Varroa control

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Photo: Varroa Control Tel Aviv meeting 2019

The Varroa Control Task Force of COLOSS is composed of Varroa destructor researchers, bee health experts, and extension workers. Current participation includes greater than 60 members from more than 20 countries.

Download the list of participants

Activities of the Varroa Control TF – Report 2014-2016

Formic acid strips used to manage Varroa destructor


Varroa Control members focus on developing and encouraging sustainable solutions for management of the ectoparasitic mite V. destructor, one of the most devastating threats to honey bees. Pivotal to the philosophy of the group is the adoption of Integrated Pest Management schemes.

The group’s specific aims are to:

  • study the impact of beekeeper management on V. destructor and honey
    bee populations
  • study the efficacy and safety of current beekeeper management products
  • improve current management options and to develop novel strategies
  • explore mechanisms of V. destructor tolerance and resistance in different honey bee populations, and to develop diagnostic methods and breeding procedures that improve natural tolerance to varroosis in honey bee populations (with COLOSS Task Force RNSBB)
  • provide recommendations for sustainable V. destructor management to beekeepers (with COLOSS Core Project B-RAP).

The aims of the task force will be achieved by organizing workshops to design common experiments.

Working Groups

WG 1. Varroa infestation assessments (Leaders: Ole Kilpinen)

Compare currently used methods to assess the infestation levels of the colony (e.g. the soapy solution, powdered sugar, and natural mite fall methods).

Download the list of participants of WG1
Download the definitive protocol

WG 2. Brood interruption (Leaders: Ralph Buechler and Antonio Nanetti)

Compare V. destructor control methods using total removal of brood or temporary caging of queens combined with oxalic acid treatment.

The COLOSS – VARROA CONTROL TASKFORCE took step forward and developed two protocols for initiating an international study entitled: ???Assessment of alternative summer methods for Varroa control???. The protocols (Brood interruption with queen caging and Brood removal) in details describe the methodology for implementation of a study for the forthcoming seasons in 2016 and 2017. If applicable under your working and environmental conditions, we strongly recommend implementation of both protocols in a single study. However, the practical organization of this study will be discussed on the forthcoming COLOSS – VARROA CONTROL TASKFORCE workshop in Croatia (Unije) from 19 to 20 May 2016. The official workshop announcement will follow soon.

For further information concerning your participation in the study please contact Dr. Aleksandar Uzunov (

Download the list of participants of WG2
Download the definitive protocol

WG 3. Varroa damage thresholds (Leaders: Fani Hatjina and Nikola Kezic)

Determine the range of damage threshold levels across Europe, and to link these to environmental factors.

Download the list of participants of WG3
Link to the collaborative protocol (can edit only WG registered users)
Download the definitive protocol

WG 4. Formic acid management (Leaders: Benjamin Dainat and Marco Pietropaoli)

Better understand the influence of intra-colony and environmental parameters on efficiency of formic acid treatments for V. destructor control. The aim is to improve treatment application and to provide baseline data for a “Varroa-weather??? prediction tool to determine the best moment for treatment.

Natural Varroa destructor mite fall on a hive bottom board

Download the list of participants of WG4
Link to the collaborative protocol (can edit only WG registered users)

WG 5. Assessment of new control methods (Leaders: Maja Smodis Skerl and Jorge Rivera Gomis) 

Study new methods and products to control varroa infestation and provide information about their performance.

Protocols for Varromed Trials WG5

Download Excel file to insert the data of the Varromed trial

WG 6. Communication (Leaders: Victoria Soroker and Flemming Vejsnaes)

Download Formic acid efficacy and Brood – Protocol 2017_Update 20170518

Download Dispenser trial – Protocols 2014-2015


For more information about this Task Force, please contact the chairs:

Marin Kovacic
University of Osijek

Fani Hatjina
Hellenic Agriculture Org. “DEMETER”

Victoria Soroker
Volcani ARO