Bishop's Stortford old news by Susie Brickwood

Varroa arrives in Much Hadham - dateline October 1994

Our September meeting at the home of John Hickling and family in Much Hadham was certainly interesting! The weather was warmer and drier than had been forecast and we were able to have a good look at four of the seven or eight swarms that John had collected during the season. The queen was found and marked in two of the colonies and John hoped to be uniting the colonies to make two strong colonies for over-wintering.

A couple of days prior to our visit John had inserted Bayvarol strips into two of these colonies and these were duly taken out along with the inserts that had been placed on the hive floors. John went indoors to inspect the  inserts and we were all shattered to hear that he found what we felt sure was a varroa mite. When we looked through the microscope there was very little doubt about it as what we saw looked exactly like the photographs in the MAFF leaflets and indeed it was officially confirmed to be varroa later in the week. It was depressing to think that varroa had made it to Bishop's Stortford, but it was only through John's vigilance that it was discovered and we all now have no excuse not to attempt to monitor and control it.

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