Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

Authors' Class Standing

Clark Howard, Sophomore Curtis Schaff, Sophomore Natalie Rose, Sophomore Gwendolyn Wentworth, Sophomore

Lead Presenter's Name

Clark Howard

Faculty Mentor Name

Taylor Mitchell

Abstract

In Volusia County, Florida, one of the most commonly used methods of combating infestations of Varroa destructor (colloquially known as varroa mites) in honey bee hives is to place a metal heating pad beneath the bottom board of a vertical Langstroth. This pad raises the temperature of the hive to at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit, above what the mites can survive and below any temperature that could seriously affect the bees.

The purpose of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of these heating pads in the treatment and elimination of an infestation of varroa mites. We will use two hives in our research, one equipped with a heating pad and the other functioning as a control. Over a period of three months, we will record both qualitative data in the number of dead varroa mites that accumulate on the heating pad as well as qualitative observations of the apparent health of the hive and severity of the varroa infestation. Data taken into account will include overall activity of the bees and frequency of mites spotted on bees, larvae, and eggs. At the end of the experimental period, we hope to have some preliminary information for use in the guidance of further investigations into the effectiveness of hive heating pads.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

No

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An Investigation into Heating Pads as an Effective Means of Combating Varroa Mite Infestation of Honey Bee Hives

In Volusia County, Florida, one of the most commonly used methods of combating infestations of Varroa destructor (colloquially known as varroa mites) in honey bee hives is to place a metal heating pad beneath the bottom board of a vertical Langstroth. This pad raises the temperature of the hive to at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit, above what the mites can survive and below any temperature that could seriously affect the bees.

The purpose of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of these heating pads in the treatment and elimination of an infestation of varroa mites. We will use two hives in our research, one equipped with a heating pad and the other functioning as a control. Over a period of three months, we will record both qualitative data in the number of dead varroa mites that accumulate on the heating pad as well as qualitative observations of the apparent health of the hive and severity of the varroa infestation. Data taken into account will include overall activity of the bees and frequency of mites spotted on bees, larvae, and eggs. At the end of the experimental period, we hope to have some preliminary information for use in the guidance of further investigations into the effectiveness of hive heating pads.