10 easy steps to guide you through this basic technique
- sugar shake jar (jar with screen lid)
- icing sugar mix
- bucket or container filled with water
- bees from the brood box
- Add a tablespoon of icing sugar mix to the shake container. (Mix is better than straight icing sugar as it doesn’t clump as easily.) Here's how you can make your own container.
- Add half a cup of bees – about 300. Bees from the brood box are best. A paper funnel can help.
- Screw on the lid with the 3mm aperture wire screen.
- Roll the bees in the sugar mix for two minutes to get them completely coated.
- Leave for a couple of minutes, then repeat rolling for two minutes. Be careful not to spill sugar.
- Without removing the lid, shake the sugar out into the container of water.
- The sugar will dissolve. Mites will float. Bees remain in the shaker.
- If you use glasses for close vision, now is the time to wear them. A magnifying glass also helps. A white container makes it easier to detect any matter dislodged from the bees.
- If you notice anything unusual, take a sample on a paper towel and record the details. Then immediately contact the Emergency Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The bees in the shaker can be returned by gently pouring them out onto the top bars of the brood box under the excluder if present.
This five-and-half minute video from the DPI's Tocal College shows the whole process.
The DPI has a two-page Prime Fact on Sugar Shaking you can print for reference.