If you want to know the Varroa level in the bee colony this tool is handy. Twice a season can bee good if you use it for example in selecting your breeders. And which colonies need a new queen (high Varroa level). It’s quick and you get an answer directly in the apiary.
Now a bee supplier in Sweden has the Bee shaker for sale. He calls it Erik’s Varroa shaker. Maybe it’s too expensive to send it to US. But some beekeepers in European countries no too far from Sweden may be interested. If you don’t want to make one yourself. http://www.elgon.es/diary/?p=660
You can communicate with the producer Bjorn Gagner through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Price is probably somewhere between SEK 100-200 + shipping (about EUR 15 + shipping).
You can read more about it here: http://www.elgon.es/diary/?cat=85
The shaker is meant for making a an alcohol wash test.
- Fill one of the 500 ml jars to 2/3 with for example methylated spirit or rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.
- Take a frame closest to a brood frame, don’t include the queen! She’s most probably walking on a brood frame.
- Shake the bees from the frame into a bowl or pan.
- Scope with a measuring cup little more than a deciliter (3.5 oz) of bees and pour them into the jar with alcohol (the bees die☹)
- Screw the glued lids with the netting and the the two jars together and shake for a minute.
- Turn the jars upside down and continue shaking until all alcohol has come down into the former empty jar.
- Lift the cans above your head to the sky and count the number of mites on the bottom of the lower jar (which now has the booze).
- If it is less than 3 mites in May and 6 in August you will probably do nothing about the mites.
- If one decides to treat, you can use several methods. One method is to use thymol. Another to remove all capped brood frames (worker- and drone brood) twice with a week apart. The latter method is perhaps the one to prefer if you breed varroa resistant bees. Because then you interfere the least with the epigenetic adaptation of the bees to fight the mites.