The ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman is a major pest of the honey bee Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and its control is one of the most important challenges that beekeepers have to face. In this study, we investigated the use of the predatory mite Stratiolaelaps scimitus (Womersley) for the biological control of varroa mites in Eastern Canada, as part of an integrated pest management strategy. Our study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of S. scimitus in controlling varroa populations in early and late fall in comparison with untreated colonies and two currently used organic treatments: Thymovar and oxalic acid. Performing weekly mite drop monitoring, we first compared the effectiveness of two introduction rates of S. scimitus (≈6,250 or 12,500 mites/colony) during a fall treatment (September) and, as we detected no differences of effectiveness between these two treatment types, we used the dosage currently recommended by biocontrol suppliers (≈6,250 mites) in a complementary treatment test (November). Results showed that S. scimitus did not succeed in controlling varroa populations in honey bee colonies when introduced either in early or in late fall according to current suppliers' recommended rates and application method. On the other hand, our results demonstrated that Thymovar and oxalic acid remain effective options for controlling varroa mite populations during fall in Quebec, Canada.
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Vol. 112 • No. 2