The NSW DPI recommends that beekeepers perform sugar shake tests in autumn, to check their hives for the presence of Varroa mite and other small mites. This kit gives you everything you need to to test your hives for these exotic pests, protecting the Australian honey industry.
To use the sugar shake kit to test your hives for mites:
- Add the icing sugar mix to the container (the mix works better than straight icing sugar as it doesn't clump).
- Add a handful of bees from the brood box, about half a cup. Screw on the lid and roll the bees in the sugar mix so that they are completely coated in the sugar mix. Leave the jar for a couple of minutes, then roll the bees in the sugar mix again. Without removing the lid, shake the sugar out through the screen into a white container of water, such as an ice cream tub--this will make it easy to see any mites. The sugar will dissolve while any mites will float on top of the water. Alternatively, you can use a white piece of paper.
- If you notice anything unusual (a magnifying glass can help at this stage), take a photo and preserve the sample on a paper towel. You can then contact the DPI Emergency Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – or follow the link on this page.
- You can return the bees in the shaker by gently pouring them out into the top bars of the brood box, under the excluder.
There is an informative video put together by Tocal College, here.