Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Varroa mites and the diseases they carry represent the single biggest challenge facing honey bees in most areas of the world. In Utah, the vast majority of hive deaths are due to Varroa mite infestations that have been poorly managed. Proper Varroa mite management should be the top priority for beekeepers large and small. It is imperative that beekeepers regularly monitor for this parasite and treat their colonies with an effective Varroacide when mite levels are too high.

UDAF recommends that all beekeepers read the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s “Tools for Varroa Management” guide.



Monitoring Varroa Mite Populations

The first step in effective Varroa mite management is regular measurement of mite loads within colonies. UDAF recommends that beekeepers sample their apiaries for mites at least once a month throughout the beekeeping season. A healthy mite level is no higher than 2% at any point in the beekeeping season; this translates to 3-4 mites per ½ cup of bees measured. If at any point in the season the mite levels are at or higher than 2%, treatment is highly recommended. If you need a guide on how best to measure your mites please consult this guide:

Varroa Mite Measurement Fact Sheet

As you can see in the graph below mite levels in Utah start to become unacceptably high in August, peak in October and then fall in November. The November drop in mite levels is likely due in large part to colonies with high mite levels dying off in late October/November. While beekeepers should always be vigilant, extra care needs to be taken August through November to ensure that colonies mite loads are not above 2%.




Treatment Options

When Varroa mite levels are too high treatment is necessary to prevent colony loss; organic options are available. If you are unsure what treatment is best, consult the decision tool below:

Treatment Decision Tool

Be sure to read and follow the label on any treatment that you use; it’s the law. Further, improper application may cause a treatment to be ineffective or cause harm to the bees.

Licensing Webpage

Registration Factsheet: Purpose of Beekeeper Registration

Creating a new registration:

On the Licensing Webpage, follow the instructions below.

  1. Click on the "New License Application" tab at the top of the screen (it is the 5th tab over).
  2. Click on the button labeled 1201 “As a Beekeeper.”
  3. Select your hive count.
  4. Enter your name, address and contact information.
  5. Click “Save Customer Information.”
  6. Enter the number of hives and add your apiary location(s).
  7. Click “Pay now” to checkout.

Online registration renewal:

On the Licensing Webpage, follow the instructions below. If you do not know your PIN, please contact UDAF licensing specialist Julie Jensen at 801-538-7122 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  1. Click on the "Renew my license" tab at the top of the screen (it is the 3rd tab over).
  2. Enter license number and PIN.*Steps 3-6 should be saved from the previous year.  If you have any updates, please make them before checkout.
  3. Select your hive count.
  4. Enter your name, address and contact information.
  5. Click “Save Customer Information.”
  6. Enter the number of hives and add your apiary location(s).
  7. Click “Pay now” to checkout.


In 1892, beekeepers successfully lobbied the Utah territorial legislature to pass the first bee inspection act. The legislation was needed to reduce the spread of deadly foulbrood diseases, which had become rampant. Today beekeepers deal with many new threats in addition to old ones like foulbrood. The Utah Bee Inspection Act is designed to help protect Utah’s bees and beekeepers. Below are links to the current version of the Utah Bee Inspection Act and the rules governing it. Beekeepers should check with their city and county to see what ordinances (if any) they have that relate to bees and beekeeping.


Utah Bee Inspection Act

Bee Inspection Act Rules

 2017 Honeybee Health Conference Videos

November 30, 2017
Weber State University
For more information call (801) 538-4912 or visit


Welcome - Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, LuAnn Adams

Summary of State Accomplishments

County Inspection Reports

Bumble bees in Utah Agriculture and Wild Lands

Promoting Honey and Native Bee Health

How to Diagnose American Foul Brood Disease

Measuring your Varroa Mite Load

Reporting Suspected Pesticide Poisonings

Proper Application of Miticides (We did not record this session at the conference. Instead we refer you to a series of videos on the Honey Bee Health Coalition website)


Prescription or VFD?

In most cases it will be easier for both the Veterinarian and the Beekeeper to use a prescription rather than a Veterinarian Feed Directive (VFD). Prescriptions will still require the veterinarian to visit the apiary in question and to collect samples themselves. A prescription will be easier in most instances because the veterinarian can issue the antibiotics directly to the beekeeper without having to go through a licensed feed mill. Please consult this guide to see which formulations can be written as a prescription and which must be written as a VFD.

Critical Veterinarian Feed Directive Information

The FDA Veterinary Feed Directive rule (VFD) is now in full effect. It is important for veterinarians to remember that they are liable for ensuring that VFDs are correct and complete. Veterinarians should also ensure that they are only writing VFDs as part of a valid Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) as defined by the state of Utah. Veterinarians should begin familiarizing themselves with the VFD by watching this video.

The full text of the VFD can be found here.

All veterinarians who are planning on writing VFDs should familiarize themselves with these documents:

Honeybee Biology & Beekeeping

It is recommended that veterinarians familiarize themselves with honeybee biology and beekeeping by watching this video series created by the University of Georgia. Veterinarians who want a more sophisticated understanding of honey bees should read “Honeybee Veterinary Medicine: Apis mellifera L.” by Nicolas Vidal-Naquet. Veterinarians can contact the Apiary Program with any questions or requests for assistance at:

(801) 538-4912
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Submitting Samples for Diagnostic Testing

Honey bee samples should be submitted to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Entomology Laboratory for diagnostic testing. Please fill out the form below and include it with the sample(s). Sampling instructions are included on the back of the form.

Honey Bee Diagnostic Testing Submission Form

Please mail samples to:

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Entomology Lab
350 N. Redwood Rd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84114