The EasyCheck variety of the Beeshaker you don't have to turn around. You can buy it from bee equipement dealers.
EasyCheck – an alternative beeshaker
There is a commercial variety of a beeshaker that works a little differently and a little more effective. It's made by the French company Véto-pharma:
Almost the whole 100% of the mites on the bees will be collected at the bottom and be counted. You shake EasyCheck even gentler than the original beeshaker and even better, you swirl it instead of shake it up and down. The mites fall through the holes in the "mesh" as they drop from the bees and not only at the end of the procedure.
Alternative to a beeshaker – BeeScanning app
If you don't want to sacrifice 300 bees you can use the mobile app BeeScanning. You download the app to your Android phone or iPhone. I suggest you take pictures from 3 broodframes, as many pictures of each framside to you cover most of the bees on them. Follow the instructions on
Monitoring the varroa level is free, with no costs. The app can do more and these abilities cost a small sum.
Where to take the bees for measureing
Does it matter where you take the bees? Yes.
Randy Oliver in California has investigated the distribution of mites on the bees, so called phoretic mites.
In the broodnest the mite level can vary quite a bit on different brood combs. Very far away from the broodnest the varroa level is lower than average. If you choose to take a sample from brood combs, make it from a couple of them so the resulting measure will be kind of an average.
Close to the brood but not a brood comb is often the most representative place for the average varroa level in a bee colony. No sample will show exactly the average. What's important is to get a good enough correct value to get an enough good figure of the varroa level to act upon.
When taking a sample for the beeshaker the quickest and easiest is to shake the center comb(s) in the first super above the queen excluder. Or the second comb from the first brood comb in the top brood box. (The very outer one may not have enough bees.) If you take the sample from there it's least likely you will include the queen. That's what you don't want to do.
Resistance is growing
3% varroa level as a threshold for treating with thymol is working well. When bees are not very resistant a full treatment per season will give a total amount of thymol that will be greater than when resistance is higher.
A spring treatment often means that one pad with 5 grams of thymol is used. It is replaced with a second pad 10 days later, or 7 days later. If seven days interval is used it will be a third thymol pad after 7 + 7 days. Only one pad at a time is used in spring to minimize bad effect on brood rearing.
Closing in towards the end (if not earlier) of the season with still brood in the hive, it will be time to check the varroa level again. If the varroa level tells you so it will be a treatment of 2 thymol pads replaced after 10 days (if it's hot with 7 days or even 5 days interval with also smaller pads in size).
The total amount of thymol can vary between 30-40 grams for colonies not very resistant.
When colonies are treated 30-40 grams a year the microbiome may be so much affected that some resistance factors may be overshadowed by virus effects. But if the threshold of 3% is followed no colonies will be big reinvasion sources. As soon as some colonies show better mite hunter traits and other resistance traits, of course you replace queens in colonies which you have needed to use the most amount of thymol on. Different types of resistance traits are needed for long time sustainability.
When resistance is growing the beeshaker will be even more important to find out when to decrease tretaments and amounts of thymol.
Soon enough a full seasonable dose will be 20 grams instead of 30-40 grams (still for a few).
When you reach the situation where a considerable number of hives only need one 5 gram-pad in spring, and they after that get a new queen and don't need any treatment in late summer you have passed a good part of the road to resistance.
Now the hard board outside the entrance is more important. It may well be that spring varroa level is very low in some colonies, after treatment has been low or nothing the previous year. You may end up at the later part of the season that you don't even see any odd DWV-bees outside some of these colonies. It may be so that the microbiome has regained strength, if you have treated only 5 grams or so in the season(s) previous to the present one. So even if the varroa level should have passed 3% somewhat and for a short time due to some reinvasion, the colony may handle that well.
At some point, some year, you may start leaving the late summer monitoring and for some colonies just watch the hard board. Especially if they are placed not so close to other bees. The coming spring will tell you if you should have waited another year or two.