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A response to Varroa in tropical Africa
I would like to add to the comments made by Christian Akpoke in BfDJ 97. I strongly believe that our bees have the natural potential to resist, overcome or tolerate any abnormal condition or pest if managed naturally for the following reasons:
- I investigated the brood chambers of two colonies over a period of three years in the grounds of my home and not a single Varroa was seen.
- I replaced two colonies lost to Varroa in the porch by one old colony from the grounds of my home, and the second by natural colonisation using the same empty hive but after full sterilisation with hot water. After a few weeks I inspected the brood chambers and discovered Varroa in both colonies.
- Some months later however, I observed that the presence of the mites did not affect the population of bees. The new colony was strong and active. After a month, it was ready for supering. The old colony had already been supered before it was transferred to the porch for proper investigation.
- In December 2009, I harvested 25.5 kg of honey from the old colony and by February 2010, I harvested 28 kg of honey from the same colony. The new colony performed beyond my expectations by producing 60 kg of honey per annum.
- The strength and populations of the bees dropped drastically soon after the second harvest.
Conclusion: It may be that the mites overcame the bees' natural resistance only after honey harvest or that more than usual honey was removed which made the bees weak.
Mike Ukattah, Amachi Farms, Abia State, Nigeria