A few beekeeping friends and I took a course several months ago and there was one thing that Mike (the host) mentioned that stuck with me: you should monitor your varroa mite loads by doing regular sugar rolls.
Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I do sugar rolls and I treated my hives using formic acid which is considered a “soft-chemical.”
He noted that most beekeepers who treat their hives don’t monitor the problem to get an idea of how bad it really is, which you would only know by doing regular checks. For example, what if your hive had 15 mites per 300 bees? You would likely decide to treat. But what if it has been 15 mites per 300 bees for the past 3 months? Should you treat?
That’s up to the beekeeper, but doing regular sugar rolls will help to monitor the health of the colonies and show the effectiveness of other mite control methods (drone trapping, sugar dusting, brood breaks). So I plan to start sugar rolls every week for 4 weeks. I hope I can keep up with it and the weather cooperates.