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Unidentified mites on my bees (not varroa)


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I was doing a final disease check before removing my honey and found that a handful of bees are totally infested with small mites (look like aphids). There are bees with either none or with several dozen on the thorax/abdomen joint – never with just a couple. I have not seen them in any books and would like to know if any more experienced hands could help me.

Perhaps Varroa treatments would kill them? Possibly not.

 

Thanks.

 

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Pretty dramatic images. Many thanks for sharing and uploading them. I'm just sorry that your first post is such a potentially worrying one. Hopefully someone will be along to give you some pointers soon.

 

You've got no location on your profile, but I am assuming these are Kiwi bees?

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Trisbee, if you are in New Zealand, please bag these sample bees up and urgently contact Byron Taylor or Murray Reid. Please don't remove anything from the hive until you've spoken to them, and make sure the honey doesn't go anywhere near a packers where it can contact other beekeepers equipment. It's essential these are clearly identified urgently, and these are the guys to do it:

 

 

Byron Taylor

 

P. 07 850 2867

F. 07 850 2801

M. 021 918 400

E. taylorby@asurequality.com

or

M urray Reid

AsureQuality Limited AsureQuality Limited

P. 07 850 2881

F. 07 850 2801

M. 021 972 858

E. reidm@asurequality.com

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there's a chance these are nothing to worry about - on the top photo that clear white one on the right looks just like an immature cockroach to me, and a couple of the left ones in the bottom photo too, but I've never seen more than a random adult cockroach in a hive, and I can't imagine young being allowed to hatch adn infest a healthy hive to this degree. Then again, in the middle photo the one mite just below the wing edge looks like an immature female varroa, but again, the number of them makes no sense.

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Pretty dramatic images. Many thanks for sharing and uploading them. I'm just sorry that your first post is such a potentially worrying one. Hopefully someone will be along to give you some pointers soon.

 

You've got no location on your profile, but I am assuming these are Kiwi bees?

Yes, I'm in West Auckland (Waitakere Ranges) I rang Assure Quality yesterday but they were not in. I'll try again today.

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Please let us know how you get on. I'm hoping they are a pollen mite or similar, but that's not my diagnosis as I'm no expert. Let us know when you find out what they are.

 

Are the bees with them on dead or alive? Is there any sign of them on your brood?

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Can I suggest that everyone stay well away until they are positively identified. No idea what they are or of their breeding modalities.. could easily carry eggs and/or adult mites back on gloves or clothing, or carry an infested adult bee in/on your vehicle. The only people who should be going near until they know what they're dealing with are MAF.

 

odds on it's pollen mites. But if it's not? curiosity could mean kissing your hives goodbye.

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Gidday Trisbee

I think you are probably looking at neocypholaelaps sp. which are native to NZ and have a known association with bees. Having said that, it is never a good idea to make a diagnosis on the basis of a photo so would appreciate you giving me a call (021 918 400) as I would be keen on getting a sample identified.

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it sounds like Byron has this one in hand and hopefully it is not as serious as it looks . If in the future you are unable to get hold of someone from asure quality there is a bio security emergency hotline at 0800 9966. I have certainly never seen anything that looked like this and just looking at the pictures makes me feel ill. Were the bees with the mites still healthy .

I cannot praise you enough for both finding this and reporting it. If people have been more vigilant perhaps varroa would not have got to the stage where we were unable to control it, well done

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Gidday Trisbee

I think you are probably looking at neocypholaelaps sp. which are native to NZ and have a known association with bees. Having said that, it is never a good idea to make a diagnosis on the basis of a photo so would appreciate you giving me a call (021 918 400) as I would be keen on getting a sample identified.

Hi Byron,

 

Welcome to NZBF and thanks for taking a look into this on behalf of Trisbee

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Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) fallacis (Garman)

 

Description



Neoseiulus (=Amblyseius) fallacis is a commonly found mite predator in Ontario, particularly in July and August (Figure 4-210). Adult A. fallacis have a broad abdomen (pear or tear-shaped), are 0.30-0.35 mm in length (slightly smaller than European red mites) and are very fast moving. They can be clear (pale yellow or translucent) or acquire the colour of prey items they eat (European red mites, two spotted spider mites), such as a mottled brownish-red. Eggs are almost transparent, oval or pear shaped and slightly larger than the rounded, reddish eggs of European red mites.

beneficialf3.jpg

Figure 4-210. Amblyseius fallacis adult (Dr. Art Agnello, Cornell University)

Interaction with host



Adult females overwinter near the base of trees or surrounding ground cover, or where prey items are abundant in the fall, on the tree in protected areas. They become active in the spring, moving into tree canopies in June and July where they feed on European red mite eggs, nymphs and adults, and other mite pests (twospotted spider mite, rust mites). There are four to six generations per season. They prefer to feed on spider mites, but also feed on apple rust mite in absence of preferred prey.

A. fallacis is capable of rapid population increases under favourable conditions, and is a very effective natural control agent for pest mite populations. Studies show a ratio of one A. fallacis to 10-15 pest mites gives effective biological control. When prey items are scarce, A. fallacis leaves the tree in search of other food sources. Research shows dispersal into the canopy is affected by degree day accumulations, initial density of predators in the ground cover and prey density in the tree. When adequate prey is available, they appear in trees after 333 +/- 55 DDC (base 12ºC) after January 1. Spring frosts or freezing rains suppress activity early in the season. They can travel to other trees when prey is low by being carried off on a breeze.

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Phew! scares me. Is this for real or just someone out to upset us all? I've searched the net and books and can't find anything like this.

Yeah its for real . I was able to find something similar for a type of UK bee and its more common with bumble bees, but there are images with similar events. Its putting the "bee with mites" together with what they really are thats the issue. The test have gone off to the lab, lets all just hope its something benign like pollen mites.

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Yes indeed, that interesting article also refers to them in their species name "The mites (all females) were Neocypholaelaps novaehollandiae", which Byron from AQ also hinted at.

 

Gidday Trisbee

I think you are probably looking at neocypholaelaps sp. which are native to NZ and have a known association with bees. Having said that, it is never a good idea to make a diagnosis on the basis of a photo so would appreciate you giving me a call (021 918 400) as I would be keen on getting a sample identified.

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The joys of digital photography. Startling photos to be sure. Questions like; Just in one hive? Honey let in situ (on whole apiary) until potential problem identified? Roughly, how many other bees affected, in how many hives? Live bees afflicted or just dead ones near entrances? The blokes in NZ that found Varroa no doubt felt just as startled, but the vast numbers of mites on one bee, wow!!! Hope the yard was/is quarantined (nothing out) until Byron has all the info and background required.

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