "snot" describing it). It wasn't clear how serious it was.

    Till the research is published, here's a link to a video on doing powdered sugar dusting: http://www.countryrubes.com/instructions/usingpowderedsugar.html

    It's by Janet Brissom who has advocated dusting for quite awhile. You can browse her website and see the timeline she follows for dusting in California. She and her husband designed a screened bottom board to work with frequent dusting and now sell it through some suppliers. I tried their combo boards and they worked well, but you can apply those techniques with any type bottom boards if you have an insert to catch the sifted sugar and mites.

    I tried the Brushy Mt duster and have never had so many mad bees instantly fly at me! I'll have to build up the courage to try it again based on the research results.

    Thanks again for the updated info.

  5. I was wondering what your experience was like when you powder them regarding their behaviour.

    I tried powdering my bees last weekend and they weren't too happy with me. Then again it is my first year keeping bees. They have been quite docile with me up to that point but I got stung twice that day and they became much more aggressive.


    PS: Sorry for the double post. I figured it might be better to post on a more timely article.


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