Ether wash

This method is modified from Ellis et al. (1988)

Material needed: a jar with a screen raised 2-3 cm above the bottom, automotive starter fluid.


1. Spray the jar for two seconds with starter fluid to kill bees and mites.

Dying bees regurgitate consumed nectar honey that will make the wall of the jar sticky.

2. Shake the jar for 1 min to dislodge the mites from the bees.

3. Lay the jar sideways and roll three times completely along its vertical axis.

4. Count the mites stuck to the sides of the jar.

5. Count the number of bees in the sample washed.

6. Divide the number of mites counted by the number of bees in the sample to determine the proportion of infested individuals.

7. Multiply by 100 to obtain the number of mites per 100 bees.


Caution: ether is highly flammable!


Pros: fast, low workload.

Cons: environmentally unfriendly, expensive, destructive, dangerous.