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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    57

    Post

    I've been reading some of the mite count posts and I have to admit that most of it is way beyond me. I don't have enough time to figure out how to split the atom. I'm kind of a simple guy and need simple guidelines. I guess what I have taken away from it is that I need to keep checking the drop counts regularly, take into consideration the population changes and brood cycles, and look for any noticable increases in fallen mites relative to the time of year. Does that sound about right?

    Anyway, I went out earlier this week, when temps were finally going to go above freezing to near 40 deg, and I slid the trays into the sbb's. My first 24 hour counts were between 25 & 50. I put the trays back in and checked again in three days and there were only a couple more per hive in that amount of time, with warmer temps.

    What I'm wondering is... Is it normal for there to be a temporary increase in drop counts after a cluster breaks up ? Why would there be such a high number for one day and then suddenly very few ?
    To everything there is a season ....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    >Does that sound about right?

    That sounds about right. At some point you need to say "OK, it's time." That decision should be based on evidence that your mite population is growing rapidly, or beginning to grow rapidly, and other considerations such as what kind of treatment you're going to use, whether you have to pull supers and treat or postpone treating and leave the supers on for a few weeks, and whether or not there is brood in the hive or not. Most treatments are more effective when the hive is broodless or nearly so and most of your mites are phoretic. However, you may not have the luxury of waiting for that to happen. Dribbling OA for example is typically reserved for broodless periods because you only do it once and it will kill open brood. OA vapor on the other hand can be used about any time.

    The decision as to when to treat can be difficult to make. I guess I'm inclined to treat sooner rather than later- when I think the mite population is about to explode and well before their population peaks.

    >What I'm wondering is... Is it normal for there to be a temporary increase in drop counts after a cluster breaks up ?

    I don't know. Good question. I can speculate that with the bees tightly clustered, mites might die off and not make it to the bottom board until the cluster loosens up and the bees start moving around. It makes sense, but I can't speak either from experience or by citation. You're going to see fluke counts from time to time- I've seen counts drop considerably in the summer and I don't for a second think it meant I had less mites in my hive.

    Generally, allowing for some variation due to temperature and other factors and not including changes due to treatments, mite drops are fairly constant over time with the caveat that more mites drop when they're reproducing than when they're not.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    A french guy living in Chester, UK
    Posts
    133

    Post

    Could it be because of the high temperature in the center of the cluster?

    I remember in France, when varroa came in about 1980, it was advised to treat any swarms using high temperatures.

    Could this happen here too?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,625

    Post

    There is a method of treatment that involves heating bees and brood in what amounts to an oven, but the temperature required to kill the mites (something like 44C if memory serves me) is much higher than what the bees maintain (34C) in their cluster.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

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