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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    63

    Default HELP! Shiveled wings, varroa

    This is my first year, and I've been trying to keep things chemical free, but I am worried... I have one hive that I checked yesterday that has loads of bees with shriveled wings, and I'd say that 10% of the bees I saw in the hive had a mite on their back. I have a screened bottom board and small cell, but this hive is being hit hard it seems to me. I was thinking of doing a powdered sugar shake, but I am afraid that this won't be enough. Can someone give me a suggestion as to what to do??? I am afraid that this colony won't make it through winter... THANKS!

    -Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default What to do

    The bees are toast. Most valuable is the equipment, save and store carefully for next year. Don't feel bad we've all seen it. If you have other colonies near you may want to eliminate the mites somehow to keep them from migrating.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,761

    Default

    Sugar won't save the day now. If you want to hit it with chemicals, you MIGHT have a chance but most chemical free solutions are only going to cost you time and money. If it were me, I would try formic acid which, to me, is really not a hard chemical so much as it is a preventative agent. If that doesn't work, take your losses in the fall....not in the spring. One other note. A couple of years ago I had a hive like the one you mentioned. I didn't do a thing, thinking that it would crash all by itself. In January, I saw yellow streaks and was impressed by the fact that the bees were still survivors. In March, I saw more yellow streaks and figured that I'd lose them in the spring when lots of beeks lose bees. In April, I had a lot of bees pulling pollen. In June I added a super. In July I added another. In August, I pulled of 35 pounds of honey. The got real low in numbers but never crashed. Today, that's my strongest hive. There is, perhaps, something to be said for survivor colonies.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    63

    Default

    I;d hate to totally give up on them, so maybe I'll try the formic acid. I'll let them give it their best shot, but I am imagining that they'll not make it. There is a hive next door that doesn't seem to be as strong as it was earlier in the year (as far as numbers of bees) but the numbers of mites and shriveled wings are much much much less. Should I hit them with the formic acid as well just to reduce mite numbers? Thanks.

    -mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Mite survey

    Aircooled: One thing is you can't really "check for mites" with your eyeballs. You need to check the natural mitefall on sticky boards or do a sugar or ether roll to get a better idea. By the time they are obvious it's too late.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fairfield, Connecticut
    Posts
    597

    Default

    This is very similar to a problem I am having with one hive. Too much Varroa
    I am doing the powdered sugar thing and will only have to see how things go from there.
    If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. If you build it, they will fill it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,825

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aircooled View Post
    I have a screened bottom board and small cell, but this hive is being hit hard it seems to me. I am afraid that this colony won't make it through winter
    -Mike
    Gee, mites on a small cell hive. I have never heard a small cell beekeeper would admit to having mites.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,384

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I have never heard a small cell beekeeper would admit to having mites.
    Here ya go . . . I got um.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    Saying the bees are toast might be jumping the gun, but the sands in the hour glass are running out. Start formic acid treatment. If the weather donít turn unseasonably cold early you might get them threw the winter. But a little tender loving care is crucial.
    Study up on Integrated Pest management there are no silver bullet for controlling mites, you have to beat them down with brass knuckles. And this can be accomplished without using hard chemicals. Good luck you have nothing to lose but everything to gain, by trying to save them.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,320

    Default

    odfrank,

    Nearly all of my hives are now using small-cell combs, especially in the brood nest. All of my hives have Varroa mites. I know this because I can see them if I look for them. Earlier this season, two hives even showed some PMS symptoms, e.g. a few frames with patches of distressed and dying brood, emerging bees with DWV.

    I requeened them and they recovered nicely. Perhaps it was the break in the brood cycle, or maybe the new open mated Cordovan Italian queens, or both. They still had mites, but I can still say that I haven't lost a hive, though the only treatments I've ever used have been small-cell, and just recently I've been trying some B-401, the wax moth form of Bt toxin to see how it does.

    I don't know if small-cell is a magic bullet, or if it has any effect at all, but it certainly is fun to use small-cell comb for brood rearing. I know that I kept mite infested bees for at least five years before I even knew about Varroa mites and all those hives never had any readily apparent issues. Perhaps if they weren't mite-infested they would have been even more vigorous and productive - I may never know.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    63

    Default

    luckily, we are in the middle of the city, where it stays a few degrees warmer, and they are on a roof, so they benefit from lots of sun. Hopefully they'll pull through. I already ordered the formic acid pads and will place them on next week. Is it too late to requeen? I would imagine in this already weakened hive it'd be too rough on them right now...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Default

    What you see is without a doubt "deformed wing virus" what you do not see are the other dozen nasty viruses that are there also. This hive is doomed It will not make it into winter one day you will come out and there will be a few bees and a bit of honey and a lot of empty comb. Cut your losses now and harvest what you can. Spray the bees with soapy water and store the equipment until next season. This winter build a screened bottom board with a tray for monitoring mite fall.
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    63

    Default

    I've had a SBB in place since day one. I don't know what happened to these girls. The other hive I have isn't half as bad. I feel bad killing them all and don't need the honey, so I'll leave it for them. I'll let mother nature decide and let everyone know what happens on the other side of winter.

    -mike

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Douglasville, GA, USA
    Posts
    70

    Smile Act now

    I had the same problem this year.... Here is what I found after careful research and observation. I noticed this say around late May and the hives were producing shriveled winged bees, but they were also requeening themselves like crazy....it is like they knew something was wrong. So, I did the powder sugar to assist with the mites that I did have (I had mites and at times they were visable but that does not mean they are the main culpret). That helped reduce the mite population and I let them requeen as much as they needed.

    It worked.... around the last week of July & first week of Aug. no more shriveled wings & they stopped requeening.

    However, being we are in fall I would recommend a powder sugar treatment and REQUEEN (buy a Queen fast and get her going). After she is setteled say next week, then start feeding 2 parts sugar in 1 part water... (now be sure not to overfeed so that the queen has room to lay eggs. Feed just enough to get them thinking there is another flow so the queen lays more clean eggs from her stock). But you must act now, you are running out of time.

    Get that new Queen maybe from a different supplier than you did before if that applies, if not just get one now!

    Hope this works, again this is just my observation in what I experienced this year with two of my hives and they are fine now with healthy girls

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    I had the same thing happen this summer. I opted to destroy the hive because the bees emerging were sick. As well the number of shrivelled wings out numbered the healthy bees. I saved the supers, bottom board, innercover and outer lid. I burnt the frames incase it was diseased with nosema or something funky. I did not want robbing to start.

    That was in the summer.
    In the fall, I found two hives with shriveled wings. The shriveled did not exceed the healthly. I requeened and treated with everything. Checkmite, menthol, terymycin and fumagillan in a few days. I noticed when i went to check, there were dead bees that had shriveled wings on the bottom board. the hive seems healthy and alot of mites have dropped onto the menthol board.

    If you are going to use formic, you need to double the treatments if you mites are that bad. Formic works well if the mite counts are not excessive. If they are then you either need to start with something like checkmite or something harsh and then add formic to clean up.
    I would also treat for trachea and nosema and AFB. My reason for this is because if you have varroa, it is easy to get a secondary infection, like trachea or nosema or AFB or EFB. These might go unnoticed if you are just treating what you seen and not what you can not see.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windham,Me,USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Formic ?

    I think that the formic treatment will break the brood cycle for 3 to4 days, also treats for tracheal mites. I would think a grease patty and antibiotic treatment after mite treatment would be in order.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    Honeyshack:

    You are giving very bad advice about the use of formic acid.

    Aircooled:

    Carefully follow the instructions for use of formic acid, do NOT double the dose this is absurd and pointless, and harmful to the bees. As far as the mite count formic acid has a 93% effective rate regardless of the mite count. Also by treating with formic acid for 21 days which is three brood cycles of the mite this will eliminate almost all that are either parabolic or in cells gestating. Formic acid is also very effective against tracheal mites and has shown to knock down nosema.
    I have been using Mite-Away II since it was approved for use in the US, treatment in spring and again in fall and sugar treatment once a month during the summer has greatly improved my hive strength. Along with using mite resistant queens and breeding form my own survivor stock has improved every year my winter survivor rate. It has been several years since I have observed deformed wing syndrome. If your bees donít make it learn form the experience. Check and adjust your management scheme and you will get the upper hand against the critters that make your bees sick.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Bean View Post
    Honeyshack:

    You are giving very bad advice about the use of formic acid.

    Aircooled:

    Carefully follow the instructions for use of formic acid, do NOT double the dose this is absurd and pointless, and harmful to the bees. As far as the mite count formic acid has a 93% effective rate regardless of the mite count. Also by treating with formic acid for 21 days which is three brood cycles of the mite this will eliminate almost all that are either parabolic or in cells gestating. Formic acid is also very effective against tracheal mites and has shown to knock down nosema.
    I have been using Mite-Away II since it was approved for use in the US, treatment in spring and again in fall and sugar treatment once a month during the summer has greatly improved my hive strength. Along with using mite resistant queens and breeding form my own survivor stock has improved every year my winter survivor rate. It has been several years since I have observed deformed wing syndrome. If your bees donít make it learn form the experience. Check and adjust your management scheme and you will get the upper hand against the critters that make your bees sick.
    I did not mean double the strength I meant if it was a three week treatment do 2 treatments back to back. If you % of varroa is high, say 5+ you need a back to back because it will not knock it back enough on one treatment. You will have a problem by mid winter again and hive losses.

    This advice is from the university and ag extension office in our area who speciallizes is bees and diseases.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windham,Me,USA
    Posts
    25

    Default

    BRENT BEAN - Not that I agree with it, I got a flyer in the mail today from a supplier recommending combining checkmite with formic acid treatments for high mite loads.I dont know but that may be what Honeyshack meant?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,696

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jrtrapper View Post
    BRENT BEAN - Not that I agree with it, I got a flyer in the mail today from a supplier recommending combining checkmite with formic acid treatments for high mite loads.I dont know but that may be what Honeyshack meant?
    Yes, sort of. We are being told with high mite counts to either use checkmite and formic to knock them back or a back to back treatment of formic because formic is not strong enough to accomplish the job on high mite levels. As well, formic is so temperature dependant that if the temp gets to cold or too hot, it effects treatment.

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