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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Fairfax, VA, USA

    Default Treat with Apiguard? Mite Count High

    I'm a first year beekeeper. I have two hives both commercial mediums (6-box ea) 8-frames. I was noticing one hive, the bees were carrying out their dead and also forcing some out. The yellow jackets are skimming the grass in front of this hive but not so much at the other. Periodically a European Wasp comes by to try pick off one of the bees. I've done a mite count and they one was 250 and the other 450 in 3 day period. I just had Apiguard delivered and am waiting for the shims to arrive so I can apply to the hives.

    I went into the hive all the way down to the brood boxes 9/24 and noticed bees with mites on them and seemed that they were uncapping their brood. I noticed a few bees dragging out a larvae which had a mite on it. There were several bees with deformed wings.

    I wanted to become a beekeeper so sustain my bees and am ready to take aggressive action but one of my mentors is a little reluctant and would prefer to treat with just powdered sugar. His thoughts is that the Apiguard could leave residuals in the hive.

    What are the pros of treating with Apiguard now rather than taking a less aggressive approach? What's better treat the bees or not treat and save your comb from residual effects from the Apiguard?

    Also I spoke to an entomologist from Beltsville, MD and he mentioned the queen stops laying during treatment and during the Fall you want to keep the population up.

    What would be the best approach?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Granby, CT


    A high mite count this late in the season means that what ever measures you took failed.
    At this point you don't have much options. You need to drop that high mite you have and hope. The best way to do it is to use formic Acid Mite Away II tomorrow morning.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Pepperell, MA.


    The pro's of treating now is that you'll at least give your bees a fighting chance. The cons are that it might be too late. At this point in the game, you have a pretty binary decision. Treat or let them die. That being said, I've posted here before that I walked away from a colony once that I had given up on. It wintered over and turned into a wonderful hive. I might have been lucky or maybe I helped the selection process for survivor genes....who knows. But, remember, I walked away thinking it was hopeless so I was certainly not disappointed when things turned out for the better. If I were you, I would treat. Now. Today.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Erie, PA


    I, too, did not want to use harsh chemicals. I have used Apiguard this late in the year, and farther north than you are. Never actually did "before and after" mite counts, but the deformed wings went away, and the colony survived through the winter and did very well the next year.

    I think you probably need to treat, if you want to save this colony. What you use is up to you. I say follow your conscience.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Beltsville, Maryland


    It is possible that the bee and larvae removal you saw were the bees removing drones and drone larvae in preparation for winter. This is happening with my hives here in Beltsville, MD, not too far away from you. I also have the yellow jacket and European hornet behavior you have noted. I am just finishing up an Apiguard treatment now. Since we are likely to have warm days for quite a while, I would expect Apiguard to take out a lot of mites from your hives. I did use powdered sugar before the Apiguard, and it will kill mites, but in your situation I sure would not trust it to get me through winter. Ideally Apiguard is done in two treatments, so that you not only get the mites on the bees, but also any that are currently in the sealed brood. Apiguard will also help with Tracheal mites. The hives will smell strongly of thymol and the bees will probably beard for a while, but they seem to get used to it and get on with life.

    Apiguard will make the honey smell of Thymol (think Listerine), but not poison it. The New Zealnd government has written, regarding Apiguard: "MRL’s: In the EU, thymol is a group II non-toxic veterinary drug that does not require a MRL. Nevertheless, thymol does leave taste residues in honey and wax, although the residues do not persist for long periods of time. The Swiss have set an MRL for thymol of 0.8ppm to ensure honey does not exceed the taste threshold of 1.1ppm. When continuous evaporators are used, there is a chance of thymol residues in honey above this level, although the chance is slight. Thymol is not recommended for application during the honeyflow." The bottom line seems to be that no one would want to eat honey smelling of Apiguard, but it would nonetheless be harmless, and the smell will dissipate from both combs and honey.

    Incidentally, this is my first post on Beesource. I started keeping bees this year with two hives. I am starting to understand the addictive character of this hobby that people mention!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Northern VA USA

    Default Welcome aboard!

    Austransplant...welcome to the boards. Nice post too.



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