The effectiveness of thermotherapy in the elimination of Varroa destructor

Vítězslav Bičík 1 , Jiří Vagera 2  and Hana Sádovská 3
  • 1 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
  • 2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia
  • 3 Department of Agroecosystems, Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czechia


Linhart‘s thermosolar hive was tested on its efficiency in suppressing the mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman 2000 in honey bee colonies. It has been experimentally verified that thermotherapy is highly effective in suppressing Varroa destructor. When the temperature of the brood chamber is allowed to reach and is maintained at 40 - 47 °C (104 - 116,6 °F) over a period of 2.5 hours, mortality of the mites in the sealed brood is virtually absolute, whereas bee brood withstands this temperature unharmed. Since thermotherapy is carried out with an open entrance, it is advisable to repeat the heating treatment cycle in order to achieve a highly effective elimination of the mites throughout the entire bee colony. The second treatment should be conducted after the remaining mites, which were carried by adult bees not present in the hive during the initial thermotherapy, transferred back to the brood. This occurs about 10 - 12 days after the first treatment.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Anderson D.L. & Trueman J.W.H. (2000): Varroa jacobsoni (Acari: Varroidae) is more than one species. - Experimental and Applied Acarology 24: 165-189.

  • Brødsgaard C.J. & Hansen H. (1994): An example of integrated biotechnical and soft chemical control of varroa in a Danish apiary. In: Matheson A. (ed.): New Perspectives on Varroa, pp. 101-105.

  • Erickson E.H., Page R.E. & Hanna A.A. (2000): Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Africanized Honey Bees and Bee Mites, Tucson.

  • Harbo J.R. (2000): Heating adult honey bees to remove Varroa jacobsoni. - Journal of Apicultural Research 39(3-4): 181-183.

  • Huang Z. (2001): Mite zapper - a new and effective method for Varroa mite control. - American Bee Journal 141(10): 730-732.

  • Le Conte Y., Arnold G. & Desenfant P. (1990): Influence of brood temperature and hygrometry variations on the development of the honey bee ectoparasite Varroa jacobsoni (Mesostigmata: Varroidae). - Environmental Entomology 19(6): 1780-1785.

  • Pätzold S. & Ritter W. (1989): Studies on the behaviour of the honey-bee mite Varroa jacobsoni in a temperature gradient. - Journal of Applied Entomology 107: 46-51.

  • Rosenkranz P. (1987): Temperature treatment of sealed worker brood as a method of controlling Varroatosis. - Apidologie 18(4): 385-388.

  • Rosenkranz P., Aumeier P. & Ziegelmann B. (2010): Biology and control of Varroa destructor. - Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 103: 96-119.

  • Rosenkranz P. & Engel s W. (1994): Infertility of Varroa jacobsoni females after invasion into Apis mellifera worker brood as a tolerance factor against varroatosis. - Apidologie 25(4): 402-411.

  • Tabor K.L. & Ambrose J.T. (2001): The use of heat treatment for control of the honey bee mite, Varroa destructor. - American Bee Journal 141(10): 733-736.

  • Zhou T., Ander son D. , Huang Z., Huang S., Yao J., Ken T. & Zhang Q. (2004): Identification of Varroa mites (Acari: Varroidae) infesting Apis cerana and Apis mellifera in China. - Apidologie 35: 645-654.


Journal + Issues