One resource I would recommend, especially for beginners, is put out by the University of Minnesota. It is called Beekeeping in Northern Climates. The basic theory behind it is a two queen horizontal method. Another nice thing about it is they split the diseases and pests out into a separate companion book that is easily updated. This is very much a how to manual, it came with the class, but I have also seen it in some of the beekeeping catalogs. It also doesn't go deep into anything, but for a starter manual it is really great.
Some helpful information:
A brochure from Dadant entitled "Diseases, parasitic mites and Preventative Management" is helpful to understand the mites from the start. Phone #217-847-3324
Catalogs mentioning resistance:
Mann Lake Ltd. - Page 33.
Dadant Pages - Page 24,25.
Brushy Mountain - Page 38.
Checkmite puts out a brochure Entitled "Resistant movement" 1-800-880-7694
Most independent research that I have hand-outs for are from MAAREC or Mid-Atlantic Apicultural Research & Extension consortium. They have excellent material and can be reached at http://MAAREC.cas.psu.edu
Two handouts of point are "Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for beekeepers", and "Varroa Mites".
I have included information from the maker, the suppliers, and independent research.
I will also try and download the hand-outs I have but need my wife for scanning and computor stuff. (Its not my area.)
I hope this helps.
Good Evening All
I'm gonna throw my two cents in about mites and resistance.
I have seen resistant mites on bees from Florida that simply couldnt be killed regardless of the mite level. I don't disagree that mites can become resistant to the chemical treatments even when used properly after enough exposure time. Also fully agree that improper use of strips and every other known chemical aggravates the problem....but that could be its very own 2 page topic.
However, having said all that, I think that folks are sometimes quick to jump on the blame wagon and think that their colonies just died because of mites and/or resistant. No doubt that varroa kills a heck of a bunch of bees each year but before varroa bees died.
I live in an area that is flooded with migratory bees from Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia and I have never seen any signs of resistance in my own bees over the last 5 years and I use to winter some in Florida too. If you are buying packages/nucs/singles from an area known for resistance, I would probably be worried....outside of that I would keep my eyes open but not just assume that apistan and coumaphos wont work.
In my neck of the woods I think people miss two big issues----
(1) Tracheal mites do way more damage than varroa alone. A high enough tracheal mite infestation will kill them for sure and a low level tracheal mite infestation combined with low varroa will do the same.
(2) If varroa levels increase significantly above 20-40 mite fall for 24 hours based on a 3 day average around August timeframe, you are headed for trouble and there may be no return. This doesnt hold true for every colony, I have seen some that had a tolerance for high mites levels but as a general rule it is fairly accurate. Once the infestation hits a certain point, it can be too late to treat....that doesnt mean the mites are resistant.
>>I have seen resistant mites on bees from Florida that simply couldnt be killed regardless of the mite level.
That is scary.Everything Fla.gets we get about 3 years later by way of almond pollination.Hive beetles came into Ca.on some Fla. bees a couple years ago,but I never heard anymore about them,and havent seen any.Some believe that science and research will always run ahead of the mites,but I am not so sure.I'm thinking the gun is running out of ammo.
>>I don't disagree that mites can become resistant to the chemical treatments even when used properly after enough exposure time.
That is correct.Agricultural experts told us right from the start that a miticide was only good for around 5 years before resistance started showing up.So I think we got our moneys worth and all the finger pointing and blaming is a waste of time.The mites started developing resistance the minute the first Apistan strip was put in a hive .
Thats why rotation of more than one chemical and proper use is important. If you have three options and rotate, that would be once a year for most use. Resistance would be nearly eliminated. Could be longer between use if good beekeeping and mite testing shows a need not to use. Thats why I'm against preventative use on a regular basis. Only on a need to treat basis.
Greetings . . .
I think the point has been well made;
We must MONITOR for Varroa!
The methods have been detailed, threshold levels indicated, (very inconsistent numbers-vary according to source) now we need to know 1)WHEN (spring?), 2)HOW OFTEN (once-a-week?), and 3)WHICH METHOD (according to time of year?) to use when monitoring.
Some (monitoring) methods could be used each time we visit our hives. Example: Is it best to "Inspect Drone Brood" in very early spring or "look for mites on a sticky board".
Number of mites in a colony vary according to the time of year, lowest in spring, increasing during summer, highest qty in fall. During spring and summer most mites are found on brood (especially drone). In fall and winter mites are attached to adult worker bees.
One of the reasons that there do not seem to be standards is that this is a new fight for most of us and some of the old methods are starting to fail. So if there seem to be inconsistent answers it's because we're all still figuring it out. For a commercial beekeeper with hundreds or thousands of hives, it is certainly not practical to monitor mites in every hive. For the backyard beekeeper it might be or might not be depending on your free time. I'd say it also depends on if you found any mites the last time or not. If you didn't you might go a little longer, if you did, you might need to see how it goes.
It's also useful to do drop tests before and during treaments (of any kind) to see if the treatment is effective or not. If you have a 24 hour drop of say 100 and you do a FGMO fogging and it stays the same, then you still need to take other steps. (emoulsion cords or whatever you decide to do). If you see an increase in the drop then it is killing mites. Maybe you need to continue to monitor for a few days to see if the drop stays the same or keeps going up or down.
The point is, I don't think there is a cut and dried answer to how often do you monitor. I probably only check a couple of my fourty or so hives once a month, because I simply haven't had the time to do more. I keep an eye on my observation hive bees because I watch them every night and have yet to see one mite on them.
If you have time, do a drop test every day. That'll keep you up to date. But I don't think most of us have that kind of time. I think the main point is don't ignore it. Don't assume that whatever treatment program you have decided on is working if you don't monitor to see if it's working.
< Don't assume that whatever treatment program you have decided on is working if you don't monitor to see if it's working > Very well put Michael,how many times have I heard after a hive get's weak or dies has someone said ,well I treated them..>>>>Mark
Thanks for all the help and information on treating for mites. This forum is a learning experience. I will keep reading.
Thanks for all the advice. I am still reading.