sugar shake technique

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121
166
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Watching this Australian video (yep, they're encouraging all beekeepers to do sugar shakes to watch against varroa and other grebblies) - but I wondered if anyone has any different steps to this.
For instance, I catch several frames of bees into a gubba and then scoop out by 1/2 a cup (the video seems to have over a whole cup . . but then they have no 'percentage' for 300 bees anyway I guess).
But the main thing I note is the actual shake to knock out the varroa. I was taught/told/read . .or indeed otherwise understand, that the shaking has to be a lot more vigorous than the gentle tapping here. Thoughts? For me the key things are rolling time in sugar, waiting a few minutes before sharp shakes of the jar.
 
3,392
6,299
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
When going for reasonable accuracy in mite numbers I was taught to shake a lot more vigourously than that and we also added more icing sugar after the first set of shaking and did it all again.
This technique would undoubtedly dislodge a few mites if there were plenty there but you would be lucky to get any if there are only one or two.In some of the trials I did, if the numbers were very high you could probably keep on shaking for 15 minutes and still get the odd one. It's certainly less lethal than an alcohol wash but after shaking we had to give them to get the majority of the mites off I suspect it didn't do the bees much good
 
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245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
I went back through @Trevor Gillbanks online videos. Didnt see one on sugar shakes .. only co2 and alcohol. Maybe he also thinks sugar is less effective? Who knows it might be effective and get him to do an encore video regarding sugar shakes .. good or bad. Hint hint hint.
 

Trevor Gillbanks

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Palmerston North
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I went back through @Trevor Gillbanks online videos. Didnt see one on sugar shakes .. only co2 and alcohol. Maybe he also thinks sugar is less effective? Who knows it might be effective and get him to do an encore video regarding sugar shakes .. good or bad. Hint hint hint.
I did try sugar shakes and they are not very effective.
I tested their efficacy by doing a standard sugar shake. ie, 300 bees, 2 spoons of icing sugar and then repeat. Also leave the bees for 3 min after each initial shake (2 min shake- vigorous) before doing a second shake.
Then I took those bees and did an alcohol wash. More varroa came off, so I figured it was too hit and miss and also I felt it damaged the bees.
Also it took too long compared to alcohol or CO2 wash.
 
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121
166
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
The sugar shake is not 100% for sure. From memory (ie disclaimer - dont ping me with a 'misleading or incorrect' banner mods!) it was 90 or 95% after two rounds . . and about 75% if just one round? Its in Practical Beekeeping I think
I think the main thing is the consistency . . . if you can dislodge the similar percentage each hive you test then you can work out the problem hives. I also find that combing bees from multiple brood frames helps (ie not just testing bees from one frame)
 


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