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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    156

    Post

    Another beautiful sunny day in Portland and I decided to take the hives apart and do some spring cleaning. In my strong hive, I actually saw a mite on a bee (wait, I never marked my queen, what, is that . . .!)! I also saw a bee with deformed wings, but overall plenty of bees, lots of brood, nice laying pattern etc.

    Then I opened my weak hive. Irregular brood pattern - capped next to eggs (I finally get it!) - and some of the capped broken open revealing dead bees. I pulled some out, no wings, weird shriveled bodies. A lot less bees and at this rate, declining fast.

    So I dusted both hives. I want to put in a patty with essential oils and stick some drone comb in tomorrow.

    What do you think - is this enough? Should I dust every few days for a while? My drone comb is already drawn out, so theoretically I could pull it as soon as 8 days (if she lays immediately and it gets capped). I'm hesitant to reduce the population any further, but if it acts as a mite sink, it might actually allow the other brood to live.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
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    831

    Post

    Louise if you like to save your colonies you MUST destroy all brood. Take them in a freezer to save the frames and combs. Give your bees empty combs to breed on and vaporize two times with oxalic acid 3 days apart. You will kill all mites outside the cells and give your colonies a mite free start. That’s the ONLY way if it’s not to late.
    Don’t wait, 1 Varroa in January will end up with approx 200 in December without a treatment.
    With crippled wings your bees already have a virus and it comes from the Varroa mites. There is no medication available to kill this virus, get rid of the mites and your bees getting rid of the virus in no time.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    Dusting with what? Powdered sugar? That will help. People dust with Terramycin for AFB, so I'm not sure what you are dusting with.

    I would say if you have serious mite problems I would go for a serious solution. Thymol crystals, Thymol in FGMO, Oxalic acid would come to mind as quick fixes that I would consider. Some would use Apistan or Check-mite.

    Then in the long run you need to decide what you're going to do. Some things, like FGMO fog (without the thymol) require constant use. Small cell takes some time to get there, but doesn't require the constant attention.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    Axtmann, I'm not sure I understand.

    >Louise if you like to save your colonies you MUST destroy all brood. Take them in a freezer to save the frames and combs.

    Is this because the mites are in the cells? Will none of these treatments get into the brood cells?

    >vaporize two times with oxalic acid 3 days apart.

    How do you vaporize - or is this question for another forum?

    >With crippled wings your bees already have a virus and it comes from the Varroa mites.

    I thought it was from the mites parisitizing on the bees while they were growing. What is the virus?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    Michael,

    Dusting with powdered sugar. That will help, but not get any mites that are in the cells, right?

    >I would say if you have serious mite problems I would go for a serious solution. Thymol crystals, Thymol in FGMO, Oxalic acid would come to mind as quick fixes that I would consider.

    Will the thymol crystals work if it is only in the 50's-60's ? I always thought it needed to be warmer?

    The FGMO is applied with a fogger, like the oxalic acid, right? Where can I get more detailed info on how to do it (step by step)? I really would like to avoid check-mite/apistan.

    >Then in the long run you need to decide what you're going to do.

    My plan was drone trapping, powdered sugar dusting and essential oil patties, including thymol in the summer.
    Is that just not enough, or will it be once I get this outbreak under control?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,384

    Post

    >Dusting with powdered sugar. That will help, but not get any mites that are in the cells, right?

    Under IDEAL conditions, acording the research I've seen, powdered sugar will get rid of 90% of the mites. But ideal conditions are a matter of temperature, amount of sugar, etc.

    More realistic numbers seem to be between 45% to 80% of the phoretic mites (the ones outside the cells). While this is certainly useful, it is similar to FGMO fog. It's useful as a long term approach, certainly, but you want to knock out a lot of mites in a hurry. And of course it won't kill the ones in the cells.

    >Will the thymol crystals work if it is only in the 50's-60's ? I always thought it needed to be warmer?

    I've never used the Thymol and don't consider myself an expert. Axtman has used them.

    >The FGMO is applied with a fogger, like the oxalic acid, right? Where can I get more detailed info on how to do it (step by step)? I really would like to avoid check-mite/apistan.

    The FGMO with thymol would probably be a good idea. http://www.beesource.com/pov/rodriguez/abjsept2003.htm

    In the long run plain FGMO fog and maybe also the cords will work to keep it under control. http://www.beesource.com/pov/rodriguez/index.htm

    The Oxalic acid is a completely different method of fogging. Here's a cheap homeade evaporator that Topbarguy (aka BWrangler) came up with and I've used: http://fire.prohosting.com/topbargu/oxal.htm

    A commercial one is here: http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln/Vaporizer.htm

    The oxalic acid strips are here: http://www.members.shaw.ca/orioleln/new_oxamite.htm

    >My plan was drone trapping, powdered sugar dusting and essential oil patties, including thymol in the summer.
    Is that just not enough, or will it be once I get this outbreak under control?

    Any one of these will probably be enough once it's under control. The powdered sugar alone, the drone trapping alone, the thymol alone will probably keep the Varroa under control. The grease patties will probably keep the Tracheal mites under control. I haven't been that fond of the smell of Thymol. The drone trapping is a big investment for the bees to raise all those drones and then lose them. They will raise more to replace them and that costs resources. But it will work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
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    831

    Post

    Louise no off the all treatments penetrates the closed brood cells except formic acid in a high dosage. But formic acid needs warm temperatures.
    Same with Thymol crystals it need warm temp to evaporate. Check mite or Apistran can’t help you because it doesn’t penetrate closed cells. Terramycin doesn’t work on AVP or CPV as far as I know from the bee institutes
    FGMO is the last I would recommend in your case because of the AVP (Acute Paralyse virus) and the CPV (Chronis he Paralyse virus).
    As soon as you can see bees with crippled wings and deformed bodies there are a high virus infection (up to 80-90%) in the brood cells.
    There is NO way to get the outbreak under control except you MUST remove ALL brood frames from the infected hives. If you let the bees go without removing the brood frames like I said before your high infected colonies dying within 6 to 8 weeks.

    Vaporized oxalic acid is a quick fix …. but only on the bees NOT on infected brood or mites in closed cells. Ask Bwrangler for a vaporizer or go to the Vaporizer website. With a virus infection you can’t wait for a fix in a long run treatment.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    Michael, thanks for all the links.

    I have to tell you, all the images of blowtorches and pipes is a little intimidating. Will the FGMO be effective if I just use it with thymol in the cords? In other words, can I avoid fogging? My guess is that like dusting with sugar, it doesn't reach into the cells, but does fogging get into cells?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    Axtmann,
    you are saying take ALL the brood cells out and kill them (eggs, larva and capped brood). At the same time put in empty comb for the queen to lay in. And treat the mites on the bees.

    And you think the best way to treat the mites on the bees is with oxalic acid vaporized, right? Is there anything else? I'm a little concerned with the safety precaution list on the oxalic acid - I hate it when things tell me to wear gloves and not to leave in too long.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,384

    Post

    The only problems I've seen with oxalic acid is making sure you don't breath the fumes. Not because they are poisonous, but because they are major irritant to your lungs. You will have a coughing fit if you breath them. I just stand upwind and it's not a problem.

    I guess I've soldered too many copper pipes in my life to be put off by heating some pipe fittings with a torch. You can buy the fittings today along with the oxalic acid at the hardware store and vaporize them this afternoon. If you are buying anything else, it will probably take a week to get the equipment and chemicals (thymol etc.)

    From my experience the oxalic acid seems to be the most effective in the shortest time.

    I have not been in the position you are in, with the viruses and the major infestation. I can't say if Axtmans advice is the best or not, but it does makes sense. If you have a major infestation of mites and infection of the viruses, then most of the bees from that brood will be deformed and useless anyway.

    Since you have all those deformed bees, odds are at this point in the process, you probably can't save them anyway. The simplest is probably to just give it up and let them die and start over. But I assume you want to do something. Personally, I'd do the oxalic acid.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    > You can buy the fittings today along with the oxalic acid at the hardware store and vaporize them this afternoon.

    Ya, but could I? I've never soldered anything in my life (I've used a hot glue gun ).

    >From my experience the oxalic acid seems to be the most effective in the shortest time.

    I love that. I guess I need to read BWrangler's thing over again. Just all those pictures of different fittings and pipes gave me that glazed over look and nothing else penetrated.

    Sigh. Beekeeping is hard.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    The "soldering" reference was simply because that process also includes a torch and some pipes, but soldering is more complicated. These pipes just screw together and you don't have to solder anything.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 22, 2004).]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Question

    <<I pulled some out, no wings, weird shriveled bodies. >>

    Were the shriveled wings all on bees that had not emerged yet?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Cool

    Louise,
    My 1st hive became infested with varroa during the summer of its 2nd year. Deformed bees were all over (almost a constant stream of one or two bees crawling out the entrance). I treated with Apistan. The hive recovered and I treated in the fal;l again. It went into winter in good condition. The next spring, I harvested 120 lbs honey from it. So don't give up hope for your hive. I don't use Apistan anymore. I too recommend Oxalic acid, one treatment a week for the next 4-6 weeks. Check the mite drop each day and smile as you see the mites dying and your bees thriving.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    dcross:
    no, the shriveled wings were also on live bees in the hive.

    db_land:
    do you use oxalic acid strips or fogging? I am still hoping to find a way out of trying to make this crazy fogging contraption. . . why don't any of you live over here so I could just see one in action and bribe you to help me?

    Did I mention that on top of all this crazy hive stuff I have a sick baby and 2 sick fish? And today is supposed to be the last sunny day before we get a stretch of rain? Sorry, just needed to complain a bit.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
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    831

    Post

    Louise when soldering the copper pipes you must be sure that they can’t fall apart when you heath the oxalic acid. The acid needs approx 180 Celsius / 356 Fahrenheit to evaporate totally. If you go to high with your heath the soldering parts can fall apart and you’re in trouble with the hot acid. The manufactured vaporizer has tread on the ends before they are soldered for the safety to the beekeeper.
    I personally can recommend the vaporizer 200JB for a 12-volt car battery. There is no trouble outside not even with oxalic fog. I fill the tray with crystals (2 grams = half teaspoon) put it in the entrants and close the hive with foam. After 1 mins I remove the vaporizer quick and hold the entrants closed for 10 mins. That’s the whole process and the acid cost you maybe 1 or 2 cents.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Eagle Creek, Oregon
    Posts
    289

    Post

    >do you use oxalic acid strips or fogging? I am still hoping to find a way out of trying to make this crazy fogging contraption. . . why don't any of you live over here so I could just see one in action and bribe you to help me?

    Hi Louise,
    I live out on the east side of town and I have all of the necessary equipment to fog per the TopBarGuy method. I'd be willing to help you but, and this is a very big BUT, I am not even a beginner yet. I'm still waiting for my first bees and I have, obviously, never tried this thing out before. I've studied the process and see nothing that seems too complicated or intimidating. If you're willing to let your bees be the guinea pigs I'd be willing to fog them for you.
    George

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Big Grin

    George,
    I'm willing! I love this forum!
    I'll e-mail you and let's set up a time.
    Thanks!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Question

    George is coming tomorrow to help me fog and today I have plans to remove the brood. Here are some questions:

    How long does it take to kill a mite in the freezer? What about the viruses (can they live off of the bees?). I'd like to replace the drawn comb as soon as possible, I don't have enough.

    Fogging works even when the bees are clustered, right?

    If I remove brood and fog twice the hive should be virtually mite-free. My strong hive I won't remove brood, but I will fog. That means that capped brood and larva will still have mites, right? So it is a gamble to put brood +/or bees from my strong hive into my weak hive? If I start on mite maintenance, shouldn't I do it to help boost the population?

    Thanks.


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    156

    Post

    One more:

    I neeed to get all the honey supers off before we fog - right? One hive it is still capped (left over from the winter) but the other hive is full of fresh nectar.

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