I live in northern N.J. and have one hive two deeps. From an outside inspection all seems well bees bringing back lots of pollen.Here is my plan of action... Around late march when the weather is in the high 50's low 60's I will do a full inspection of the hive.If the top deep is full of brood
and the bottom mostly empty I will reverse the hive.(2) I will then administer any medication if needed such as apistan fumidil and terramicin. (3) I will feed using an inverted vacuum jar. (4) approx mid to late April if the hive is going strong I will split using a nuc box and have my bees make their own queen using a few frames of fresh and capped brood and some with pollen and honey put into this nuc.Does this soud o.k. to you guys? Please send advice thanks.
>Here is my plan of action... Around late march when the weather is in the high 50's low 60's I will do a full inspection of the hive.If the top deep is full of brood
and the bottom mostly empty I will reverse the hive.
That's a good plan.
>(2) I will then administer any medication if needed such as apistan fumidil and terramicin.
How will you know thay are "needed"? For instance Fumidil and Terramycin? Most people using Fuidil or TM are using it as a preventative, not "as needed". I don't use either.
When I used Apistan, I always used it in the fall. Until it quit working.
>(3) I will feed using an inverted vacuum jar.
Over the inner cover I assume? Or on the top bars? Both will work but the top bars will require more monitoring because if they get the combs full of honey they will start building comb in the empty space in the box with the feeder.
>(4) approx mid to late April if the hive is going strong I will split using a nuc box and have my bees make their own queen using a few frames of fresh and capped brood and some with pollen and honey put into this nuc.Does this soud o.k. to you guys?
Sure. I'd put two frames of pollen/honey (on the outsides) two frames of capped brood (for a population boost) next and a frame with some eggs and open brood in the center position. Shake a few frames of nurse bees in for good measure because some of the bees will return to the old hive. Make sure you don't shake the queen from the old hive in with the nurse bees. If there isn't some flow of honey and pollen going on, be sure to feed.
I woulduse fumidil in with the syrup mix to be fed over the inner cover and probably dust for foul brood over the ends of the top bars. Since this is a one year old hive I am trying to use as little Apistan as possible and have only used it in the fall and will probably continue to do so.
When you reverse your brood boxes just be careful not to break up the brood nest. You don't want to have brood in the bottom of the bottom box and the top of the top box.
>>Apistan as possible and have only used it in the fall
I would suggest to use it in the spring, if you are going for one treatment of Apistan. I feel it works better when there is less bees and brood present in the hive. Should only need one strip for your treatment, compared to two in the fall.
I do suggest you treat with oxytetracyclen. But learn how to use it properly. So many people here preich "no chemical use", and thats fine. But there is a place for it to help manage natures dirtyest problems
And everyone had great input.
If using Apistan once per year, I agree with using it in the fall, if at all. Our bee inspector spoke at our meeting last week regarding this, and his points made valid sense for what he hopes to motivate us to do. That is to try and manage varroa without relying totally on drugs, which as Micheal pointed out, may fail in time.
Here is what he had to say to us. Assess your bees in June and July. If that hive is hurting with mites, take it away from the apiary to requeen or destroy (leaving it in the apiary might allow mites to migrate to other hives). Check again in fall and treat hives that made it through the seasons but need some help to survive the winter and treat them with Apistan. The premis is that you are working toward a cleaner hive system by seeing what will befall you in the spring/summer. And using the drugs only in the fall to further reduce your local mite count. Few mights into winter, with fewer brood during winter, may put you ahead next spring.
You really need to start checking the mite load in your hives and treat when you see the population increasing dramatically. You can use a screened bottom with a sticky board to track mite drop over time. Graph the data and watch the trend.
I don't necessarily agree with waiting until fall to treat - it depends on your local conditions and when the queen shuts down brood production. If you wait until say September, the mites may have already seriously weakened/killed the young bees needed to support the October brood cycle - so the queen shuts down egg laying early and the hive goes into winter with a small cluster of older bees (you may find them dead in the spring even with lots of stores available).
I have used Apistan in the past, but decided to switch to resistant bees (mostly feral swarms and some russians) and fumigate with Oxalic acid when there's no other option to save the hive.
I would treat for mites using probably Apistan if I knew the hive was heavily infested in the spring but unfortuately I really have no way of monitoring the mites accuratly because I dont have a sbb I plan on using one for my next hive and other than looking for them on the bees what is or are symptoms I should be looking for other than seeing mites on bees or larvae?
Let's face it. It's a circle. If you treat in the fall then you eliminate the mites that will be sucking the life out of your bees all winter. If you treat in the spring you eliminate the mites that are going to reproduce all year. But IMPOV the mites you are killing in the fall are the SAME mites you are going to kill in the spring except BEFORE they sucked the life of your bees all winter. It's not like there are a lot of mites reproducing during the winter.
From a certain point of view both make sense. Here's another argument for spring. If Apistan is hard on the bees maybe the mites are less hard on them and treating in the spring is only harming bees who will soon be replaced anyway.
If I was going to religously do one treatment regardless of mite count, either fall or spring would work but it probably depends on your end goals. Pickign just one I would opt for fall treatment because more bees will be alive come spring for splitting and such. If I just waited until spring to treat, I would see higher winter loss but as Ian said you can get away with less chemicals for shorter duration come spring. Another downside of spring treatments are the timing for supering. An upside is that you head into the flows with less mites/stronger colonies so you theoretically could make more honey.
However, I dont like to select one time frame. I prefer to do some checking and let them ride as long as possible to keep the stuff away from them instead of running a constant cycle of chemicals in. Which means you may end up treating in spring, summer or fall and 6, 9, 12, 16, 18, 24 months apart. In virtually every case you are putting off the inevitable and have to do something to knock the mites down. I just think its better to push that date off as long as possible.
And no I dont check every hive. I take both random and very specific samples across hives based on yard location, queen source and queen age and make a decision. The decision based on the samplings is to treat or not treat the whole yard. If I had the time, sampling each hive and making more hive specific treatments would be better but I cant devote more resources than I do for monitoring. If you do it for enough years you can get a decent baseline and see the broad trends over time.
..Another downside of spring treatments are the timing for supering.
Right , a very important factor, which is different for everyone. Know your flows