Put a cup of bees in a mason jar and use sugar or starting fluid to count.
1. Using a wide mouthed jar, such as a mason or pickle jar, collect a sample of bees (not the queen) and fill the jar about 1/3 full.
2. Using ether, such as that from a can of carburetor starter fluid, apply a small amount to the bees (approximately a tablespoon worth). The inside of jar should be slightly moist with all bees at the bottom.
3. Place the lid on the jar and roll bees for about 20-30 seconds.
4. If done quickly, the jar may be opened and some of the bees may escape alive, though this is doubtful and the ones that do survive will be ready to sting.
5. Examine the sides and bottom of the ether filled jar. If you count one or more mites, it is advised that you begin some sort of treatment. If you count around a dozen mites, it means you have a significant infestation, and should immediately begin treatment. If you find more mites than you can easily count, your hive is in serious trouble
6. Dump remaining dead bees and clean the jar before next use.