Flashback Friday: Sugar Treatments are Such Sweet Sorrow

On Sunday, June 28th, 2015, we applied a powdered sugar treatment to our hives! While we have conducted sugar treatments in the past, it is our first sugar treatment with our current lineup of beekeepers and researchers.


Here is a layout of our hives:

DSC_0088Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 2.39.07 PM

To begin, we checked out one of the hives…






Our bees are happy and healthy!




Then we got started on our sugar treatments!

In these treatments, powdered sugar is applied in one of two ways (although we dabbled in both): using a pump, or dusting and brushing sugar into the hive.

Sugar treatments cover the bees in powdered sugar, and the bees use their probosces to lick and clean each other, effectively removing Varroa destructor mites.

Here, a sieve is used to dust the sugar:


We also used a pump, since using the sieve at one hive at a time proved to be a slow process:


We had to remove the entrance reducers in order to effectively pump the sugar up and into the hive.

We interpreted the bees as being unhappy with this sugary disruption, because they crowded around the entrance of the hives and buzzed all around us. Fortunately (and surprisingly), only one sting was reported throughout the entire process!

The following picture is one of my favorites, because you can see one bee absolutely shrouded in powdered sugar, while the rest managed to avoid the sugar storm.


“What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?” – Nick Dunne, Gone Girl (2014)

All humor aside, we found that this lengthy sugar-applying process to be a very enriching and interesting novel experience, and we look forward to treating the hives again! Since we have twelve hives, we plan on conducting our sugar treatments biweekly, and we may use both processes of sugar dusting and pumping on each hive again.

Stay tuned for more monumental beekeeping reports at the GW Apiary, and we hope your Independence Day celebrations are the bees knees!!


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