Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Sugar Dusting for Varroa Mite Control

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Prepared by Stephen Augustine and Paul Hosticka (WSBA) as a preliminary guide to get started in Western WA. May 21, 2002

The IPM Decision Making Process:


IF pest suppression treatments are needed...
WHEN are they needed?
WHERE are they needed?
WHAT mix of control tactics could be used?


Elements of IPM:

The IPM philosophy strongly emphasizes common sense

IPM in practice: IF pest suppression treatments are needed, WHEN are they needed, WHERE are they needed, WHAT mix of control tactics could be used.

Prevention is much better than attempting a cure - help the bees help themselves.

Implement regular monitoring/sampling/testing to be able to make sound decisions

Use soft treatments when appropriate

Use hard chemicals when only absolutely necessary as indicated by monitoring/sampling/testing

Practice rotational use of chemicals to avoid pests developing resistance

IPM uses a combination of strategies to manage pest populations. It is not always a biological control, although biological control is a useful tactic. IPM is not an organic program although it may integrate organic materials into the control tactic. Nor is IPM anti-pesticide but generally it attempts to reduce chemical dependency with a mix of control tactics. Control of mites in bee colonies needs to move from dependence on one or a few pesticide chemicals to a balanced IPM approach.


The success of an IPM program hinges on good monitoring. Early pest detection often allows for use of non-chemical controls. By monitoring, the exact location and size of the pest population can be determined. By analyzing data collected by monitoring, it should be possible to predict when a recurring pest might occur and then more efficiently manage that problem. Sampling/scouting is a key element in IPM. You should sample on a regular basis:


(a) to monitor pest population levels, (b) to determine when a pest is present, (c) the life stage(s) present, (d) how many are present (the population level).



Varroa Mite Thresholds

These observations are subjective to individual hives, climactic conditions, race of bees, etc. and are by no means meant to be a definitive guide to threshold levels. Notice that we give very conservative estimates for what might be reasonable threshold levels when deciding whether to treat or not.

Brood Comb
Supercedure Cells
Apiary Hives
Sugar Roll
Look for eggs
Upper Entrance
Burr Comb