Ventilated Bottom Boards for Varroa Mite Control in Australia

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In the intricate battle against Varroa mites, beekeepers are consistently exploring novel and non-intrusive methods to safeguard their colonies. Dr. Mark Goodwin delves into the intricacies of the ventilated bottom board, shedding light on its mechanics and the potential impact it could have for beekeepers, including those in Australia who are grappling with recent Varroa detections.

The Ventilated Bottom Board Advantage in Controlling Varroa Mite:

The standard bee hive bottom board, a prevalent component in beehives, undergoes a transformative upgrade with the introduction of a ventilated design. Replacing a section of the solid surface with a mesh structure, this simple modification yields significant benefits in the ongoing fight against Varroa mites.

An image of a standard, solid bottom board:


An image of a ventilated bottom board including a varroa monitoring tray:

An image of a Hive Doctor smart bottom boardwith ventilation and optional pest checking trays for varroa and other pests/diseases:

How it Works:

Varroa mites, lacking vision, rely on vibrations to locate bees. When mites fall or are groomed off a bee, they often land on the hive floor. On a traditional solid floorboard, they can swiftly reattach to passing bees.

The brilliance of the ventilated bottom board lies in its ability to thwart this process. Mites that fall through the mesh are unable to climb back onto the bees, dropping to the ground below.

Estimates suggest that this method can account for approximately 10% of Varroa control.

While not a standalone solution, incorporating ventilated bottom boards into an integrated Varroa management strategy, alongside breeding and chemical varroa mite treatments, can tip the scales in beekeepers' favour.


Considerations for Climate:

Dr Mark Goodwin does caution against using the ventilated bottom board in colder regions, like the United Kingdom, as the constant exposure to the elements may make it difficult for bees to regulate the hive's temperature. However, for warmer climates like Australia, this is unlikely to pose an issue. 


Implications for Australian Beekeepers:

As Australia grapples with recent Varroa detections, theventilated bottom board emerges as a promising addition to the arsenal of Varroa control methods.

Australian beekeepers can explore the benefits of this non-intrusive tool, incorporating it into their Varroa management strategies. In a landscape where vigilance is key, theventilated bottom board stands as a testament to the ingenious solutions that empower beekeepers worldwide in the ongoing fight against Varroa mites and the viruses they bring.