Opening large number of cells and washing the brood

A quicker method for collecting large numbers of live mites from capped brood cells it to uncap large quantities of brood and force the mites out by knocking them out of the cells or by washing them off the brood. For this:

1. Uncap a large number of cells.

2. Remove all developing bee brood.

These two steps can be done at once using an uncapping fork used for honey extraction

3. Turn the comb upside-down over a sheet of white paper.

4. Tap on its upper surface to dislodge mites from the cells.

5. Collect the dislodged mites, sometimes in the hundreds, from the paper.


An alternative method to increase the number of mites sampled is to:

1. Uncap the brood cells.

2. Flush the comb with lukewarm water that will dislodge the brood and mites.

3. Collect dislodged brood and mites in a first sieve (5 mm mesh) that will retain the bees.

4. Place a second sieve (0.5 mm mesh) underneath the first to retain mites.

5. Flush with more water.

6. Dry the mites by placing them on absorbent paper (Fig. 6e).


Pros: easy collection of high mite numbers (depending on colony infestation rate).

Cons: mites of unknown physiological stage; possible shortening of life expectancy after washing from brood; a large number of mites remain in the comb with the knocking method.