The book scorpion sucks parasites
The book scorpion (Chelifer Cancroides) fights parasites of bees in beehives and thus proves to be beneficial for honey bees and beekeepers. The bees let him do it. Since some years I do research and try to cultivate book scorpions in bee hives.
The permanent settlement of the sensitive animals in hives has been successful for me. I can also prove by IR photos that they approach bees and feel them. The proof of picking a Varroa mite is unfortunately not yet successful. An effectiveness in the fight against Varroa mites by means of book scorpions is definitely not proven. But no matter what, they are also a welcome guest in the beehive!
Are book scorpions effective in the fight against the Varroa mites?
The effectiveness of the book scorpions in fighting the Varroa mite has not been proven. A sale of book scorpions and the assertion that they would significantly decimate the Varroa is wrong and does not serve the cause. However, there are some indications that it may be effective:
- Torben Schiffer was able to film the consumption of varroa mites under laboratory conditions years ago. I myself have also recorded this under the microscope.
- A study from New Zealand (see downloads) proves the consumption of Varroa mites in the beehive by DNA analysis of the book scorpions even in conventional magazine hives. But of course fallen mites could have been eaten, which were no longer available for the reproduction cycle anyway.
- My infrared video recordings show that the book scorpions come closer to bees in a targeted and fearless manner, touch them carefully and reach into their fur. The bees allow it.
Building bee hives for the integration of book scorpions
I have already devised and built quite a few different hives for the integration of book scorpions. Some of them are still in operation. However, I still don’t want to recommend any special conversion measures. I still advise all interested beekeepers to be patient. There are easier to implement changes to promote the health of honey bees. For example with the admission of the natural selection and with the equipment of the hives with a reasonable thermal insulation (see also hive building).
Finding places and cultivation of book scorpions
The best place for breeding book scorpions is surely the environment of naturally kept animals troubled by small parasites. Beehives are the perfect place (if the bees are kept untreated) with appropriate conversions/additions of the beehive. Chicken stalls, hay floors and grain storehouses close to animal stables also offer excellent conditions. Whoever wants to breed them far away from these places in separate boxes must reproduce the same conditions.
Book scorpions can be found at the places mentioned above. Here they can be found under objects and wood lying on the floor. The sensitive animals should be taken up with a fine brush. They are easy to transport in preserving jars with rubber seals.
Do book scorpions consume the little hive beetle?
Sooner or later the small hive beetle will probably also be native to us. It is very likely that the book scorpion also feeds on its larvae. These are much easier to reach than the Varroa mites sitting on the bees.
On the menu of the book scorpions there are also other prey animals: