Hive World now sells the Bee Gym for your bees:
What is the Bee Gym?
The Bee Gym is a chemical-free grooming aid to enable your bees to rid themselves of varroa. The plastic framework contains four different shaped activity centres for the athletic bee:
- 1. The Flipper – a protruding plastic blade;
- 2. Spikes – sticking up from the side-bars;
- 3. The Limbo – a fine thread stretched over a gap that bees crawl through. (This scrapes the mites off their backs)
- 4. Parallel Strings – two fine threads, upper and lower that the bee holds on to and rubs against to dislodge or injure mites.
How Do I Use the Bee Gym?
- You simply place the gym on top of the brood frames and use an ‘eke’ to provide a 16mm gap. (9mm for the gym and 7mm for the bees to move around on the gym). Alternatively, you can place the Bee Gym inside the hive entrance over the wire mesh floor. The main thing is to place it in a busy part of the hive. Smear vaseline over a plastic (corflute) sheet and place under the frames so when the mites drop, they will stick. This then enables you to monitor progress in your varroa war.
- Once installed, the only intervention necessary is periodic cleaning. Place the gym in a bucket of washing soda in order to harden the wax so that it can be removed easily. It is important to ensure the flippers are cleaned and this can be done by using a cocktail stick or toothpick after soaking in the soda. After you replace your gym in the hive you should notice an increase in mite fall over the next few days.
- The Bee Gym works all year round; even in winter the bees will huddle over it, grooming themselves. It is recommended to use a single gym in a Nuc Box and two gyms in a 10 frame Brood Box especially if you have a high varroa count. The best time to start using a Bee Gym is when your mite count is down eg. when you have got varroa under control for winter or in the spring.