Powdered Sugar Instruction

1+ cup of powdered sugar per hive body 1+ cup powdered sugar  per hive body.

Sift powdered sugar with sifter or screen

Make sure all frames are covered.

Bees will clean up sugar

Not Sifted!! Lumpy right out of the package.  Don't waste your time if you are not going to sift.

Reach under screen to remove observation board

Scrape board into bucket of water after 20 minutes to count mites.  Sugar dissolves and mites float to the top.

Use about a 1/2 pound (2cups) of powdered sugar per hive.

Video of Powdered Sugar

Remove honey supers and start with the top brood box.

You want to make sure you use enough powdered sugar.  You want to see a pile of it on the plastic observation tray.

 Sift or use a Dusting Screen.  This procedure is NOT EFFECTIVE unless the Power Sugar is sifted.  Varroa have sticky pads on their feet and you want to cover those pads so the mites cannot attach themselves to the bees.

 Sift 1+ cups of sugar on the top brood box.  Brush the powered sugar between the frames.

 Remove the top box and repeat on the next brood box use 1 cup of powdered sugar and then repeat again if you have another brood box.

 If you are not using this method to check your mite loads, you can leave your boards in for a day.  Much longer and the sugar could turn into icing and no longer traps the mites.

 Dispose of the mites far away from your hives.  Powered Sugar does not kill mites.  Mites really can’t groom themselves to remove the sugar, but the sugar can be rinsed off and the mites are back in action.


 Immediately after dusting the hive, put the hive back together and wait 20 minutes.  Randy Oliver helped me make a chart to correlate a Sugar Roll (the standard) to a Sugar Dusting (dusting the hole hive). 

  I collected data by first doing a Sugar Roll on a hive, then dusting the hive. And counting frames of bees.  With Randy’s chart, we were able to see a correlation between the two and I was able to come the below chart.

In our neck of the woods, 6 mites in a sugar roll is our threshold and if we see 6 or more, we know we need to take action.

 Our action on an infested hive (6 or more), we will dust the entire hive twice a week for 3 weeks to try and capture as many mites as possible.  Mites will continue to hatch with the bees and 3 weeks is their cycle.

 If we see the equivalent of 3 mites, we will Dust once a week for 3 weeks to lower the load. 

 2 mites or under, we might dust one more time to see of the load is reduced or the same.  If the load increases, we will continue to dust.

 We do 3-part treatments:

In spring when you see hatching brood.

When we pull off our main blackberry honey in mid-July (we have a 3-week dearth before our thistle flow).

And when we pull off our thistle honey in mid-September.

If you cannot get a mid-July dusting, the latest time before critical mite build-up is August 15th. At that point, your hive is producing its winter bees, the queen has slowed down and drone brood has ceased. That means multiple mites in each cell containing working larvae. This is the scenario that produces bees with deformed wings and seriously impacts your hive. 

3 Mites
22-30 Mites
4 Mites16-48 Mites
5 Mites43-95 Mites
8 Mites100 Mites
12 Mites114-141 Mites
13 Mites151 Mites

•Over 50 mites, Dust twice a week for 3 weeks 

 •Between 35 & 50 mites, Dust once a week for 3 weeks

 •Under 35 mites.  I’ll dust once the following week and if number is consistent, I usually will not dust again for another month.