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Author Topic: Varroa checks  (Read 2935 times)

Offline Bobbee

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Varroa checks
« on: October 29, 2020, 12:47:18 pm »
I just lost my first two colonies it is looking like to varroa. Moisture may have played a part however varroa mites I now believe were the main cause. Varroa and my not keeping their numbers down.I plan on being much more aggressive with checking and treatment next year even if I have to walk the 10 miles to the hives.
At the moment I have a couple of  questions.
 How soon should I check for mites after installing a 5 frame nuc?
Is it a bad idea to just assume mites and treat with OA ?I realize if I don't do a mite wash  I wont know if one colony has better varroa hygiene than the other. At this point I do not care.
 I just want to keep them alive and healthy.

Online The15thMember

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 01:16:40 pm »
I lost one of my colonies to varroa my first year, and it taught me a lot about managing the mites.  Like most things in beekeeping, a lot of this comes down to personal preference and your bees in your environment.  I usually only treat when I see high numbers, but I know plenty of people who treat on a schedule.  Neither is wrong.  I personally feel it's a good idea to check mite levels periodically, even if you are planning on treating regardless, just so you can gain a feel for what your mite levels are like at different times of the year, and to make sure your treatment is working sufficiently.  I usually do sugar rolls (I prefer that method to the alcohol wash) at the beginning of the spring season, before my major honey flow, after my major honey flow/before any fall treatments, and after any fall treatments, and of course any time I think a colony has a high mite load (seeing lots of pulled pupae, bees that are shiny or with messed up wings, colony not building up well, etc.).  If it were me, I'd let the nuc get good and settled in, make sure you have an established laying queen, and then check for mites to know your baseline.  Whatever you do after that, I think, is up to you, as long as you do something.  Good luck next season, and don't be too hard on yourself about first year mistakes, we all make 'em.  :happy:       
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 07:47:45 am »
Fatima,
Welcome to Beemaster.
Glad to have you here on BeeMaster. Your English is really good. Feel free to ask any questions and chip in with your thoughts and experiences.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 03:24:55 pm »
Bobbee, I treat on a schedule, March and late November for varroa mites but randomly hit the hives with a OAV treatment during the summer for a mite fall count. If I get more than 50 after 24 hours I'll continue the treatments for another 4 times just as a suppression move till the main treatment period in the fall. Looking at my records from last year I'm wondering if a third full treatment should be scheduled in late June or July during the summer buildup. Here in Florida we aren't getting the cold spell in the winter any more that caused a brood break with a reduction of mites come spring. I was a bit lazy on mite control last year, didn't do a full treatment in the spring and my hives took a hit because of it. One other thing that was really driven home to me last year was that any nuc either store bought or home made needs a full course of treatments, if not it turns into a mite bomb in the bee yard. I spent a lot of time splitting my hives but didn't follow up with any treatments and paid the price with lost hives and a small hive beetle invasion.   

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2021, 08:18:01 am »
Quote
Looking at my records from last year I'm wondering if a third full treatment should be scheduled in late June or July during the summer buildup. Here in Florida we aren't getting the cold spell in the winter any more that caused a brood break with a reduction of mites come spring.
Beeboy, I have been trying to state this point  for quite a while. Im glad to hear someone else say it. For a couple of years I Made brood breaks by culling queens. Now I am on a treatment schedule. As for the nucs I agree with that also. Everyone I make gets treated, or as stated "mite bombs".

Online rast

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2021, 08:42:42 am »
I am currently treating with OAV.
Fools argue; wise men discuss.
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2021, 01:41:49 pm »
First the disclaimer what I am saying is based on research I have done, the trials and tribulations I have fought through and basically what I found works for me. And I am talking Fl. I cant speak for anywhere else.

I got out of beekeeping for a while partly due to varroa. I was treatment free ( for my own reasons) and basically didn?t understand the mite. When OA came out I looked at it like a silver bullet. I used it for 2 years with varying effects, I thought. Year 3 showed me I needed to change course. I still use it but not as a standalone treatment. Here is why. First you have to look at how many capped brood are in the hive. If you are running double deeps and 50% percent of your frames are capped brood which should start in Feb/Mar here in fl through Sept./Oct. dependent on feed/pollen where your bees are at. After that it drops but never really enough anymore.

Anyway follow with me. The reason the brood break is so vital to what your trying to accomplish.

Treatment day 1 then wait till day 7 retreat. The problem is Varroa exiting their capped cells between days 2 and 6. This means you have 5 days of Varroa leaving their cells and more than likely will find another cell about to be capped. So those Varroa can hide across multiple applications of OA done every seven days in capped cells and you don?t even know they are there. Im not saying OA won?t have a positive effect on getting your mite load under control because you just killed 10-20 percent of the mites in your hive, but you only killed the ones in the phoretic stage. If you had a brood break meaning little to no capped brood, and all mites in phoretic stage the you would get 90% with the bees taking care of the rest do 1- 2 follow up treatments (dependant on mite drop) and be done. If you miss one treatment with capped brood, you can be back to almost square 1. Miss 2 well do the math. It can also be over used and bad for your bees. Here is good reading from Penn State.

https://extension.psu.edu/methods-to-control-varroa-mites-an-integrated-pest-management-approach

With all that being said I always do post treatment spot checks. Never do pre-checks anymore. I just assume they are there cause they are and stick with the treatment schedule I found works for me.

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 08:59:20 am »
That is why I use a 3 day treatment cycle, 7 times. The OA "dust" supposedly remains viable for 3 days on the comb. No different than leaving Tactic or Amitraz in there for a month and a half. I also use about 2 grams per deep box.
 What I do from doing the math like Bill did, not what I am telling you to do.
   
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2021, 09:23:57 am »
please elaborate on the OA dust. I am always open to trying a new strategy.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2021, 09:51:52 am »
Quote
That is why I use a 3 day treatment cycle, 7 times.

I am of the understanding a three day treatment cycle is good for for optimum results as well, with OAV.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2021, 10:36:50 am by Ben Framed »
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Online rast

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2021, 02:25:55 pm »
Bill, the "dust" is my description of the OA particulate that the bees fan around in their hive when we treat with OAV. It is actually a solid and not a liquid vapor that settles on them and the comb.
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2021, 02:55:16 pm »
Thanks for that. I thought we were going somewhere else.

Also how long have you been on this regiment. and how many time a year are you having to treat? If you dont mind.


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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2021, 09:24:50 pm »
Since spring of 20. I do the 3 x7 in Jan and July/August, same as I used to do the 5 x 5.  Count them in Sept. I also hit them monthly in the winter. I am currently down to ten hives (9 by this next weekend) and took me 45 min before church to treat this morning.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2021, 12:48:13 am »
... Treatment day 1 then wait till day 7 retreat. The problem is Varroa exiting their capped cells between days 2 and 6....

I also do 3-day treatment cycles with OAV, for exactly the reason you state. Only, I usually try to treat 9 times (27 day total).

I did mite counts and sticky board drop counts on every hive during treatment - for 2 years. I collected all the data. Based on that data, I now: treat in August (once yearly) & don't count mites. This is what has worked for me, in my area. My bees don't get a brood break due to winter, but they do have a dearth from August till November.

My average mite drop counts would look like this (counted on the 3rd day after each treatment, just prior to the next treatment):
900
900
900
450
300
300
280
320
18

As you can see, the last 2 or 3 treatments seemed to catch a goodly qty of mites, before the drop counts really fell.

I know they say that OAV "stays effective" for 3 days, but my notes showed very little increase in mite drops after about 30 hours post-treatment. Suggesting to me that efficacy drops off quickly.

My data definitely has proven - to me - that a 7-day OAV treatment cycle would not work. Fwiw.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2021, 01:03:21 am »
... Treatment day 1 then wait till day 7 retreat. The problem is Varroa exiting their capped cells between days 2 and 6....

I also do 3-day treatment cycles with OAV, for exactly the reason you state. Only, I usually try to treat 9 times (27 day total).

I did mite counts and sticky board drop counts on every hive during treatment - for 2 years. I collected all the data. Based on that data, I now: treat in August (once yearly) & don't count mites. This is what has worked for me, in my area. My bees don't get a brood break due to winter, but they do have a dearth from August till November.

My average mite drop counts would look like this (counted on the 3rd day after each treatment, just prior to the next treatment):
900
900
900
450
300
300
280
320
18

As you can see, the last 2 or 3 treatments seemed to catch a goodly qty of mites, before the drop counts really fell.

I know they say that OAV "stays effective" for 3 days, but my notes showed very little increase in mite drops after about 30 hours post-treatment. Suggesting to me that efficacy drops off quickly.

My data definitely has proven - to me - that a 7-day OAV treatment cycle would not work. Fwiw.

Thanks for sharing this Cool...  Good stuff!!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 08:33:10 am by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2021, 08:33:37 am »
... Treatment day 1 then wait till day 7 retreat. The problem is Varroa exiting their capped cells between days 2 and 6....

I also do 3-day treatment cycles with OAV, for exactly the reason you state. Only, I usually try to treat 9 times (27 day total).

I did mite counts and sticky board drop counts on every hive during treatment - for 2 years. I collected all the data. Based on that data, I now: treat in August (once yearly) & don't count mites. This is what has worked for me, in my area. My bees don't get a brood break due to winter, but they do have a dearth from August till November.

My average mite drop counts would look like this (counted on the 3rd day after each treatment, just prior to the next treatment):
900
900
900
450
300
300
280
320
18

As you can see, the last 2 or 3 treatments seemed to catch a goodly qty of mites, before the drop counts really fell.

I know they say that OAV "stays effective" for 3 days, but my notes showed very little increase in mite drops after about 30 hours post-treatment. Suggesting to me that efficacy drops off quickly.

My data definitely has proven - to me - that a 7-day OAV treatment cycle would not work. Fwiw.

Thanks for sharing this Cool...  Good stuff!!


Adding you show a total of 9 treatments, Am I understanding this correctly? Alan your research is greatly appreciated, especially coming from a fellow member. Thanks for your attention to detail. The last drops say it all. Job well done!
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2021, 09:19:31 am »
Yes, thank you,everyone. This is greatly appreciated. with this info in my toolbox I will change course in a yard close to the house and see how it goes.

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2021, 12:36:21 pm »
 Thanks, I had considered 9 days, now will reconsider. Did you state the appx. gram amount used any where?
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Offline Bill Murray

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2021, 05:45:51 pm »
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 06:31:04 pm by Bill Murray »

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Varroa checks
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2021, 08:50:20 pm »
Coolbees, When you were performing your counts did you notice any lighter colored mites dropping during the last few treatments? When I treated a heavily infested hive I saw a lot of light colored mites about the color of coffee with milk in it after about five treatments three days apart. From what I was able to find out about the Varroa life cycle the lighter color was an indication that the mites were younger and fresh out of the brood cells.