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Thread: T-mite panic

  1. #1
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    Extensively got into the hive today, tons of bees, lots of stores, no eggs or brood but saw the queen. All seems well EXCEPT for large numbers of K-winged bees on the frames. I mean like ten or more per side on a full frame (very rough estimate, maybe I'm overrreacting, but alarming to me at any rate).

    I put a menthol packet on, though it's frequently too cool. I figured on too-cool days it'll just not be effective, and some days it will work. I've had nonmedicated grease patties on all winter. This is a new NWC queen (August) from Kona in Hawaii.

    HELP! Anything else I can be doing? More aggressive medications? Sacrifice to Ah Mucan Cab? I'll try most anything to keep them going. It's my only hive though I'm planning on splitting, so time is of little matter to me as a hobbyist.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  2. #2
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    It is my understanding that the methol packs are only effective when the outside temperature is 60-80 degree F. Have you considered using the paper towel method for delivering menthol? You dissolve 1.8 ounces of menthol in warm (not hot) canola oil (1 pint). Place a paper towel in the mixture to soak up the solution. Save the remainder of the solution for later use. Place one saturated towel on the top bars of the brood chamber. Change the towel every 2 wks or as needed. This method is much less dependent upon outside temperature and may buy you some time.

  3. #3
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    FMGO fog seems to be pretty effective.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
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    Ben

    Don’t panic, if your bees have T-mites I think there is nothing you can do during winter.

    They are old bee and die as soon as they can go out on a warm day. I would say Thymol is a much better mite killer than menthol. As soon as the temperatures above 15ºC/60ºF fill two table spoon Thymol in a bag made from fabrics and put it cross the brood frames. Let the bag in for 4 weeks, this kill both kind of mites. Close the screen bottom and reduce the entrances.

    That’s what I would do in an emergency.

  5. #5
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    Can FGMO be used when supers are on? Can anyone recommend a beginner's intro to using the foggers, with/without Thymol? My searches come up with a skillion threads but can't seem to find a "hold my hand" dummies' thread [img]smile.gif[/img] .
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  6. #6
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    Ben,
    I don't have the answers but for what it's worth, I'm walking this same path with you. I've just noticed the last few days (finally warm enough for flights) several bees dragged and dumped from the hive with shriveled wings. Also noticed from 10-20 bees late in the crawling up grass blades with obvious K wings and unable to fly. I'll be watching this thread closely.......

    David

  7. #7
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    >Can FGMO be used when supers are on?

    Yes.

    >Can anyone recommend a beginner's intro to using the foggers, with/without Thymol?

    I've only done it without. Just buy the Mineral Oil Laxative at the local pharmacy. Buy a propane fogger. Put the Mineral oil in the reservoir. Light the fogger. Wait for it to warm up when it will make a nice fog when you pull the trigger, go fill the hives will fog. If you pull a telescopic cover off you'll see it pour out the inner cover hole when it's full.

    > My searches come up with a skillion threads but can't seem to find a "hold my hand" dummies' thread [Smile]

    There probably isn't one. We used to refer them to Dr. Rodriguez's articles, but they have been removed, I assume at his request.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    http://www.beesource.com/pov/rodriguez/abjjan2003.htm

    Check out the picture!

    [size="1"][ February 26, 2006, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: The Honey House ][/size]

  9. #9
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    Have you guys dissected any of the k-wing bees or sent them in to a lab to have tracheal mites confirmed? I know t-mites are the most likely culprit that causes k-wing, but I have seen k-wing bees around some hives on cold days that, when dissected, did NOT have tracheal mites.

    Otherwise, if they do have t-mites and have made it through the winter to this point, you might want to wait until the weather warms up to treat.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2005
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    I use the fogger with Thymol and mineral oil when supers are on and it does fine at Dr. Rodriguez suggestions. I haven't seen a problem with K wings yet. Grease patties with granulated suger should work for tracheal mites.
    Glad to be a part of this fourm

  11. #11
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    Ben, I hate to see you feeling railroaded off the FGMO cliff.
    In fact, I would reccommend other methods that are documented and used extensivly worldwide.
    For example, a spring formic application.
    Or NoviceBees' method:
    >>>It is my understanding that the methol packs are only effective when the outside temperature is 60-80 degree F. Have you considered using the paper towel method for delivering menthol? You dissolve 1.8 ounces of menthol in warm (not hot) canola oil (1 pint). Place a paper towel in the mixture to soak up the solution. Save the remainder of the solution for later use. Place one saturated towel on the top bars of the brood chamber. Change the towel every 2 wks or as needed. This method is much less dependent upon outside temperature and may buy you some time.<<<

    Do a google search on Tracheal Mites, and you will find some great articles.
    You have read several suggestions of FGMO.
    I just wanted you to read at least one post that says, consider something else.

    At any rate, I think you may find a large fan of crawling bees in the grass on your next warm fly day. The colonys' ability to cover brood will be reduced.
    If so, You may consider dropping to a single box and beginning spring treatments when possible.
    When you return to 5 - 6 frames of bees then you can think about a 2nd story.
    Good Luck!

    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  12. #12
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    Jan 2005
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    >>I have seen k-wing bees around some hives on cold days that, when dissected, did NOT have tracheal mites.<<
    Interesting observation Kieck- I have scrounged around the house looking for the kids microscope without success. Just figured t mites to be the obvious case. Wonder if my coddington lens will magnify enough? Got plenty of experience dissecting in College so that isn't a problem.

    David

  13. #13
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    I have used a 20 power magnafying glass to determine if the disected bee is suffering from T mites. Took at 5 to 10 bees to be sure.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  14. #14
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    Hey Stewaw, deformed wings are caused by varroa mites (or the deformed-wing-virus pathogen they carry), not trachael mites. Your hive probably has a heavy infestation of varroa mites. To have a chance at survival this year you probably need to treat with formic acid asap.
    Triangle Bees

  15. #15
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    K-wing and Deformed wing virus are two entirely different diseases.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  16. #16
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    T-MITE SYMPTOMS - Like most bee problems, Acarine disease can be severe in a weak colony during high stress period of late winter or early spring (no one is sure whether mites cause the weak colony or weakness encourages the mite population) [Ref 2, p194].

    There are no specific outward signs of the disease [Ref 16, p58]. Infested individuals usually behave normally and forage actively for nectar and pollen Ref 15, p137].

    External signs are unreliable but include the following: [Ref 15, p137].
    • One of the first symptoms of Acarine disease is the presence of bees in front of hive, crawling aimlessly about [[Ref 1, p183, Ref 15, p137, Ref 16, p58] lacking ability to fly [Ref 4, p151]. And/or bees climbing on stalks of grass, trying to fly, instead falling to the ground [Ref 1, p183] and they do not fly when released from an elevated position [Ref 16, p58].

    As disease increases during late spring and early summer, number of "crawlers" increases and colony population decreases (dwindling population [Ref 15, p137]) until it dies.

    Bees stumbling around on ground near hive may be confused w/ behavior of Nosema or effects of poisoning [Ref 13, p376, Ref 16, p58]. Inability to fly, unhooked wings, and dysentery are general symptoms associated w/ many diseases. In most cases, a microscopic examination is required to make a proper diagnosis [Ref 12, p1084].

    • Crawling bees may have wings partially opened as if dislocated [Ref 16, p58]. This K-wing phenomenon in which afflicted bee’s wings at rest are not folded horizontally backward over the abdomen, but instead angle out, w/ the fore and hind wings on each side separated, forms the letter “K” w/ bee’s body [Ref 4, p151 and Ref 12, p137]. See Ref 16, p44 for photo [DLW]. (K-wing symptom not as reliable as “crawling bees” in early spring issuing from colony [BC, 10/02, p20].)
    • Bees abscond in early spring [Ref 15, p137] or in late fall despite ample honey stores [Ref 1, p183].
    • Poor clustering in cold weather. If colony dies, bees may be found randomly throughout hive bodies (instead of in a cluster), usually w/ plenty of honey on hand [Ref 4, p151].
    • There is a tradition associating A. woodi w/ outbreaks of acute disease (Acute Bee Paralysis and Chronic Bee Paralysis), however, T-mites do NOT cause any striking effect by enabling (these) airborne pathogens to invade the hemolymph of bees [Ref 16, p67].


    DEFORMED WING VIRUS (DWV, Shrunken Wing Virus [ABJ, 12/05, p955]) - Not to be confused w/ “K-wing”, a symptom associated w/ tracheal mites [DLW]. First detection in U.S. was made by USDA, Beltsville, MD, September 2003 [ABJ 7/04, p558]. DWV causes wings of young bees and pupae to become deformed, an effect often thought to be caused by mite feeding. However, mite feeding does cause other bee deformities [Ref 15, p136]. Not all deformed wings in Varroa-infested pupae are caused by DWV, and pupae w/ high levels of DWV also often do not display deformed wings
    [http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pest-...es/control.htm – p17, Accessed 8/1/05].

    Having DWV does NOT cause bees to emerge from the pupa state w/ deformed wings, nor does it cause colony deaths. The combination of mite infestation and DWV does cause deformed wings in about a quarter of the emerging bees. This, however, does NOT lead to sudden hive collapse [ABJ, 7/05, p544]. A virus that is 99% the same as DWV appears in the brains of aggressive guard bees [ABJ, 7/05, p544].

    DWV occurs far earlier (less mites) than APV. When symptoms of DWV are recognized, treat for varroa at once [http://www.biavl.dk/english/varroa-english/Outline.htm]. Remove and destroy all brood (removes virus) and treat w/ Oxalic acid. Feed 1:2 sugar/water to stimulate queen to lay [Beesource.com, Forum 1, HTML 002183].

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the excellent post Dave. I'm fairly certain it's T mites and not varroa. Varroa counts were fairly high going into fall (despite careful/judicious use of powdered sugar) and after chemical treatment (Apistan) 24 hour counts dropped to less than 2 mites after removal of strips. Current 24 hour varroa counts are less than 1/day (three day average). This hive went into the winter VERY poor and no doubt under considerable stress. My largest mistake was not dropping them into a five frame nuc for the winter. The observable symptoms mimic the diagnostic symptoms above. The "good news" is that the last two days have had temps in the 70's and TONS of new bees flying and bringing in pollen- only saw three crawlers. I've slapped on grease patties and decided to let her ride....If the hive makes it, they'll be stronger, if not- packages coming soon. Who was it that said "start with two hives???" man I must have been sleeping during that lecture.

    Thanks,
    David

  18. #18
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    "Your hive probably has a heavy infestation of varroa mites. To have a chance at survival this year you probably need to treat with formic acid asap." -db_land

    Why formic acid specifically? Formic acid is a pretty drastic, relatively dangerous treatment, for both bees and beekeepers.

  19. #19
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    The only time I've observed bees with deformed wings (as in "shriveled wings", not k-wings) actively crawling from a hive is when the hive has a heavy varroa mite load. Usually the only way to save a hive that has reached this level of infestation is with drastic action. The most drastic action (IMO) is formic acid specifically because it's the only treatment that will immediately kill the varroa hiding and breeding in the brood cells (which is about 60% of the mite load) as well as the phoretic mites. So the bees can start raising mite free brood asap which might be soon enough to prevent the population from dwindling to zero.

    Dave says the hive doesn't have a varroa problem so my advice is moot anyway.
    Triangle Bees

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