Happy Spring! As we see the bees emerging and hear that losses of bees on Vancouver Island are high we thought we would talk a bit about what we are doing to try to make a change in the fate of our bees. We have been trying to find effective alternatives to using pesticide strips developed over 20 years ago to knock down Varoa mites in our beehives. While new chemicals have come out and are being used in many bee operations we feel that they may pose greater harm to the bees and don’t want to use them. We are trying to get away from this cycle of having to use stronger and stronger pestisides to control mites as they seem adapt to these pesticides rapidly. Along with trying to selectively breed queens that will groom the mites off of themselves (varoa resistant/hygenic stock) which is a very difficult task, we have switched to using Oxalic and Formic acid as well as Thymol. Our system is moving towards a more integrated pest management strategy. So far, mite loads are down and we are feeling hopeful about this working. Ultimately we are trying to breed stronger bee stock.