Mite-A-Thon is Mighty and Back for 2021!

By Isaac Lisle, Database and Systems Manager, Pollinator Partnership

Mite-A-Thon Dates

Spring: May 1-16, 2021

Fall: August 14-29, 2021

Mite-A-Thon Homepage

Varroa destructor, commonly known as the varroa mite, and the viruses it vectors is the most significant driver of honey bee colony mortality today. Realizing the magnitude of this issue four years ago, Pollinator Partnership, in collaboration with leading organizations in the field of honey bee health, launched the Mite-A-Thon. This international effort occurs twice a year to help beekeepers gain knowledge of the level of mite infestation that their hives are carrying both at the beginning of the season and just before the overwintering season begins.

All beekeepers can participate, regardless of size, but most participation historically has been by beekeeping organizations and backyard beekeepers. This initiative has provided a platform for beekeepers’ associations across North America to engage newer members and re-familiarize long-time members with proper varroa monitoring techniques. It has also opened the conversation on treatment practices, initiating a dialogue between beekeepers on what’s working for them.

“Our push for getting involved really was the “boost” many of our members needed to do late season mite counts… I had numerous members admit they had become pretty slack with their monitoring, several admitted they had never done a count, also had a couple members tell me they thought they had been doing really well based on spring, early summer counts, and they had some of the worst counts [in August].”

- Greg Wolgemuth, Five County Beekeepers Association

Participants pick a day during the spring or fall two-week testing periods to monitor their mite levels using a standardized protocol (powdered sugar roll or alcohol wash); then, after testing, they enter their data into the MiteCheck survey online, or through the easy-to-use MiteCheck App on their phones. Monitoring even just a few hives can give most beekeepers a good idea of their overall infestation levels and inform treatment decisions.

The Mite-A-Thon is an accessible citizen science initiative for any beekeeper that is cost effective, safe for bees, and requires a low time commitment. Not only is it a good reminder about the importance of accurate infestation data and a training opportunity for beekeepers to stay in tune with the health of their hives; but, it is also a great way to positively impact honey bee health and combat varroa infestation across the continent.

For more information, visit