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The Valley Hive Blog

  • Holiday Wreath Making

    Oh what fun it is...

    Get into the holiday spirit with Wreath Making at the Topanga Nursery. During this two hour workshop, you will learn how to make a live succulent wreath that can be enjoyed long after the holiday season. The price of the class includes all the trimmings you will need to make and assemble your wreath. Our professional wreath maker will show you step by step directions and will be on hand to assist you in making your work of art.

    Where:  10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd

    When: December 9th from 12pm to 2pm

    Cost: $55

    Click HERE to sign up now. 

     

  • Shop Small Business Saturday in Chatsworth

     

    Enjoy Stress-Free Shopping...

    Save on Naked Bee Products

    Stop in anytime November 23-25 to take advantage of special holiday savings including 10% to 40% off of our extensive selection of Naked Bee products.

    Save on Honey and Gift Sets

    Check out our exclusive gift crates featuring honey and other unique gifts that everyone on your list is sure to love! Our Creamy Honey Gift Pack Trio features our seasonal Pumpkin Spice Creamy Honey, a new holiday favorite!

    Taste New Flavors

    Sample our newest products including Sprouted Nuts, Olive Oil and Loose Leaf Tea. Enjoy a cup of tea and complimentary yoga session in our nursery from 11am to 2pm on Small Business Saturday.

    Order Bees and Equipment Early and Save

    You will soon be able to reserve your packaged bees for Spring. Lock in last year's prices by ordering bees and equipment early.

    8th Annual Pastathon

    Once again The Valley Hive is collecting pasta and sauce for Caterina's Club, an organization which helps to feed more than 20,000 kids a week throughout Southern California. You can drop off donations anytime before December 7th at our Chatsworth location.

    FREE GIFT

    Come in between November 23 to November 25 and receive a FREE 2" plant or FREE 2 oz jar of honey!

    *while supplies last

  • Randy Oliver Visits The Valley Hive

     

    Randy Oliver with The Valley Hive owners, Keith Roberts and Danny Finkelstein

    The Valley Hive was buzzing with excitement as famed beekeeper, Randy Oliver, took to the stage to share his extensive knowledge and beekeeping experience with a crowd of more than a hundred Southern California beekeepers. The workshop on Sunday, August 26th, was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association and was FREE to all LACBA members.

    Randy speaks all over the world and is well-respected and admired for his in depth research on honey bees. He is known for "evidence-based and scientifically-verified explanations of the biological processes occurring in the hive, as well as the effects of various management options." He does not prefer to offer his own opinions but rather provides information that beekeepers can use in order to make their own " better-informed practical management decisions."

    Randy Oliver speaks passionately about his work.

    After losing almost all of his hives at one point due to varroa mite, Randy decided to fight back! Armed with scientific knowledge from his background in biology and entomology, Randy and his team (consisting of his two sons) have worked tirelessly to find effective ways to combat the destructive varroa mite. His research is readily accessible on their website: ScientificBeekeeping.com.  

    Randy Oliver has bee wings Did you know spending too much time in the bee yard may cause you to sprout bee wings?

    Learn more about Randy Oliver's visit to The Valley Hive in an upcoming BLOG post coming out during the month of September.

  • 3rd Annual Honey Competition & Recipe Contest

     

    Celebrate National Honeybee Day

    In honor of our favorite pollinator, The Valley Hive will once again host its annual Honey Competition & Recipe Contest to celebrate National Honeybee Day on Sunday, August 12th from 4-7pm! Everyone is invited to attend and sample backyard honey from beekeepers all over Los Angeles and taste dishes made with honey.

    Entertainment

    Come hungry and ready to party! Food and alcohol - made with our signature honey varieties- will be available for purchase.  Check out some local vendors and participate in crafts and activities for kids and adults alike. Check this page for more details to come.

    Backyard Beekeepers

    Show off your backyard honey by entering our honey competition and you may win the Grand Prize (which will be announced soon) and the esteem of Southern California beekeepers. Bring two  8oz jars of honey (an unlabeled jar and a labeled jar) to The Valley Hive by August 11th. The winner will be announced by the end of the day on August 12th. If you have questions about your submission, send us an email at info@thevalleyhive.com. 

    Cooking with Honey

    The Honey Chiffon Cake pictured above took home the grand prize in last year's recipe contest. The honey crumble topping was the winning touch that set this "sweet" dessert apart from all others. If you have a favorite honey recipe that you'd like to share, bring it to our event by 3:30pm on Sunday, August 12th.

    How to Enter

    To enter the honey competition/recipe contest, send an email to info@thevalleyhive.com and we will send you an entry form. Participating in the contest is simple, and anyone can enter. If you would like to enter your backyard honey, bring two 8oz jars -- one labeled, one unlabeled -- to our shop before August 12th. No honey to share, but you'd like to be involved?  Cook or bake a honey dish and bring it to us by 11am on the day of the event. Before the event, our esteemed panel of judges will taste the entries and choose the winners.  Each labeled jar of honey will be raffled off and the proceeds will be donated to bee charity chosen by The Valley Hive.

    Download Entry Form

    An RSVP is not required, but helps us better plan for the event. To RSVP go to our Facebook Event Page.

  • Bloom at Griffith Park this Summer

     

    Bloom Show Fun For All

    The Valley Hive is excited to partner with BLOOM, an interactive, pop-up art show with nearly a dozen large-scale installation art pieces, spread out over 100,000 square feet of lush grass in Griffith Park on June 22, 23 & 24. Tickets are available now on their website. Use promo code: BUZZBUZZ to receive a discount on admission.

    Bloom Art Show The Valley Hive is partnering with BLOOM this summer to spread our love for bees through an interactive flower show.

     

     

    Check Out the Bees!

    honeybees make an appearance at BLOOM Our portable beehive will be on display to help explain the important jobs of honey bees.

     

     

    Roam through a honeycomb maze as you read incredible bee facts that about these amazing pollinators. Step up to the Observation Hive and watch as bees travel inside creating honeycomb and doing their jobs within the hive. Spot the queen bee as she moves from cell to cell laying eggs.

     

     

     

     

     

    Life is A Bed of Roses

    Life is a bed of roses. slumber in a bed of roses right in the middle of Griffith Park.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Picture-Perfect Fun Awaits You

    take a flower bath. Bathe in a sea of flowers outdoors!

    With giant dandelions to wish under, a rolling field of pinwheel poppies and a House of Flowers, you will be playing in rose petals and weaving yourself into a sea of jacaranda. We invite you to delight in our creations, snap a selfie (or 500), stick your toes in the soil, envelop yourself in the scent of wild jasmine, soak in a tub of fresh lavender and picnic under the flower tepees with us.

     

    BLOOM is a dynamic, mobile, interactive art show, with a goal to spread love and inclusiveness all around the United States and abroad.

    Don a flower crown and join us as we roll in rose petals and wish upon dandelions - outdoors this summer at the BLOOM show!

  • Bloom Into Spring Event - Sunday, May 6th at The Valley Hive

    Join us on Sunday, May 6th for fun, food, and activities. Bring mom and receive a special gift!

     

     

     

     

     

     Bloom Into Spring

    Honeybees collect pollen and nectar from flowers. Flowers rely on bees for pollination. Beekeepers are an intricate part of this equation, as many agricultural crops are dependent on bees for fruit and vegetable production. Join us on Sunday, May 6th as we celebrate this connection and season of growth and rebirth!

    Bees

    Did you know that bees need to visit 2 million flowers in order to make 1 pound of honey? Check out our Observation Hive - a fully functional hive encased in glass - and watch as bees come and go and communicate with the other bees inside of the hive. Sample raw, local honey and learn how bees create different flavors simply by the way they collect nectar from the plants.

    Flowers

    Get ready for Spring...make a flower pot for mom for Mothers Day! Plant some seeds and watch them grow! Learn what you can do in your garden to beautify any outdoor living space.

    Bloom LA

    The Valley Hive and Topanga Nursery are excited to announce our partnership with Bloom! BLOOM is an interactive, pop-up art show with nearly a dozen large-scale installation art pieces, spread out over 100,000 square feet of lush grass in Griffith Park on June 22, 23 & 24. Our friends from Bloom LA will be on hand to share information about their upcoming event and have planned a special interactive activity just for us featuring....flowers!!

    Celebrate The Queen Bee

    Bring your mom to the event and she will receive a special gift from us. Take advantage of special Mother's Day savings throughout the store and in the nursery on Sunday, May 6th ONLY!

    Fun - Food - Activities

    Bloom Into Spring with us in bee-u-ti-ful historical Chatsworth.  Sip lemonade in the garden as you commune with nature. Enjoy learning more about the craft of beekeeping and participate in other Spring-like activities.

    Shop and Save

    No matter what time of year, saving money is always in season! Shop with us on Sunday, May 6th and save on specially selected items throughout our gift store and in the nursery.

    Happy Anniversary to Us

    We have now been at our new location in Chatsworth - at the corner of Topanga and Chatsworth- for an entire year. If you haven't stopped by in awhile, now is the perfect time to visit! Our gift shop is overflowing with honey, lotions and balms, and other bee-related and local gifts. Browse through the Topanga Nursery and be amazed at the recent transformation. Plants of every shape, size, and variety and bursts of color abound throughout the luscious garden. Stop by and see for yourself. You will bee amazed at what we have done with the place!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Valley Hive Farmers Markets

    Everyone loves our honey!

    IMG_3552

    You can now purchase our raw, local honey at Farmers Markets and other retail locations in the greater Los Angeles area.

    FARMERS MARKET LOCATIONS

    Calabasas Farmers Market Calabasas Farmers Market

    SUNDAY - Westlake Village, 10-2pm 2797 Agoura Rd.

    SUNDAY - Melrose, 10-2pm  8400 Melrose Avenue, W. Hollywood

    WEDNESDAY – Hermosa Beach Pier, 1-6pm, 1-11 Pier Avenue

    THURSDAY – Century City, 10-2pm, 10100 Santa Monica Blvd.

    THURSDAYL.A., 10-2pm, Fig at 7th, , 735 S Figueroa St.

    SATURDAY – Calabasas, 8-1pm, 23504 Calabasas Rd

    SATURDAY - Marina Del Rey, Kaiser, 9-2pm, corner of Panay Way and Villa Marina

     

    Please note: Farmers Market locations are subject to change. Before attending a market, confirm the location by calling The Valley Hive at 818-280-6500

    RETAIL LOCATIONS

    You can also buy our raw, local honey at the following retail locations:IMG_6603

    New Flooky's Restaurant, Canoga Parkhttp://thenewflookyscanogapark.com/

    Fields Market, West Hills: http://www.fieldsmarket.com/

    Humble Bee Cafe, Northridge: http://www.fieldsmarket.com/

    Milk Farm, L.A.: http://milkfarmla.com/

    We Olive, Pasadena: http://weolive.com/pasadena/

    Bristol Farms, Calabasas:  

    http://www.bristolfarms.com/locations/mulholland2/

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Joy of Cooking with Honey (from The Valley Hive)

    By Madison Newman

    Sweet, Wonderful Honey!

    With the holidays  fast approaching, it is never too early to begin preparing. We can all agree that the holidays and food go hand in hand. So when formulating your holiday meal plan, why not try to incorporate some honey?

    Honey & Holidays A Perfect Pair

    Yep, that’s right, wonderfully delicious honey pairs fantastically with a number of dishes.  Not only will the adding of honey into your cooking kick your food’s flavor into twelfth gear, but it will also endow your food with the health benefits that honey has to offer. Raw local honey can be used  to help alleviate allergies, serves as an energy booster due to the natural sugars present within honey, leads to healthy blood sugar management, lines the throat to reduce sore throat and cough, and the list goes on. You can probably understand why raw honey is often promoted as being a better substitute for sugar. Next time a dish calls for sugar, you can substitute raw honey in its place. However, your utilization of raw honey is not limited as merely a substitution for sugar; raw honey can be incorporated into recipes of all sorts. Be sure to come on over to The Valley Hive to pick up some of the different types of honey we carry to try out in your holiday recipes.

    Honey Glazed Turkey photo from All Recipes

    Thanksgiving

    Although this article is a little late for Thanksgiving this year, here are some ideas to keep in mind for next year. Thanksgiving is absolutely a food centered holiday. If you want to create a bountiful feast for family, and friends to enjoy whilst spreading thanks, try some of these honey enriched dishes. Turkey is crucial for a Thanksgiving dinner, but it can be easy to serve one that is bland and boring. However, with the help of this English Honey-Roasted Turkey recipe your turkey is sure to wow everyone at the table. Our light Sage Honey is a good choice for this recipe. It will add flavor, but will not make your turkey too sweet.

    Pomegranate Cider Bourbon photo from The National Honey Board
    Honey Apple Cider photo from Natasha's Kitchen

    Honey Beverages Are A Treat

    Now that the main dish is out of the way, you’ll need some drinks to wash down the food, and drown out family members (kidding!). Cider is a staple during the Fall months, therefore this recipe for Pomegranate Cider Bourbon Splash is just the trick for enhancing the Fall atmosphere. You, and your guests can console yourselves with the fact that at least your alcoholic beverage is a tad healthier with that dosage of honey added. Our strong and bold Buckwheat Honey should blend well with the other potent ingredients in this drink. For those of you who are seeking a non alcoholic beverage, either willingly, or by California state law, then this Honey Apple Cider  is a delicious honey drink for such an occasion.  You can use this cider in the Pomegranate Cider Bourbon Splash as well. Here our mellow and mild Sage Honey will not overpower the spices used in the cider, and will assimilate nicely into the drink.

    Cranberry Honey Pecan Pie
    photo from Food Network Kitchen

    Best for Last -- Dessert

    Finally, in case everyone is not yet in a food coma, this decadent dessert will get you all there. Instead of cranberry from a can, bake this honey flavored Cranberry Pecan Pie. We recommend our Orange Blossom Honey, a light honey with a citrus after taste that will couple nicely with the cranberry and pecan.

    Serve these honey dishes to your guests and you can be sure they will be thankful this Thanksgiving!

    Hanukkah & Honey

    Sweet Glazed Salmon photo by All Recipes

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Rosh Hashana is not the only Jewish holiday that calls for honey. There are several dishes you can make for Hanukkah that utilize honey. For starters this Sweet Glazed Salmon recipe contains just a bit of honey to provide the salmon with an extra level of flavor. A touch of our Creamy Lemon Honey with the lemon juice will enhance the lemon flavor that fits so well with salmon.

    Honey Applesauce Recipe photo by Best Friends for Frosting

     

    If you are thinking about making some latkes this Hanukkah, then try this Homemade Honey Applesauce recipe to brighten them up. Cinnamon and apples are an unbeatable combination and adding our Creamy Cinnamon Honey into the mix will definitely kick this dish up a notch!

     

     

     

     

    Honey Donuts...Yum!

    Honey Donuts photo from Jewish Foods in the Hands of Heathons

    Another Hanukah favorite, made with honey and cinnamon are Sufganiyots, little fried donuts that are sometimes filled with jelly, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, or tossed in a honey or citrus syrup. Try making these with either our Creamy Cinnamon Honey or our sweet and rich Wildflower Honey.  Either option will make your sufganiyots pop with flavor! With honey recipes like this you will wish that Hanukkah was longer than eight days!

     

    Christmas

    Similar to Thanksgiving, Christmas is a time of year that unites people. Even though Christmas focuses upon gift giving, the bringing together of so many people makes food an inevitable staple of this holiday.

    Pineapple Honey Glazed Ham photo from the National Honey Board

    Honey & Ham is a Natural

    Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving, but ham steals the show come Christmas. If you want to present your guests with a beautifully succulent ham, then it is essential to glaze your ham. Glazes can contain pineapple, mustard, apricot, cherry, apple butter, maple, and all sorts of things you would never imagine paired with ham. Of course, honey makes for a fantastic glaze! This Pineapple Honey Glazed Ham is a surefire way to create a balance between sweet and savory this Christmas. An interesting honey to use for this glaze is our Citrus Avocado Honey. This honey is a smooth natural blend between the more intense Avocado honey, and the delicate Orange Blossom honey. A nice side is always important to pair with the main dish, but mundane mashed potatoes are not necessary with this exciting Roasted Root Vegetables with Honey and Herb Glaze. Some of our customers and employees have reported using our Avocado Honey, which has a molasses quality, for roasting vegetables. Now you can use it in this merry side dish.

    Honey Caramel Coffee photo from the Honey Board

    Christmas would not be complete without some tasty, toasty beverages. Why wait in an upsettingly long line while the person in front of you cannot decide between a tall or a grande? Instead create your own holiday beverage accompanied with honey such as this Honey Caramel Coffee . For a second, let’s just forget that we are located in Los Angeles and pretend we are in a winter wonderland where a hot beverage is always welcome. We recommend using our Wildflower Honey, or Creamy Cinnamon Honey to create this festive winter beverage!

     

    Cookies for Santa

    Honey Gingerbread Cookies photo from Honest Cooking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Expecting Santa to climb down your chimney this Christmas? Then you better get to baking some cookies! Even if you do not put out cookies for the man in red, then baking cookies makes for a fun and delicious activity with those you cherish. Cut down on the white sugar, and add a little sweetness with honey with this Honey Gingerbread Men Cookies recipe that makes for a satisfying treat in between meals or as a nice compliment to some cocoa! Once again Creamy Cinnamon Honey comes to mind and can enhance the spice of these gingerbread cookies, or try Avocado Honey which will round out the flavor and add to the richness of your cookies.

    Visit Us

    If your mouth is watering, and your mind racing over the possibilities of honey in your holiday dishes please stop by our store today to sample all of our honey varieties.  Our honeys are distinct in flavor, so make sure to try them all to see what may fit best in your recipes. The honeys listed above are only recommendations. You can try any honey you prefer in these spectacular dishes. Don't delay! Hop in your sleigh and ride on down to The Valley Hive before the holiday season is over!

    Note: Please enter through our front entrance, and not the chimney.

    Thank you,

    The Valley Hive Elves

     

  • Black & Yellow Friday at The Valley Hive

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Find one of a kind bee gifts, plants and local honey at The Valley Hive & Topanga Nursery in Chatsworth. Stop by anytime between 8:30-5pm on Friday and Saturday and take advantage of our sweet holiday deals.

    Choose from bee related products such as beeswax candles, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and our specialty skin care line. Spuce up your kitchen with our bee towels and

  • The Fight Against The Destructive Varroa Mite

    Editor's Note: The Valley Hive would like to commend Madison on a job well done. The varroa mite is a very difficult subject to write about. Madison took a very complex topic and created an informative, easy to read article, that will surely benefit any beekeeper who take the time to read it.

    By Madison Newman

    Varrowhat?varroa mite

    I am about to type two words that may induce a hysterical episode for many of you: varroa mites. Take a few moments to collect yourself, because I understand that these worrisome external parasites can produce a number of responses among beekeepers. Terror, shock, confusion, and annoyance seem to be a fairly common reaction throughout the beekeeping community. For newbees and experienced beekeepers alike, the varroa mite is no laughing matter. Varroa Destructor originated from Asia (thanks a lot Asia), and managed to make its way to all parts of the world with the exception of certain Hawaiian islands, and Australia. Unfortunately, I have no desire to live in Australia, and I am not financially stable enough to reside in Hawaii. So I guess I will just have to grit my teeth, and deal with varroa mites like the rest of you. I would like all of you to bear with me here, and place your fist on your arm. This is roughly the size relation between a varroa mite, and a honeybee. Sort of unsettling, isn’t it? I know I would not be pleased with a menace that large attached to me. These nasty buggers are quite visible when latched onto honeybees, and resemble ticks (another well-loved parasite). To fully grasp why varroa mites are so detrimental to the safety of a hive allow me to describe the numerous problems they pose.

    The Monstrous Varroa Mite

     There is a reason the varroa mite is also known as the varroa destructor. Although these pests may be small in size, researchers are pointing to the varroa mite as a huge contributing factor to colony collapse disorder. All hives struggle with varroa mites, unless they are located in the spots listed above. The varroa mites are little vampires that gorge themselves upon the blood of our poor honeybees. They insert themselves into drone cells and worker cells in order to feed upon the larvae and reproduce. Some beekeepers suggest that varroa mites typically prefer the drone cells over the worker cells as they are larger, and the varroa mites have more time within the cells since drones do not emerge for twenty four days as opposed to twenty one days for worker bees. The varroa mite population can expand rapidly which leaves you with a much weaker colony. The varroa mite can pass on about twenty six transmittable viruses to honey bees, including Deformed Wing Virus, Black Queen Cell Virus, Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, and Kashmir Bee Virus. Some of these viruses are more easily identified than others, and will likely require an entire post dedicated to explaining them. My point here is to convey to you the seriousness involved with varroa mites as these diseases can wipe out your hives. Before we cover management techniques I will go over some of the symptoms that indicate a varroa mite infestation.

    Varroa Mite Indicators

    entnemdept.ufl_.edu_.jpg mite on bee entnemdept.ufl_.edu_.jpg
    mite on bee

    Earlier in this post I described the varroa mite’s appearance as similar to that of a tick. Varroa mites are very distinguishable on the white glistening body of larvae. However, once you see worker bees with varroa mites this is an indication of a large varroa mite infestation. The bees do their best to clean one another, and often they will knock off varroa mites in the process. So when yo begin to observe varroa mites attached to adult bees it means that the varroa mite population has gotten out of hand, and the bees are unable to keep up. When I listed some of the diseases your bees can face when plagued by varroa mites, I mentioned Deformed Wing Virus. Keep your eyes peeled for bees with twisted, distorted, wrinkled, gnawed wings as this is usually a symptom of a high varroa mite population. These bees do not really live long, but can help you to realize that you may have a problem within your hive. Now you are thinking, “C’mon Madison! On top of ensuring I have one to three day old larvae, capped brood, nectar, pollen, honey, and a steady bee population, you now want me to look out for varroa mites!?” Yes, because it is crucial to catch the mite population early so that you have a strong healthy hive going into the Fall and Winter months when the population dwindles. Before you take any steps to treat your hive it is important that you test your hive to have an estimate as to how severe your varroa mite problem is.

    Powdered Sugar Roll Test and Screened Bottom Boards

    scientificbeekeeping.com sugar roll test scientificbeekeeping.com
    sugar roll test

    To check for varroa mites, beekeepers can either use the powdered sugar roll test, or a screened bottom board. If you attended our Beekeeping 101 courses you probably witnessed our beekeeper Keith covering some bees in powdered sugar, and lightly shaking them. No he was not making a snack for later, he was actually demonstrating the powdered sugar roll test. Click here for a video of Keith performing the powdered sugar roll test. For this test we recommend you have on hand: two wide mouth quart sized mason jars, ⅛-inch hardware cloth screen to cover one jar, ¼-cup of powdered sugar, 8 fl. oz. of water, and of course your handy dandy bee brush, smoker, and hive tool. First take a frame of bees out of your hive, and lightly brush about ½ to a cup of bees into one of the jars. Of course make sure to exclude the queen from this jar. Then pour about two tablespoons of powdered sugar into that jar of bees. Place the hardware cloth inside the outer ring, and screw it onto the jar. Lightly roll the jar, with the bees in it, around. Next, wait ten minutes! This will provide the bees with time to clean each other, and knock off any varroa mites. I recommend in these ten minutes that you read my previous article on Robbing. Okay! Now that ten minutes have passed, and you have finished my amazing Robbing article, you can shake the contents of that hardware cloth covered jar into the other empty jar. Add the water into the jar that now contains the powdered sugar, and swish it around. Hold up your jar, and count the varroa mites. If you see less than six you are alright, but if you count more than six then you will need to treat your hive. We at the Valley Hive prefer this method over the alcohol wash since no bees are harmed! They simply come out as little sugar ghost bees, and hey who doesn’t like being covered in powdered sugar? Remember that you have to test once again after you have treated to see if your treatment was effective. Some beekeepers prefer to use a screened bottom board (you can purchase one at The Valley Hive) instead of a solid bottom board.  Since bees are clean freaks they are constantly cleaning each other, and in the process knocking off varroa mites. The varroa mites can fall through the screened bottom board, and onto a sticky board where you can check the count. Another benefit of the screened bottom board is it will give your hive some extra ventilation. Once you have an estimate as to how high the mite population is, you can start thinking of some steps to alleviate your mite problem. There are various varroa mite treatments you can try within your hive such as: Apivar, Mite Away Quick Strips, and Apiguard. Some beekeepers will opt for natural treatment techniques such as drone comb, powdered sugar, and foundationless frames which I will cover as well. I just bombarded you with a jumble of technical treatment names, but do not fret I will explain.

    Apivar

    Apivar Apivar

    The active ingredient in Apivar is amitraz. Amitraz causes excitation within mites, and eventually a state of paralysis. This paralysis not only leads to the mites falling off the backs of bees, but it also causes them to starve. Do not use Apivar when you have honey supers on! It is suggested that you use Apivar before the nectar flow in the Spring, and after you have harvested your honey in mid to late Summer. The purpose of the crucial Summer treatment is to ensure you have a strong colony by the time Winter rears its head.  The Spring treatment is to maximize your honey yield, and to prevent colony collapse in the lead up to your Summer treatment. Apivar strips work when bees come into contact with the strips since this is where the amitraz is released. Once these bees come in contact with the strips they will go about their day normally, going throughout the hive, and coming into contact with other bees thus spreading the amitraz. After a short period of time the amitraz disappears from the hive. The recommended dosage for Apivar is two strips, and you want to place your strips in your brood chamber which is the area of high activity. You can insert one strip per five frames of bees with a separation of two frames between the strips. It is recommended that you leave the strips in for forty two days, or a maximum of fifty six days in the case of a heavy infestation. Once the treatment has ended it is important to remove your Apivar strips, because at that point the strips release a very low amount of amitraz which can aid the varroa mites in building up a resistance.

    Apiguard

    Apiguard Apiguard

    The active ingredient in Apiguard is thymol. Apiguard comes in the form of trays, with usually two trays recommended to treat a standard colony. You peel back the lid of the tray, providing the bees with enough space to climb in, and then place it on top of the brood chamber with the gel side up. After two weeks you can remove the previous tray, and add a new one. Then, after another two to four weeks, you can finally remove the last tray. Similar to Apivar, Apiguard is also spread throughout the colony from bee to bee. Also Apiguard, just like Apivar, should not be used when honey supers are present in order to avoid tainting the honey.  As if it wasn’t already difficult enough to distinguish them, because of their “Api” beginnings. Apiguard emits a vapor that the bees can smell which leads them to the trays. The bees climb into the trays to remove the gel, because they are our wonderful little neat freaks. Due to their obsessive cleanliness the gel gets all over the branched hairs of the bees, and they will scatter Apiguard particles throughout the hive. It is best to use Apiguard during warmer periods between sixty to one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit, because the thymol vapors are released more efficiently. Also be mindful of ventilation within your hive as the thymol vapor requires space to escape. So take off entrance reducers, or consider a screened bottom board when treating with Apiguard. You may notice more bees bearding outside the hive, because they dislike the smell of the vapors. There can be risks when using Apiguard. Some beekeepers have reported the bees growing more agitated when using Apiguard. For example bees may tear out pupae, queens can be superseded, or their laying patterns may be disrupted.

    Mite Away Quick Strips

    Mite Away Quick Strips Mite Away Quick Strips

    The name of this treatment makes it sound as if it is so simple, and easy. But, make no mistake folks this is beekeeping, so nothing is ever simple and easy. However, Mite Away Quick Strips can actually be used when honey supers are present unlike Apiguard, and Apivar. The active ingredient in Mite Away Quick Strips is formic acid. These strips target male, and female varroa mites in capped brood and on adult bees. Since the strips are situated on top of the brood chamber, the formic acid molecules are tiny enough to pass through the thin wax layering of the brood. Inevitably adult bees will come into contact with the strips which affects the mites that are not located in the capped brood. Right now these strips probably sound like a fairly simple treatment, slap on the strips even with your super on, and badda bing badda boom it takes care of mites in brood, and mites on adults. But hold on there is a catch! Similar to Apiguard, Mite Away Quick Strips are temperature sensitive. If you choose to execute a full dose consisting of two strips then you must take into consideration the weather conditions for the next seven days. When using the strips the temperature range must stay within fifty to eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, especially within the first three days. If temperatures exceed eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, there could be excessive brood and queen loss. If you, like The Valley Hive, are situated in the San Fernando Valley, and dealing with temperatures well into the hundreds, make sure you are aware of what the temperature will be in your area at the time of treatment. Before opting for this treatment ensure that the weather is going to be within the limits, that you have at least six frames of bees or more, and that you have no entrance reducer present as maximum ventilation is also required for these strips.

    Natural Treatments

    Often you will hear people at The Valley Hive uttering the joke, “If you ask ten beekeepers a question you will find yourself with twelve different answers!” This is just to say that each beekeeper is unique in their style of beekeeping. Some beekeepers refuse to use plastic frames, some opt for foundationless frames, some beekeepers will use all medium boxes, or use double deeps even here in Southern California, and the list goes on. It appears that there is a large divide in the beekeeping community when it comes to varroa mite treatment. Above I have listed three separate chemical treatments that we carry at The Valley Hive. However, there are beekeepers who prefer nonchemical treatment options for their hive. These options include: drone comb, foundationless frames, and powdered sugar.

    Drone Comb

    Drone Frame Drone Frame

    Drone comb are specialized bright neon green frames whose cell size is bigger to encourage an entire frame of drones. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that varroa mites typically reside in drone cells because, of the longer gestation period of drones. Drones emerge in twenty four days which gives the varroa mites more time to develop, and reproduce. Actually mites will actually latch on to nurse bees awaiting the opportunity to insert themselves into the drone cells, whose pheromones they can smell. Placing a frame, or two, of drone comb within your brood chamber may help to contain a portion of the mite population. But, you must be extremely careful and timely when you remove the drone comb. It is crucial that you remove the drone comb before the emergence of the drone bees, because if you allow them to emerge you have increased your mite population. Before the drones emerge, remove the frames. You can either scrape them, or freeze them in order to kill the mites inside. Unfortunately, you will be sacrificing some drones within your hive to complete this treatment. Also it is not a proven method of treatment and is most effective when used in the Spring.

    Foundationless Frames

    Some natural beekeepers claim that foundationless frames are better at fending off varroa mites. By allowing the bees to build out their own cell size free from the guide of foundation, foundationless beekeepers state that this leads to a natural cell size not suitable for varroa mites. This cell size is in turn smaller, and varroa mites cannot easily fit inside.

    Powdered Sugar

    Earlier I discussed the powdered sugar roll test that is intended to aid you in assessing your mite problem. Some beekeepers will attempt to use this as a form of treatment for varroa mites. You can take a pound of pulverized and ground up white granulated sugar that is reduced to a fine powder (never use regular powdered sugar as this will cause the bees to have dysentery when used for an application greater than a mite test) and place the sugar into an empty bottle that has holes at the top such as baby powder container. Then open your hive, and lightly cover the bees with the sugar. Make sure not to completely douse your bees, as this technique only requires a light coating. Just as with the powdered sugar roll test, the bees will knock the varroa mites off while cleaning themselves. You should repeat this process once a week for about two to three weeks. Most beekeepers utilize a screened bottom board for this procedure.

    Take Action

    Whether or not you choose chemical treatments, natural treatments, or a middle path, you should always treat for varroa mites, and then test after the application to ensure efficacy.  If you allow the varroa mite population to go unchecked within your hives, then not only are you hurting your hives, but you will inevitably hurt other hives in the vicinity as well. The varroa mite population will escalate, and eventually begin to latch on to forager bees. These forager bees can then spread varroa mites to other hives, so please take action against these parasites. In the beginning, treating can be a confusing process, but over time you will grow more confident on how to curtail varroa mites. Keep in mind that the proverbial magic bullet treatment for varroa mites does not exist. Never use the same treatment back to back.  Experts recommend rotating treatments so the mites are not able to build resistance to the miticides currently available. Regardless of what treatments you intend to use, The Valley Hive is here to help! Treatments are available at our store in Chatsworth at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd. You can call us at 818-280-6500, email us at info@thevalleyhive.com, or stop by anytime to get answers to your varroa mite questions. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will do their best to help you with your fight against these nasty pests.

    Many of the treatments discussed in this article are used by The Valley Hive. There are more treatment options available. Do your homework. BEE-informed, and choose the right treatment path that is best for you and your bees.

    references:

    Bessin, Ric. Varroa Mites Infesting Honey Bee Colonies. Apr. 2016, entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef608

    Moore, Philip, et al. “Honey Bee Viruses, the Deadly Varroa Mite Associates.” EXtension, 29 Nov. 2016, articles.extension.org/pages/71172/honey-bee-viruses-the-deadly-varroa-mite-associates

    “Apivar FAQ's.” Apivar, www.apivar.co.nz/FAQs.htm#FAQ 2

    “Apigaurd - Frequently Asked Questions.” Mar. 2015, www.vita-europe.com/wp-content/uploads/VitaApiguardFAQ201607a.pdf

    Oliver, Randy. “The Arsenal: ‘Natural’ Treatments – Part 2.” Scientific Beekeeping , scientificbeekeeping.com/ipm-7-the-arsenal-natural-treatments-part-2/

    “Mite Away Quick Strips - Frequently Asked Questions.” NOD Apiary Products, nodglobal.com/faq-maqs/

    “Treating Varroa Mites Organically.” Treating Varroa Mites Organically, 3 Feb. 2011, www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Treating_varroa_mites_organically/

     

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Working Hours
We are open 7 days a week from 8:30am-5:00pm
We have moved! Our new address is 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd. Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 280-6500
 
 
 
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