Tag Archives: Canada

Can Sucrocide Control Varroa Mites in Canada?

Sucrocide™ (sucrose octanoate) is registered in the United States for varroa mite control. It is of interest because sucrose octanoate is a natural food additive, and thus safe for use in bee colonies.

But is this really an effective varroa mite treatment for Canadian beekeepers?

Alison Skinner, Janet Tam, Rachel Bannister and Melanie Kempers evaluated Sucrocide™ as a Varroa mite treatment under the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association Tech-Transfer Program. It was one of three projects funded by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) through the CanAdapt Program from July 2004 to July 2006.

The objective was to determine if the strength of the colony was compromised by the Sucrocide™ treatment, and if it was effective against varroa in Ontario’s conditions.

Spring Trial

Mite-AwayII™, oxalic acid (single application), oxalic acid (double application), Sucrocide™ and no treatment (control) were evaluated to determine their effects on honey bee colony strength and honey production.


The number of frames of brood, bees and honey at 3, 6 and 13 weeks following Sucrocide™ treatment was consistent with the control colonies. The treatment did not raise concerns regarding damage to the colony population. This is consistent with the nature of the treatment and the data collected in US trials.

Colonies treated with Mite-AwayII™ had noticeably less brood than the control colonies after 3 weeks. At 6 and 13 weeks, however, there was more brood in the colonies treated with Mite-AwayII™ than the control colonies. Though the colonies treated with Mite-AwayII™ initially experienced brood damage, these colonies recovered and exceeded the number of frames of bees and brood in the untreated colonies.

Colonies which received an oxalic acid treatment had slightly less brood and bees than the untreated colonies 13 weeks after treatment. Interestingly, colonies which received 2 oxalic acid treatments had more bees than untreated colonies after 13 weeks. The long term effects of a spring oxalic acid treatment and multiple oxalic treatments is not yet understood and neither are recommended for use.

Fall Trial

The efficacy of a fall treatment of Sucrocide™ and trickled oxalic acid against varroa mites was compared in 2005 in a bee yard south of Guelph, Ontario. (Mite-AwayII™ was not used in this trial.)


The post-treatment average varroa mite load was more than triple the pre-treatment mite load for the Sucrocide™ treatment group. In comparison to the other treatments, the post-treatment varroa per 100 bees was twice as high as the mite load in any of the other treatment groups.

Varroa mite populations were maintained by the trickled oxalic acid treatment. There was brood present in the colonies when treatments were applied, however, and therefore, oxalic acid was not expected to be as effective as if it had been properly applied, later in the fall, when colonies are broodless.

Varroa mites per 100 bees


Based on these trials and others, the Tech-Transfer Program researchers concluded that the Sucrocide™ treatment did not show promise as a control method for varroa mites in Ontario. Although it was not harmful to expose the bee colony to Sucrocide™, the treatment application time was lengthy and, most importantly, the Sucrocide™ treatment was not effective to control varroa mites.

Thanks to Alison Skinner, Technology Transfer Specialist, Ontario Beekeepers Association, for providing her team’s report: The evaluation of Sucrocide™ as a treatment to control varroa mites (PDF file)

Canadian Beekeepers Dodge Colony Collapse Disorder

by D. Larraine Andrews

This spring Canadian beekeepers were on the alert for a potential new threat to their colonies called colony collapse disorder. The mysterious illness, which decimates the worker bee population in the hive, was responsible for the collapse of thousands of colonies across the United States.

Paul Laflamme, unit leader with the pest management systems group at Alberta Agriculture and Food, reports that to date there have been no reported cases of CCD in Canada.

A survey this summer of Alberta beekeepers showed that over-wintering losses, which are normally about 15 per cent, were almost double that amount this past winter. Laflamme says there were a number of factors that combined to produce this result, but CCD was not one of them.

A major factor was a longer than normal winter with early snow and a cool wet spring. This delayed flowering as much as three weeks and limited foraging sources. Another cause of the high losses was the failure of varroa mite treatments that were not as effective as hoped.

Now a consortium of researchers in the U.S. has found a significant connection between the Israeli acute paralysis virus and CCD. Bees imported from Australia are being implicated as a source of the virus.

Laflamme says that Australian bees have been imported into Canada for over twenty years with no serious problems. “Now we know a possible cause (for CCD) we can investigate if the bees have any potential to carry the virus.”

He points out that the Canadian climate is so different from the U.S. that the disease may not manifest itself in the same form. He adds that anecdotal evidence suggests that Australian bees do not over-winter as well in Canadian hives.

This spring, [Alberta] provincial apiculturist Medhat Nasr collected samples from colonies with high over-wintering losses for analysis. His article on best management practices appears in the August issue of Alberta Bee News published by the Alberta Beekeepers Association. Check the website at www.albertabeekeepers.org.

AgriSuccess Express (Farm Credit Canada)
21 September 2007

See also:
Alberta Winter Kill: Nature Buzzes Bees
Agri-News (Government of Alberta)
20 August 2007

Beekeepers at FREX 2007

The Central Beekeepers Alliance will have a booth at the FREX again this year, with an educational display, beekeepers to answer your questions, and our members’ own local honey for sale.

The 180th Fredericton Exhibition is 2 – 8 September, 2007.

Check the schedule of events and plan to drop by the Coliseum gangway to visit the beekeepers… if you can tear yourself away from the midway, the harness racing, and the high wire acts!

CBA members, if you’ve signed up to take a shift at our FREX booth and need to double-check your place on the schedule, just give Dan Richards a call at 455-4922. Thank you!

Maritime Honey Industry Gathers in Charlo

The CBC has just put out a brief news item on the up-coming Maritime Bee Tour:

A dwindling bee population will be at the top of the agenda at this weekend’s conference of Maritime beekeepers and bee researchers in northern New Brunswick.

Researchers from as far away as Pennsylvania will present their theories on what caused the decline in the bee population last spring.

The story goes on to quote Paul Vautour as being cautiously optimistic that New Brunswick beekeepers can rebuild our colonies after last winter’s severe losses — and CBA members in the St. John River Valley have noted an excellent honey flow this past month, which is certain to help — “We’re making a comeback, it’s looking good.”

Mike Melanson, who looks after Apiculture at the NB Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture (NBDAFA) explains that he’ll be attending the conference to get a sense of how beekeepers are doing.

Maritime Honey Industry Gathers in Charlo,
CBC News — Friday, July 20, 2007

2007 Maritime Bee Tour

20-22 July 2007
Maritime Bee Tour
Charlo, NB

Originally posted April 2007: Planning for the annual Maritime Bee Tour is underway, and the event is set for Charlo, New Brunswick, on the 20 July weekend. Guest speakers will be Dr. Maryann Frazier of Penn State University and Jean Pierre Chapleau. The subject will be Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and practical beekeeping to guard against colony mortality. Ann Vautour and Jacques Levesque are tasked with making arrangements for the Bee Tour, and they will give more details when plans are completed.

Update: The MARITIME APICULTURE SYMPOSIUM AND TOUR agenda for 2007 has now been posted on the News page of the NBBA website, for those planning to go on the Bee Tour.

Beekeeping Field Day

Saturday, 5 May 2007
Beekeeping Field Day
Gilbey Farm, Keswick Ridge, NB
10:00 a.m.

Central Beekeepers Alliance is holding a Field Day on Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 10:00 a.m. at Earl Gilbey’s place, 64 Keswick Ridge Road (Route #616), Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick. All are welcome to come along and do some hands-on beekeeping, and trade information and tips with other beekeepers.