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Author Topic: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?  (Read 2855 times)

Offline Lesgold

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Hi folks,

It?s a sad time for beekeepers in Australia with the outbreak of Varroa Mite. I think that we all knew that it would happen eventually but we hoped that we could hide from it forever. I think it is now time to be a little more proactive and start preparing for what will hit us. The spread has been gradual to this point in time but I fear this will change over the coming season. My question to you good people out there who deal with this beast is -?What can we do in preparation for what will happen sooner rather than later?? I realise that education is important and that the continual testing of hives must take place but there must be simple, concrete ideas that we could put into place to help us to make what is going to be a difficult transition. Any suggestions would be appreciated. My initial thinking was to give up beekeeping and start playing golf but that is not the right approach.  Another thought included down sizing so that I could give more attention to a small number of hives and learn how to deal with this pest. I really have no idea.

Online Terri Yaki

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2023, 08:09:49 am »
I don't even have any bees yet but I have been reading up for a few months now. I do not know what, if any, regulations are in place regarding its use but it looks like the folks here are dealing with it with some sort of hive treatments and keeping it manageable. Since I will have to deal with it too, I am interested in this discussion. I am sorry to hear that this invasion is coming your way.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2023, 09:50:05 am »
Eric Osterlund is in Sweden.  When he know Varroa were coming, he regressed to small cell and got bees with resistance as much as possible.  When the beekeepers in Africa knew Varroa were coming they agreed as an industry to not treat from the beginning.

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Offline Lesgold

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2023, 06:22:11 pm »
Thanks for the link Michael. That was an interesting read. I will be referring back to it regularly as there was just too much to digest in one go. The idea of being treatment free is appealing but will be full of challenges and many disappointments. It is obvious that this path will be a time consuming process with lots to learn. Heading towards small cell beekeeping appears to have merit.

Online The15thMember

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2023, 07:41:31 pm »
I think the biggest thing to prepare for is to lose colonies. :sad: No matter which way you or your country decides on the treatment front, at least at the beginning of this you are going to lose colonies to mites, since your bees are encountering a novel pest.  Hopefully as the keepers and bees adjust, those losses will go down.
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Online Terri Yaki

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2023, 07:49:40 pm »
It seems like Formic Pro is a common remedy here in America. Is approval for use necessary in Australia? Would it be beneficial to expose the bees to it in small doses to get them acclimated to it?

Offline Lesgold

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2023, 08:51:38 pm »
From what I have read, this will be the early heartbreak related to the outbreak. It?s not what we want to hear but it will be a reality. To my knowledge there is nothing available over here to treat for the mite as we haven?t had it before. I?m sure the people running the show will be on to it.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2023, 09:39:45 pm »
Who runs the show there Les?
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline Lesgold

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2023, 01:14:21 am »
The New South Wales Department Of Primary Industries is the mob who looked after the varroa response and provide guidance and advice to beekeepers in my state.

Offline max2

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2023, 01:25:44 am »
Eric Osterlund is in Sweden.  When he know Varroa were coming, he regressed to small cell and got bees with resistance as much as possible.  When the beekeepers in Africa knew Varroa were coming they agreed as an industry to not treat from the beginning.

https://www.elgon.es/

Thanks Michael.

the winter losses reported for "No treatment" are a real worry: https://www.elgon.es/varroa.html

About small size cells.
There seems to be a lot of disagreement if this has a positive effect.
See https://www.apidologie.org/articles/apido/full_html/2010/01/m08138/m08138.html
Indeed the study found an average of 5.1%miteload in small cell colonies vs 3.3%mite load in current standard -sized foundation

Online Ben Framed

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2023, 04:10:22 am »
Unfortunately we have been dealing with Varroa Destructor here in America for quite some time now. There is some VERY GOOD information here at Beemaster on the subject, which covers 'every aspect of Varroa' in one fashion or another, by top beekeepers. Great discussions along with quotes, links, pictures, and videos etc., which are invaluable shared knowledge in my opinion... Check out the archives for more..

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline NigelP

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2023, 09:14:23 am »
Yoiu need to know what your authorities will allow as legal treatment.
In the UK it is (technically)  illegal to treat for varroa with oxalic acid vaporization, although it is legal to vaporize with apibioxal which is oxalic acid with additives....the compnay have the sole right. At the end oif the day it will come down to what each individual beekeeper is happy using. I do a three year rotation using different miticide strips.Its expensive but very quick to insert them between frmaes and then remove 6-8 weeks later.  But not good if you have honey coming in 365....

Offline Michael Bush

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Offline Beelab

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2023, 03:48:57 am »
Currently, there are no approved varroa treatments in Australia.
DPI will issue us with miticide strips once we discover varroa in our hives. I think Formic pro.
We can?t buy ANY varroa treatment
I would like to use OA vapours initially if I do find varroa, but it?s illegal in Australia (apparently because it?s toxic to the beekeeper).

Much of Australia doesn?t get a brood break. And we have to deal with SHB.

Any colony that dies from varroa will immediately get a hive beetle slime out.

I?ll take on the challenge, but not looking forward to the future.
Not surprised many hives are up for sale at the moment.

Online Terri Yaki

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2023, 10:22:57 am »
What method will they use to verify your infestation? What will be their reaction time? Will all be quick enough that you will be able to save your hive(s)?

Online Ben Framed

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2023, 10:35:26 am »
"Beelab"
"I would like to use OA vapours initially if I do find varroa, but it?s illegal in Australia (apparently because it?s toxic to the beekeeper)."


OA should always be used with the 'utmost' care and precaution in my opinion. Unlike the HOney Bee with its hard exoskeleton and hard respiratory passages, we have soft tissue than can be damaged. Eye protection as well as a good respirator to protect our soft tissue respiratory system is 'highly' recommended.  (No matter which way the wind might be blowing).  :grin:

Phillip
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Offline paus

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2023, 11:53:15 am »
I plant Lemon Queen Sunflowers every year.  I just read in another website that sunflowers reduce the Varroa load in hives.  Anhyone else heard that??

Offline Lesgold

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2023, 07:54:25 pm »
My initial reaction is to reduce the number of hives so that I can focus on the issue when it arrives. I currently run about 30 hives all up in two yards. I might sell half of them and just maintain about 15 hives at home. Keeping an eye on what is happening is much easier when you are located within walking distance of the bees and don?t have to travel.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: What should we be doing to prepare for the inevitable varroa mite invasion?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2023, 06:53:03 am »
>My initial reaction is to reduce the number of hives

No need to worry about that.  The more you have to start with, the more likely you'll get some that CAN survive.
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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Offline beesnweeds

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The New South Wales Department Of Primary Industries is the mob who looked after the varroa response and provide guidance and advice to beekeepers in my state.
Hopefully not, but I think you and other beekeepers are going to be very disappointed with the advice from the National Management Group.  The reason why Randy Oliver (Scientific Beekeeping) got started and funded by beekeepers in the US was because the EPA here is so incompetent in handling the varroa issue.  Any treatments or advice the EPA approves of are expensive or ineffective.  Aussie beekeepers are going to have to make the decision on whether to wait for the government to tell them what to do or start getting the raw materials and information they need now.  I dont know how close you are to the orange management areas but I think you have time to prepare.  I can easily control varroa getting material from my local hardware store if I needed to.  Read up on Scientific Beekeeping and you'll be way ahead of other beekeepers.  A few things about oxalic acid, its been in use for decades with no signs of resistance.  OAD, OAV, and OAE when timed and used correctly are very effective.  2 grams of oa per hive body are needed for effective control when using OAV.  Api-Bioxal is 97.00% and most others are 99.6% pure for a fraction of the cost.  Dont get rid of any hives, you can learn a lot from both successful and crashing colonies. 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2023, 11:23:16 pm by beesnweeds »
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