View Full Version : Spring MEDICATION
02-06-2003, 11:18 AM
Need some help with a springtime medication regine.
WHEN and HOW do I treat.
02-07-2003, 05:28 AM
There are lots of opinions, I'm afraid. Let's try the more conventional view first:
The more conventional view is that you treat with chemicals and you do it before you have a problem.
This would mean that anytime between when it's warm enough for the bees to fly and when the nectar is flowing enough to require supers, you could medicate. Because the medication will be in the brood chamber and not in the honey you will later remove.
You can feed fumidal for Nosema. Terramyacin can be applied for American Foulbrood either by feeding in syrup or by getting the dusting mixture that has powdered sugar mixed in with it. Apistan for Varroa mites can be used in the spring until you put on the supers, but you should put it in early. It needs to be on for the specified time, I believe, off the top of my head that it's six weeks. But you need one strip for every 5 frames of bees. Crisco patties of powdered sugar and Crisco and usually some kind of essential oil are often feed at this time for the tracheal mites, but I believe menthol is actually the recommended treatment.
The other end of the spectrum is to try not to use chemicals. The view is that Nosema and AFB and EFB are stress diseases and if we can eliminate the stress we can avoid the problem. The number one cause of stress in bees these days is Varroa. Another is tracheal mites. I for one, and others, find the concept of introducing very active chemicals into the fragile environment of a beehive offensive. I am trying to find ways that will work that are more harmonious with the bees and not so poisonous.
This board is full of concepts on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Varroa as well as some stand-alone treatments.
Many people are using nothing but these and succeeding. Some have used nothing but these and had failures. But then some people are using Apistan and having failures because of resistance by the mites.
Ones I intend to experiment with this year is fogging Food Grade Mineral Oil (FGMO) and 4.9mm Small Cell Bees.
Other IPM systems are a Screened Bottom Board (SSB) and feeding essential oils.
Here is what I have done that succeded. When I have experimented with not doing some of this I have not succeeded in avoiding the mites. I have not yet tried the FGMO fogging and I have not yet gotten the bees regressed to 4.9mm.
If you're just looking for success I can tell you what I have done that always worked for me. When I have done all of these things I have always had no mite problems.
In the spring I feed wintergreen sugar syrup. (Many recipes are around and I can find one if you're interested). I feed some Crisco wintergreen patties in the spring. Whenever I have the brood chamber open I paint some FGMO on the top bars of the brood chamber. In the fall I use Apistan per directions.
So far this has not failed me. I don't use terramyacin, but I have some on hand. I don't use the fumidal but I have some on hand.
If I were you, I would spend this year, among other things, learning to monitor mite infestation. No matter what you use for treatment, it can fail. If you keep track of the mite population you have some chance of making adjustments in your treatment to find something that works, but if you don't monitor them you will think things are fine and suddenly you will have no more bees.
Has a method that's not too hard on the bees and not too hard to do.
Another is use drone comb in the brood nest and pull it every time it's capped and freeze the drone brood and the mites that are attracted to them. You can pull some of these out to see how many mites are in the brood and this also will kill a lot of Varroa.
Sorry for the long-winded answer, but this is a complicated issue for all beekeepers and you need to make up your own mind on what you want to do.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited February 07, 2003).]
02-07-2003, 06:46 AM
First, let me say very emphatically, NEVER apologize for giving ANY answer. Your knowledge, time and effort is much appreciated. Please...just keep it coming!
Now, beekeeping in general, in some ways, seems complicated, but we are trying to learn. Being very uninformed, im not sure which way to go, but given a choice, I aways prefer non-chemical/natural solutions. I am very concerned about the impact of all the chemicals I read about being used in MY hive.
You suggest "learning to monitor mite infestation". I would like to do just that. Im starting this spring w/ a package in a new hive, so maybe my problems will be easy to manage. I know that medication is not usually required the first year, but my "learning curve" is not always UP.
When do I feed wintergreen/sugar syrup and patties? Yes, I need some recipes.
02-07-2003, 07:11 AM
...["learning to monitor mite infestation". I would like to do just that. Im starting this spring w/ a package in a new hive, so maybe my problems will be easy to manage. I know that medication is not usually required the first year, but my "learning curve" is not always UP.]
I must say that I was under a similar impression that these problems couldn't affect me during my first year. Boy was I wrong! In my first year I had a significant Varroa infestation plus Small Hive Beetles!! Michael posted an excellent reply to your question and I concur with all his suggestions. The most valuable comment was "learning to monitor mite infestation". Read as much material as you can about Varroa pest management and treatment options. Be prepared, because bad things can happen even in your first year.
02-07-2003, 10:14 AM
>Dave: You suggest "learning to monitor mite infestation". I would like to do just that. Im starting this spring w/ a package in a new hive, so maybe my problems will be easy to manage. I know that medication is not usually required the first year, but my "learning curve" is not always UP.
>AstroBee: I must say that I was under a similar impression that these problems couldn't affect me during my first year. Boy was I wrong! In my first year I had a significant Varroa infestation plus Small Hive Beetles!! Michael posted an excellent reply to your question and I concur with all his suggestions. The most valuable comment was "learning to monitor mite infestation". Read as much material as you can about Varroa pest management and treatment options. Be prepared, because bad things can happen even in your first year.
I agree with AstroBee. You can loose all your bees the first year and if you don't treat at all for mites, I would predict that you probably would lose 50% of your hives. If you don't treat the second year I'd predict youd loose all the remaining ones.
>When do I feed wintergreen/sugar syrup and patties? Yes, I need some recipes.
Drone comb methods: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jtemp/dronemethod.html
If you don't want to do the more complicated manipulations recommended here, you could still add a frame of drone to the hive and pull it when it's capped (two weeks after you put it in)
Here is some info on essential oils: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/varroa/
Here some general info: http://www.beeworks.com/EssentialOils.htm
My warning on essential oils: At high concentrations they can be toxic to bees and toxic to humans. Don't exceed the amounts listed.
Here's my recipe for Wintergreen syrup:
The first problem is the oil. You can check health food stores and search the web. The place I bought mine on the web, went out of business so I can't get anymore there. Fortunately I have a very large bottle that should last a while. I took a quart of honey and added 100 drops of wintergreen essential oil and mixed it well. This is because honey is a natural emollient. In other words it will dissolve both oil and water. I do this several months ahead of time. You could probably do it a few days ahead of time, but I like to give it time to disperse through the honey. When you are ready to feed this, mix it with three quarts of warm, not hot (or it will evaporate the essential oil) 2:1 sugar syrup.
(2:1 sugar syrup is for stimulation of brood rearing. It's made by using volume measurements of 2:1. For instance if you want to use a quart jar for measuring you take two quart jars of hot water to 1 quart jar of sugar stir well and let it cool until it's just warm).
Mix this well and let it set a little while to distribute the oil well. I use it for the first feedings in the spring for about a week. It keeps somewhat better than straight 2:1 syrup because the Wintergreen seems to have some antibacterial/anti mold properties.
You can also buy preparations such as Bee Healthy from www.bee-commerce.com (http://www.bee-commerce.com) that are ready to put in your syrup. I have not used this, but plan to try some this spring.
Grease patties. Again, you can buy them already made. I bought some from www.bee-commerce.com (http://www.bee-commerce.com) before, but I think others have them as well.
Here's my recipe.
1 lb Crisco
3 lbs Granulated Sugar
25 drops of wintergreen oil.
Other management techniques: If you intend to not use Apistan or Check Mite, then you need to integrate other techniques into your control.
I would recommend the Screened Bottom board. I would use the board under it for the winter, but when the weather is really hot, you could probably leave it out. I see no down side to the SSB other than if you have cool nights it may cause the queen to not lay so close to the bottom. It takes no time other than putting the board on and putting the bottom piece in when the weather gets too cold in the late fall.
I have not used the FGMO cords with the emulsion, but I have painted FGMO on the top bars. I would recommend you either paint the top bars or use the cords. The cords would last longer than just painting the top bars and would require less frequent opening of the hive. The FGMO painted on the top bars is simpler.
I would buy a FGMO fogger. The only disadvantage I see with the fogger is it will soften the wax a bit, but it's cheap insurance and only takes a quick application without opening the hive. More information on how to do this is on other threads and in the POV section.
I would use drone comb for monitoring and for controlling Varroa. If you have two frames of drone comb (you can buy drone foundation from www.beeworks.com) (http://www.beeworks.com)) for each hive, you put one in each brood nest (pull out a frame that has no brood and replace it with the drone frame). Two weeks later you pull out the capped drone frame and replace it with the empty one. Freeze the capped one and two weeks later swap it with the other one. Continue this until the queen is no longer laying it full of drone in the fall. This is labor intensive. You have to open the hive and move all of the supers every two weeks. But if you want to know how you're doing, you can use an uncapping fork to fish out the drone larvae and see if there are Varroa in the cells. They are easy to spot as the brood is white and the Varroa are reddish brown.
If you don't wish to do this, you can use the powdered sugar method off of the web site I listed above for monitoring. But the drone method has the advatage of also controling the population a lot.
I would use small cell foundation for the brood chamber. You don't have to do shake downs to do this, just put some identifying mark on the 4.9mm frames so you can keep swapping them out from time to time with the other frames until they are all 4.9mm. Then start swapping those out until you've replaced all of the first batch of 4.9mm. The bees will gradually build smaller and smaller cells until they reach 4.9mm. If you are starting from scratch with a package you could just start out with the small cell foundation. This will NOT insure protection from the mites at all until the bees are drawing it to 4.9mm and all of your brood nest is made up of this 4.9mm drawn comb but at least the bees will get to build something more natural for them and eventually you'll get regressed.
Personally, I'm going to heat PermaComb (see the thread under Equipment). I heat it in an oven to 200 degrees and dip it in beeswax and try to knock off as much of the wax as I can. This leaves a thin coating and makes the cells about 4.95mm. This will regress them almost to 4.9mm in one step. I have tried the wax coating. I have not been able to give it to the bees yet to see what they do. I will this spring as soon as I can. The only downside I see is PermaComb only comes in Medium depth, so you have to run a medium depth brood chamber.
Whatever you decide as far as how much work you're willing to do and what methods fit your schedule, be sure to monitor the results with either the drone comb method or the powdered sugar method.
02-07-2003, 10:35 AM
BTW I figure most of my beekeeping schedules to work on weekends. When using the drone comb method, if something comes up and you don't get it done every two weeks, you can still kill the varroa and you can still keep the drones from emerging if you get it by the next weekend. Basically the drones will get capped 10 days after you put in a frame of drawn comb. If it's not drawn it will take the bees a couple of days to draw it. It may also take a couple of days to clean out the old dead drones (from the freezing) The drones will emerge 24 days after you add the drawn comb, so if you miss the two week mark (14 days) then you can still do it anytime up to the three week mark (21 days) and still kill the Varroa and the drones. However, it may be more difficult to identify the varroa if you wait too long and the brood is not all white anymore.
Also if you want to use other methods of monitoring and identification and you only want to use the drones to kill the Varroa, you could do the drone swap every three weeks. Which is less physical labor.
02-07-2003, 12:31 PM
Boy! Im SHOCKED at the NEWS: a 50% chance of losing my bees the first year, and 100% chance of loss by the second year.
I respectfully ask, Are you sure?
When using a Screened Bottom Board, is a 'sticky board' a useful way to monitor Varroa mites?
If PermaComb is available only in medium depth, what choice(s) do I have for deep-frame foundation?
02-07-2003, 01:30 PM
I've read now not to use grease pattie's in an area where there is small hive beetle's because they are drawn to it.(smell).any commets on this? thanks mark
02-07-2003, 02:18 PM
>Dave W: Boy! Im SHOCKED at the NEWS: a 50% chance of losing my bees the first year, and 100% chance of loss by the second year.
I respectfully ask, Are you sure?
I'm guessing based on my experiences here in Eastern Nebraska and reports from others across the country. I once flipped a quarter 27 times in a row and came up heads. You could get lucky, but I wouldn't count on it.
>When using a Screened Bottom Board, is a 'sticky board' a useful way to monitor Varroa mites?
I have not used one, but they say it is. Some people just coat a piece of poster board with Vaseline or Crisco to catch them.
>If PermaComb is available only in medium depth, what choice(s) do I have for deep-frame foundation?
Personally, I'll go with the PermaComb. Deep frame foundation comes in most everything else.
Pierco plastic frames:
It's sized a closer to natural (about 5.2mm if I remember right).
You don't have to assemble frames.
If you want to see the eggs and brood etc. you can get it in black and the eggs show up very nicely.
The wax moths can't do as much damage as straight wax, but they can still tear up the wax the bees have built on it.
More expensive than wood frames and wax foundation is.
More problems with acceptance. I don't find this too difficult as long as you put a whole super of the wax in. It is a problem when you put a plastic frame next to a wax one. The bees will try to avoid the plastic.
Pierco plastic foundation, Rite Cell foundation and other variations of embossed plastic:
Same pluses and minuses as the Pierco except you have to build the frames.
DuraComb & DuraGilt:
I've used this a lot with good luck. It has most of the advantages of the plastic foundations, but I have never had acceptance problems at all. The only time it's a problem is if the moths or the bees tear the comb down to the plastic the bees will not rebuild it. The only advantages to the RiteCell kind of product is the cell wall comes out further and the bees build it out faster and have something to cluster on while they make wax.
You can buy wax foundation already wired. I've used this with much success. Most of what I got was in a "W" formation from WWW.BEEWORKS.COM (http://WWW.BEEWORKS.COM) and you just put it in the frame and go. Other has just horizontal wires.
Plain Medium Brood foundation:
Medium refers to the thickness of the foundation. This you can use unwired if use the split pins on the side and you get the bees to draw it quickly enough and if you don't ever plan to extract any of it. If the bees don't draw it soon, it will buckle. To prevent buckling or to reinforce enough to extract occasionally (usually to clear up a honey bound brood chamber or have some foundation for a queen to lay in for queen rearing) then you need to wire it. There are many methods. Most are probably stronger than mine. I just put a wire on each face going from corner to corner in opposite directions. http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush5.htm
Others put both horizontal and vertical wires in. Some people embed them with either some kind of electric transformer and running current through the wires or using a spur embedder with some kind of boiling water to put it in between uses.
Plain 4.9mm foundation:
This is the small cell foundation you hear so much about. That's what I'd use if it was me. Your package bees won't be small enough to draw it to 4.9mm but they will draw it to 5.15mm or so and it will be better for them all the way around.
Starter strips: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush4.htm
I really like these and use them often. It's especially educational to watch the bees build the hive. If you put some Plexiglas on one end of the hive you can watch the cluster build these. http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush3.htm. They could be strips of 4.9mm (from 1/2" to 1 1/2" depending on your preference) or strips of standard brood foundation. You just put them on the top bar like you would regular foundation but they don't go as far down.
>Mark Williams: I've read now not to use grease patties in an area where there is small hive beetle's because they are drawn to it.(smell).any commets on this? thanks mark
I have never experienced hive beetles and hope not to. I don't know anything about that.
02-07-2003, 03:29 PM
you heard the answers from the fogger guys and now I give you the answer from a vaporizer guy.
Oil fogging has a good result but you must treat your bees the whole year round to make sure they can live and survive with the mites. You also should use the treated cords on top. Altogether that means 52 times oil fogging or close to this amount.
I never tried this so I cant say what happen if you like to go on holyday or getting sick for a few weeks?
Here is my way and I work with this for more than 10 years with very good results also.
When starting new with, swarm, nuc or package bees (free of brood) vaporize the bees two times 7 days apart with oxalic acid. All your mites are killed by, I would say from my experience, 99.9%.
Now you can sit and relax till you extracted the honey end of July depends where you live. During the season your bees getting infected from other hives no question and you MUST tread again.
I have a special cage around 1 frame where the bees can go in and out but not the queen, and put the queen in with an empty comb for 22 days.
She can lay eggs only on this brood comb and the mites must go in this comb because there no other open cells in the colony after day number 8 to 22.
Remember the brood cycle from bees are 21, and all cells are empty after 22 days.
On the 22nd day I remove this special brood comb take the queen back in the colony. I put the brood include approx. 70% of the Varroa in the freezer for a few days than melt the wax.
From the 22nd day on I treat the colony with vaporized oxalic acid two times again (7days apart) and kill almost all Varroa mites left on the bees. On the 9th day the bees closing the first cells again.
The queen can start laying eggs for winter bees and the young bees are healthy and have no injuries from mites. In the wintertime when my colonies brood free I treat them all up to three times (if necessary) depend on the amount of mites I find on the sticky control board in each hive. Six to seven treatments during the year maximum and I never lost a hive to Varroa mites since then.
Now you can say Im loosing bees for 3 weeks. Yes but do you need them after the honey season? There are no winter bees and live only approx 35 days.
If a swarm goes away your loosing 3 or 4 times more bees!
The vaporizers are available in all European countries and I think you can get from the following site too. http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln
I hope Im not getting the red flag for advertising. Read about all available treatments and make your one decision.
0% changes of loosing in the first year because of the Varroa, 25% loosing the 2nd year (without a treatment) and 80% the 3rd year without a treatment!!!!!!
02-07-2003, 05:11 PM
I use grease patties and had SHB in one hive this year. I have not heard about not using the grease patties because of the beetles. I use the patties to help control treachael mites and now I may use the grease patties to lure the beetles in to the treatment that the State says I must use in the hive.
just South of Lansing Michigan
02-07-2003, 05:43 PM
Clinton: I read about tracheal& grease patties in the a.b.j.but I'm not sure which issu. Menthol isthe only treatment for this mite.(treatment).the grease is a preventive.also I've used the shop towel & menthol & like it. It's easy & not to costly,I've forgot the measurements on it, but if you like let me know& i'll look it up. Mark
02-07-2003, 09:09 PM
Yes Clinton, menthol is ok and kills the Varroa also.
To keep the hive free from both kind of mites put 12g (1/2 oz) menthol crystals in a plastic zip back and store it on top of the brood nest. Cut with a knife a few fine holes in both sites from the back so the vapor can come out.
But be careful the strong smell goes in wax and in honey too.
Make 100% the bees cant bring any left sugar or honey up in the honey super. If your honey is contaminated you cant sell it.
On the breakfast table the honey smells like the stones from a toilet bowl.
02-08-2003, 06:12 AM
I have used the grease patties because I can't bring myself to use something as strong smelling as the menthol in my hive. I have purchased a fogger, but have not had the opportunity yet to use it. I will probably rely on the fogger for the tracheal mites eventually, but for this year, I think I'll also use the grease patties again.
Hopefully I'll get to where Dee Lusby is and be able to let the bees be themselves instead. But in the meantime, until I have them fully regressed, I'm going to use all the non chemical (other than essential oils) means I can to keep the mites at bay long enough to get the bees regressed.
Then I intend to still monitor mite infestation regularly.
I am purchasing several new hives that have been doing well with nothing but FGMO fog and I hope to not introduce any chemicals into them if I can.
02-08-2003, 10:58 AM
Sorry there was a misunderstanding. I talked about the smell like a toilet stone but it comes from using thyme crystals not menthol. Menthol has not a high effect on Varroa as far as I know but thyme up to 100%.
I went to a bee yard last fall with 20 hives and there was a 12 grams thyme crystal bag in each hive. I could smell the thyme 20 meters away from the hives.
Who wands that smell in the honey?