Viewcrest Farms is a family-owned farm located in Mission, BC. In 2022, they began a Bee BC project that focused on monitoring for Varrora Mites and Nosema Spores and supplementing honey bees with sugar syrup infused with a herbal tea.
Olena Zagoskina, co-owner of Viewcrest Farms, tested for Varrora Mites using the typical sugar shake test and took records of the colonies that were tested. Unfortunately, one colony perished in December because of a Varrora mite infestation even though her records always showed that the colony was healthy. After evaluating the incident, Olena learned that she should test the bees in late October to confirm that there is no infestation.
Beekeepers often feed bees sugar syrup as a supplement, but rather than only feeding their bees plain sugar syrup Viewcrest Farms added a herbal tea to the syrup. The herbal tea consisted of Wormwood, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Mint and Yarrow. While the tea turns out very bitter, the bees love it mixed with the sugar syrup.
In addition to supplementing the bees with the sugar syrup tea, Olena used the funding to purchase a microscope to learn how to look for Nosema Spores.