Varroa management in crucial in winter months. Doing an actual mite check/count will likely surprise you. Don’t let a lack of planning sneak up on you. The winter isn’t over yet, so make sure to stay on top of your colonies’ health. Remember that Varroa mites are a vector, which means they spread disease and weaken the bees’ immune systems. Don’t kid yourself by thinking you will be able to see the mites or deformed wings. If the mite population is such that they are easily visible your problem is already severe.
There are many mite treatments to choose from, and some of them are organic if you prefer those methods. Treating for mites several times per year is recommended, as is utilizing a different treatment material each time. There are a couple newer treatments on the market that have been granted a temporary Section 18. This means they are not fully registered yet, but are in a trial period. The Ag Department will provide you with a letter allowing you to purchase them if you have the appropriate license. To obtain the license you will need to take a test. The club’s library now contains two study manuals for this purpose.
Another great resource for mite treatment instructions and tips is Randy Oliver’s site scientificbeekeeping.org. Make yourself a mite shaker!