Maximising Honey Production, Despite Varroa Mite Challenges | Costs of Beekeeping with Varroa Mite

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Beekeepers globally are confronted with the economic implications of Varroa mites, challenging traditional hive management models. How can you maximise honey production, despite varroa mite challenges?

This blog and the video with Dr Mark Goodwin commissioned by Ecrotek to support Beekeepers, explores the economic dynamics of beekeeping, emphasising the need for a shift towards a model that prioritises maximum management with fewer hives, offering valuable insights for beekeepers worldwide, including those in Australia.

The Traditional Hive Model:

Historically, beekeeping models have leaned towards maintaining maximum hive numbers with minimal management efforts. This cost-effective approach allowed for profitability through hive proliferation.

However, the emergence of Varroa mites disrupts the economic efficiency of this model.

Varroa Mite's Global Challenge:

Varroa mites pose a universal threat to beekeeping economies, introducing a constant per-unit cost for hives.

This disrupts the traditional model's profitability as the cost of Varroa doesn't contribute to increased revenue. The need for a new paradigm in beekeeping economics is evident.

Shifting to Maximum Management:

To address Varroa-induced economic challenges, beekeepers should consider a model emphasising minimum hive numbers and maximum management. This approach centers on efficiently managing each hive to mitigate Varroa's impact and maximise the value derived from every colony.

Evaluating Honey Production Variation:

An effective strategy for implementing maximum management involves examining the variation in honey production among hives.

Benchmarking against high-performing colonies demonstrates the potential that effective management can unlock. Identifying and addressing management issues in underperforming colonies can lead to significant improvements.

Adopting New Beekeeping Techniques To Maximise Honey Production:

Beekeepers worldwide, including those in Australia, should prepare for Varroa by scrutinising their honey production models. Incremental increases in management efforts can yield positive results.

Techniques like double queening, proven effective in various regions, offer valuable insights for increasing honey production.

Customising Global Management Techniques:

Beekeepers globally are encouraged to customise their management techniques based on the unique needs of their colonies.

Recognising that performance differences result from varying management practices empowers beekeepers to implement changes that enhance overall hive health and productivity.

Test & Learn In Small Numbers:

While embracing new techniques is essential, a cautionary note is advised for beekeepers globally. Piloting changes on a scale that can be managed ensures risk mitigation and allows for refining techniques before widespread implementation.


Varroa mites are reshaping the economics of beekeeping worldwide.

The lessons learned from Varroa's impact on hive management in various regions, including Australia, underscore the need for a model that prioritises maximum management with fewer hives.

Adapting to these changing dynamics is crucial to ensuring the long-term success and profitability of beekeeping on a global scale.