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  1. #1
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    What are 'acceptable' numbers?
    Above what number do you recommend Apistan?
    Up to what number do you feel powdered sugar is adequate to treat?
    Dan

    [size="1"][ August 01, 2006, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: longarm ][/size]

  2. #2
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    >What are 'acceptable' numbers?

    You're not going to get a straight answer to this question. There are too many variables- colony size, time of year, weather, amount of brood rearing, the strain of bee and the degree of hygenic behavior, etc. What is bad for one hive might be tolerable for another and inconsequential for a third. What is more important than absolute numbers is the trend of the mite population over time. If it's trending UP, you've got potential problems. If it's stable, well.... If you search around the site you'll find many threads on this subject.

    >Above what number do you recommend Apistan?

    I'll never recommend Apistan [img]smile.gif[/img] I'll recommend powdered sugar, I'll recommend Oxalic acid vapor or drip, I'll recommend drone comb trapping. Those are the only forms of treatment with which I am personally familiar. I've fogged with FGMO, but I don't believe it's a real knock-em-down treatment i.e., if you don't have a lot of mites, it will probably help keep it that way but if you've got a serious mite problem, I don't think it will help.

    >Up to what number do you feel powdered sugar is adequate to treat?

    The more mites you have, the more it will knock down. If you've got a lot of brood rearing going on and your mite (and bee) population is peaking, no treatment is going to be good enough. All you can hope for is killing enough mites over time to reduce their population to "safe" levels. It's often too late by then.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #3
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    George,
    Thanks for the info. I just finished a 24 hour count and found 71 mites. Seems kind of high.. though I have not been keeping records of numbers in the past. However I am certain that the number has been increasing over time.
    This is a first year hive that was started from a #3 package of Italians in April. I just pulled 2 shallow supers of honey off the hive. Seems healthy (??) other than the mites...
    Powdered sugar enought to take care of this situation?
    Dan

  4. #4
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    longarm

    that's definately enough to raise the alarm bells
    the problem is it's difficult to treat this time of year because most of the mites are sealed in cells where your treatment won't get to em
    folks report good results with powdered sugar
    you have to do it repeated times to get em as they emerge from the cells, so it's labor intensive, but if you only have a couple of hives it sure beats using hard chemicals
    I tried Apiguard (a thymol product)
    it seemed to work pretty well but it's kinda stinky
    we'll see if it taints the fall honey
    I'll be a little reluctant to use it again bacause of that
    I used oxalic acid last fall with good result but have never tried it in summer
    I think you need to do something now to get that count down

    Dave

  5. #5
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    THanks Dave.
    I don't plan on getting any Fall honey and so for that reason I am not opposed to using Apistan (active ingredient: Tau-fluvalinate). Many on this board and others seem opposed to it's use though I haven't read exactly why..
    I am concerned for the bees making it through winter. I have only a couple of hives so repeat treatments with powdered sugar is not a problem. I just don't know if it is enought to get the mite count down enough for winter...
    any thoughts appreciated.
    Dan

  6. #6
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    >Thanks for the info. I just finished a 24 hour count and found 71 mites. Seems kind of high..

    Yup. Without knowing the trend I can safely say you've got a big problem. I lost hives last winter that had 24 hour drops less than that this time last summer. Surprising for a 1st year package, they must have come with a healthy mite load. Good you got a crop of honey off them, they may not be around next year

    To keep them alive you've got to reduce the mite load and see to it that the bees raise 2-3 cycles of healthy over-wintering bees before the queen shuts down. The bees that are being raised now won't live long enough to take your hive through the winter. Feed 1:1 syrup to stimulate brood rearing and make sure they've got enough pollen- if they don't, some pollen substitute or even better, real pollen should be fed to them as well. At that, their chances aren't good, but you could get lucky.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  7. #7
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    Nobody has mentionsd fgmo and thymol fogging. I think that may be a good additive to whatever you decide to use.

  8. #8
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    Well I treated with powdered sugar.. about 1.5 or 2 cups sifted into the top of a stack of 2 deeps, then brushed the sugar off the top bars.
    24 hours later my mite drop is 80.
    I had expected .. a lot more.
    What do you make of it?

  9. #9
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    Longarm, powdered sugar's effect is mechanical in the sense that it causes the mites to lose their grip and fall off the bees as opposed to a chemical effect that kills them and causes them to drop. With Oxalic acid for example, a single treatment has an effect that lasts up to about a week, during which you'll see increased drops. There is no real long term effect on mite drop from the use of powdered sugar. You powder your bees, mites fall off. You powder them again, more fall off. In the meantime, mites are emerging and mites you didn't remove are entering cells to breed. What would be interesting to know is how many mites were dislodged by the treatment. You were seeing 71 mites drop before the treatment, I'd expect about that after treatment as well since you really haven't removed many of the mites that normally contribute to daily drop.

    In other words, with powdered sugar you're removing phoretic mites- mites that are hanging out on bees. It so happens that when mites are phoretic, they're much less likely to fall off so most of the daily drop you see results from the process of brood rearing. In the late fall, when brood rearing slows down, mite drop also diminishes. When brood rearing ceases, mite drop becomes almost zero.

    So your goal with using powdered sugar (or any other treatment for that matter) is to remove mites after they've emerged from cells and are starting the 3-10 day phoretic phase of their life cycle. You want to prevent them from reentering cells to breed. If you can do that, then your breeding population of mites will slowly be reduced and your daily drop will slowly diminish.

    So. It will take some time before you see any significant change in "natural" daily drop. If your treatment is effective, it will stop rising, level off, then start to drop. If it is not effective enough, then it will continue to rise in spite of your efforts. It is in effect a race against time and the mites have a head start. You need to significantly reduce the mite load while your bees still have a chance to raise a few cycles worth of wintering bees. If you succeed, then your hive will likely winter OK, all other things being equal. If you fail, then your hive population will consist of weakened short-lived bees and it will dwindle to the point where they don't have enough bees left to maintain a functional winter cluster, and they will die.

    Am I making sense?

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  10. #10
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    George,
    Thanks once again for all the info - very helpful for a beginner such as myself.
    Today's mite drop had a much higher percentage of immature mites than the daily drop before the first treatment.

    Still concerned though that I may be at this too late.. and am therfore considering more aggressive treatment.

  11. #11
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    Feb 2006
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    Dan,

    I ran into this same kind of situation last year. With two packages and two hived swarms I figured that I did not need to worry about the mites too much the first year - Wrong !
    Late fall I noticed bees crawling around on the grass with deformed wings and I knew I was in trouble. I started checking the mite drops and sure enough, they were very high - mite factories!

    I figured it was too late and the hives were probably doomed, but wanted to try to save them if I could. I did not want to use chemicals in the hive so I went the OA Vapor route and gave them a series of treatments 1 week apart. The number of mites that fell was just unbelievable.

    Long story short... 3 of the 4 hives survived the winter and I was actually able to split 2 of them this spring. I really did not think any would make it, but they hung in there.

    I've just been using Powdered Sugar this summer and hopefully that will keep the mites under control. If they get out of hand I can always crack out the OA again - it is very effective.

    Mike
    To everything there is a season....

  12. #12
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    Good to hear Mike, thanks.
    Will look into it at my local supplier.
    Dan

  13. #13
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    OA is not an "approved" treatment in the US, so you probably will not get any help with your local supplier.
    If you are interested, do a search here and read up on Oxalic Acid. You'll find everything you need to know... and then some.
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #14
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    longarm

    >though I haven't read exactly why..

    it's because fluvalinate kills the mites but it also contaminates the wax
    next year your bees are raising their young in pesticide contaminated comb
    it won't kill em, but it sure isn't good for em

    Dave

  15. #15
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    I would mention that iddee pointed out fgmo treatments
    I've never used em but there's a whole forum devoted to them here
    read em, food for thought

    Dave

    [edit]sorry, I can't spell worth spit

    [size="1"][ August 01, 2006, 08:25 PM: Message edited by: drobbins ][/size]

  16. #16
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    >Still concerned though that I may be at this too late.. and am therfore considering more aggressive treatment.

    As well you should be. I wouldn't bet dollars to donuts on your hive making it through the winter. I had 20 hives last summer about this time with 24 hour natural mite drops ranging from a low of 45 to a high of around 100. Only 2 were still alive this spring.

    The problem you face however is that as long as your bees are busily raising brood, no "more aggressive" treatment is going to make much difference. You can't beat the odds and as long as the bees are rearing brood, the odds favor the mites. The math is simple enough, and Michael Bush has done the math:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    Click on "Varroa Treatments" in the left frame.

    Now, here's a radical approach I heard about on another site and I decided I would try it if the situation warranted it, but I haven't been faced with a dire situation requiring desperate measures since. Your situation just might qualify [img]smile.gif[/img] At the time I considered it pretty drastic but knowing what I know now- that the chances of a hive in a condition such as yours surviving being oh, about zero, I think it might be worth a try. I'm not suggesting it's guaranteed to succeed but if your hive were my hive, knowing what I know now, I'd try it. The steps are simple enough:

    1) Remove all the capped brood from your hive. Every last cell of it.

    2) Treat the bees with something with a real wallop to it to take out as many phoretic mites as possible.

    3) Feed honey (or 1:1 syrup) to stimulate brood rearing and if they need it, pollen (or pollen substitute.

    That's it.

    By removing all the capped brood you're immediately getting rid of 60% to 80% of the mites in your hive in one swell foop. This followed by a treatment with an efficacy of something better than 90% will then remove the majority of the remaining mites, leaving you with a minimal mite population which will not overwhelm the bees. Then it's just a matter of getting the bees rearing brood again.

    Simple. Easy. Drastic. Effective? Well, I dunno, never having done it or talked to anyone who's done it, but I'd guess you have a better than even chance of saving the hive. As it stands now using "conventional" means of treatment, I put your chances of success at around 1 in 10.

    In practice, I'm not sure how I'd go about it. You could simply remove the combs with lots of capped brood and freeze them, then then return them to the hive so the bees can clean them out. Combs with small patches of brood you could probably just uncap and leave in the hive, but I think I'd still be inclined to freeze them- no sense risking letting any live mites loose in the hive when you've got them captured in a capped cell. If I had empty comb available, I'd probably substitute it for the combs with brood so the bees could get back to brood rearing that much faster.

    For a highly efficaceous treatment, my choice would be Oxalic acid drip. It's simple, easy, fast, and it works Very Well. It would kill most of the open brood however. I suppose I might consider Oxalic acid vapor which is also effective but which is nasty and much harder to do right.

    The third step is simple enough. You want to kick start brood rearing and start raising some healthy long-lived overwintering bees as quickly as possible. Lastly, you want to make sure the bees have sufficient stores for winter so you're probably looking at feeding them heavily in early fall.

    Comments and suggestions are welcome.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  17. #17
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    Dang George,

    I guess it's that time of year to dive into the mite treatment quagmire again
    it seem to me that what you need at this time of year is some type of "time released" treatment where you can catch the mites as they emerge from the cells
    that's the problem with OA, it zaps the phoretic mites but at this time of year most of em are in sealed cells
    I tried Apiguard, it worked well but it's "stinky"
    I guess repeated OA treatments are an option
    can anyone figure out we're struggling for an answer??

    Dave

  18. #18
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    It occurs to me that the above "drastic" method of treatment is really just yet-another-means of breaking the brood cycle, but with extreme predjudice. You obtain the effect of caging the queen for a month in about 15 minutes. You don't have to wait 3 weeks for all the brood to hatch out. The downside of course is that you lose those future bees. However, with a 2-deep hive dropping 80+ mites a day, those future bees will be heavily infested and they aren't going to be worth much. They're not going to live long, they're just going to consume valuable resources and they're not going provide the hive with a return on it's investment.

    Something to think about.
    Dulcius ex asperis

  19. #19
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    George

    exactly
    what hurts the hive more
    the varroa or the OA?
    sometimes the medicine is bitter

    Dave

  20. #20
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    >it seem to me that what you need at this time of year is some type of "time released" treatment where you can catch the mites as they emerge from the cells

    The problem Dave is what I mentioned above in my "afterthought": While you're patiently killing mites that emerge from cells for a month or more, you need to remember that the bees emerging from those very same cells suck. You're raising sucky, weak, short-lived bees that can never pay their own energy bill. As long as the mites are predominantly in drone brood, things are OK. When they start entering worker brood in late summer, that's when you're in trouble. Sure, with a "timed release" treatment you might manage to get 80% of the mites in your hive by the time winter sets in, but the damage has been done. Will your hive make it through the winter?
    Dulcius ex asperis

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