Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Mary Zgurzynski, Massachusetts Junior Academy of Science, Princeton, MA
 The purpose was to learn if sugar may serve as an effective treatment for Varroa destructor within an observation beehive. The varroa mite is an ectoparasite that feeds off the hemolymph of honeybees and is the leading cause of bee mortality as a contributor to colony collapse disorder. Traditional miticides include chemicals that are potentially toxic to bees and humans and Varroa destructor may develop resistance to these treatments. Confectioners sugar is a non-toxic substance that induces accelerated hygienic behavior in bees and the small granules obstruct the locomotion of mites.

 The procedure of this experiment was to build an indoor observation hive at the beginning of autumn with an existing varroa mite infestation and the bees were allowed to establish a colony while being fed sugar water. A screened sticky bottom board was created and phoretic mites that dropped from the hive were counted every three days in a pre-intervention trial as a control. An intervention trial was conducted with five sugar treatments of specific sugar amounts applied with a leaf blower apparatus into the hive. A post-intervention trial was run to calculate post-infestation levels which experienced a 79% mite population reduction. In the intervention phase there was a trend in which the mite counts would increase with the application of sugar then fall down until the next treatment. Confectioners sugar was found to be a partially effective form of mite control that is more sustainable and safer than chemical methods.