Tropilaelaps - Guidance
Tropilalaps is spread by the importation of bees. Tropilaelaps mites are mobile and can readily move between bees and within the hive. However, to move between colonies they depend upon adult bees for transport through the natural processes of drifting, robbing, and swarming. Mites can spread slowly over long distances in this way. They are also spread within apiaries through distribution of infested combs and bees through beekeeping management. However, movement of infested colonies of Apis mellifera to new areas by the beekeeper is the principal and most rapid means of spread.
Prevention and minimising the risk
Beekeepers should make themselves aware of the main features of Tropilaelaps and the possible risks, and make surveillance and monitoring for the mites a routine part of their beekeeping programme.
When importing queens or bees make sure that you do so only from countries permitted under current legislation and from reputable producers. Do not be tempted to import bees illegally - the risks are just not worth it.
What to do in the first instance?
If you have any queries beekeepers should contact their local Bee Inspector.
The fundamental aim of mite control is to keep the population at all times below the economic injury level where harm is likely. A combination of both veterinary medicines (acaricides or varroacides) and biotechnical methods can be used to control Tropilaelaps.
'Acaricides' are medicines that kill mites and re applied either in the feed, directly on adult bees, as fumigants, contact strips or by evaporation. Many of the same acaricides used for varroa are also likely to be effective against Tropilaelaps. Although currently there are no products specifically approved for the control of Tropilaelaps in the UK, in the event of the mite being discovered, contingency plans would be implemented and emergency approvals sought from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to use varroacides against Tropilaelaps.
'Biotechnical Methods' use bee husbandry to reduce the mite population through physical means alone. Many of the effective methods involve trapping the mites in combs of brood, which are then removed and destroyed.