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Bee Gym varroa grooming aid

A New Year resolution for bees – use the Gym!

Bee Gym helps bees control their number-one enemy, the varroa mite

BeeGymBeekeepers can help their bees control their greatest enemy, the varroa mite, by giving them a Bee Gym, supplied by honey bee health specialists Vita (Europe) Ltd.

The Bee Gym provides a low-cost, chemical-free and sustainable way of helping honeybees groom themselves to get rid of varroa mites.

The Bee Gym is a simple device that is placed inside any hive to encourage bees to groom varroa mites off their bodies. It has wires, flippers and scrapers on its small (11 cm by 11 cm) plastic frame that bees voluntarily rub their backs and abdomens against to groom themselves of varroa mites. The mites then fall through a normal varroa mesh floor onto a sticky insert or to the ground from where the varroa mites cannot jump back into the hive. The sticky insert should be regularly refreshed and the Gym should regularly be cleaned with washing soda.

Computer image of bees grooming using the Gym.

Computer image of bees grooming using the Gym

The Bee Gym is a patented device invented by Stuart Roweth and tested successfully by many beekeepers and beekeeping groups in the UK and further afield.

“When I first saw a bee with a varroa mite on it I was shocked by the mite’s size and immediately thought there must be an engineering solution to help the bees rid themselves of the parasite,” explained Stuart Roweth, beekeeper, lighting engineer and cameraman with several inventions in his portfolio.

Roweth started with a violin-style bow across the hive entrance and quickly noticed that the bees voluntarily used the wires to scrape varroa mites off their backs. “This was the moment I realised that honeybees could help themselves in the fight against Varroa,” he said. Appreciating that most mites cling to the underside of a bee’s abdomen led him through several versions until he came up with the Bee Gym for insertion inside the hive.

shutterstock_88063174 BeeGymDr Max Watkins, Technical Director of Vita (Europe) Ltd said “We have been very surprised and encouraged to see the mite fall directly below the Bee Gym in the hive. Clearly the bees are very keen to use the wires and scrapers on the Gym to rid themselves of their number one enemy. As one element of an Integrated Pest Management strategy, it is clearly a very useful, low-cost and chemical-free varroa-control device.”

Visit www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/products/bee-gym for further information and a list of current stockists.

Notes To Editors

 Tips for Use

  • Position the Bee Gym in a busy part of the colony, about 2 cms back from the hive entrance or on top of the brood frames in a shallow ‘eke’ or spacer.
  • Use a sticky floor (coat a white piece of paper or cardboard with Vaseline) to observe mite drop. These should be refreshed regularly.
    OR Use the Bee Gym with an open mesh floor so that the varroa mites drop out of jumping reach of the hive.
  • Leave a 2 cm space between the hive entrance and the Bee Gym so that pollen-laden foragers are able to avoid the framework.
  • Move the Bee Gym around the hive when convenient so that it stimulates more interest from the bees.
  • Leave the Bee Gym in place throughout the year as it improves grooming behaviour, helping bees to rid themselves of varroa mites.
  • Ensure there is sufficient gap (at least 15 mm), for the Bee Gym to fit in under the brood frames and for the bees to have enough room on top.

Clean the Bee Gym with washing soda periodically to remove excess propolis. Don’t worry if the bees propolise the frame a little – the grooming flippers and wires will not be affected.

About Vita (Europe) Ltd

Vita (Europe) Limited is a mite control and honeybee health specialist. It is the world’s largest dedicated supplier of honeybee health products to the honey and pollination industries. With a rigorous and ethical approach to research and development into honeybee health, Vita has no commercial interests in crop pesticides or crop breeding that may be harmful to honeybees.

Vita researches, develops, and manufactures a range of honeybee health products. Its headquarters are in the UK, it has offices in Italy, France and Russia, and partners across the globe. These products are marketed internationally through a network of 60 distributors in 50 countries.

Vita’s honeybee health product range includes anti-varroa acaricides – Apistan® (outside the USA/Canada) and Apiguard® –chalkbrood and wax moth controls, foulbrood diagnostic kits and health-promoting feeds. Vita also supplies Asian hornet trapsSmall Hive Beetle traps, the Bee Gym varroa grooming aid and swarm lures. Vita products have been registered by more than 60 veterinary authorities.

Vita promotes sustainable beekeeping through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Its treatments are designed to inhibit the build-up of resistance and wherever possible contain natural compounds and biological controls that are benign to all but the target pests.

Vita invests a very high proportion of its turnover in research and development. Research partners include universities such as Thessaloniki, Cardiff, Milan, Udine and Naples and institutes such as the FERA Laboratories in the UK and the USDA in America. Vita’s innovative research and development work has been recognised by and has received support from the UK Government.

As a result of its primary research of natural control agents, Vita is currently engaged in new projects exploring mite control in the agriculture, veterinary, and horticulture industries as well as public health and human allergen control.

See www.vita-europe.com for more information and a web app which can be accessed at www.healthybeeguide.com.

Follow Vita as “Vita (Europe) Ltd” on Facebook and Google+ and as @vitaeuropeltd on Twitter.

Media Enquiries
Stephen Fleming at Palam Communications
+44 (0) 1635 299116
s.fleming@palam.co.uk

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