Hops and Honey, Why you ask? Hops are a NATURAL Varroa mite deterrent for bees!
Those yummy smelling little greed nuggets of goodness!
They make your beer taste the way it does. When you pluck one off of the vine and roll it between your fingers,
it releases the smell of the best IPA you have ever smelt! If you don't like beer or IPA's well I am sorry for you.
Then Hops probably smell like stinky gym socks to you. Nonetheless, we can all appreciate the beauty of this BINEing rhizome.
Ya, BINE not vine. Hops bines hive sticky, prickly arms that they use to help
them crawl upwards, and I mean upwards! Hops can grow up to 12" a day and can reach up to 25' tall
Another reason to love and grow hops is for the BEES!
So why do we as beekeepers want to protect our bees from Varroa Mites? Varroa destructor (Varroa mite) is an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on the honey bees
Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis.
The Varroa mite can reproduce only in a honey bee colony.
It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies. The species is a vector for at least five debilitating bee viruses, including RNA viruses such as the deformed wing virus (DWV).
A significant mite infestation leads to the death of a honey bee colony, usually in the late autumn through early spring. The Varroa mite is the parasite with possibly the most pronounced economic impact on the beekeeping industry. Varroa is considered to be one of multiple stress factors contributing to the higher levels of bee losses around the world.
You can see a varroa mite on the back of this worker bee above.
Sorry for the bad picture. They are small! All beehives have some level of a varroa mite infestation.
Hops produce something called Lupuline. That is the yellow pollen looking dust inside of the hops comb.
Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) has hops beta acids (HBA). HPAs were tested for miticidal effects on Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite of the honey bee. When varroa were placed on bees that had topical applications of 1 % HBA, there was 100 % mite mortality. Bee mortality was unaffected.
Cardboard strips saturated with HBA and placed in colonies resulted in mite decrease that was significantly greater than in untreated hives.
HBA was detected on about 60 % of the bees in colonies during the first 48 hours after application.
Mite drop in colonies lasted for about 7 days with the highest drop occurring in the first 2–3 days after treatment.
There was a reduction in the percentages of bees with HBA and in the
amounts on their bodies after 7 days.
HBA might have potential to help control varroa when establishing
colonies from packages or during broodless periods.