Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Varroa Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amarillo, TX
    Posts
    382

    Default Varroa Question

    I posted this in Beekeeping 101 but got no response so thought I'd try over here. I really need some advice.

    I have a hive that is probably suffering from Varroa. I see quite a few crawling bees and tomorrow I'll put a sticky board on the SBB to see what the varroa count is. This hive is all mediums and there are currently five boxes in the stack. There is a flow going on and the bees are doing pretty well with filling the supers. I plan to harvest in the next week or two and there is a possiblity to harvest a final time in late August. These bees are in my back yard in town so there is always plenty for them to forage on. Other than the crawling bees, the activity around the entrance appears to be that of a normal, slightly weak hive. Question, what should I do about the Varroa if the population is pretty high? I wouldn't want to treat with anything that would prevent me from collecting the last August harvest, but on the other hand, I don't want to lose the hive because I failed to act in time. I didn't treat but two of my hives last fall, (thymol treatment) and I lost two of my strongest, including the swarm hive that got me started in this wonderful hobby. I certainly believe in minimal treatment and I normally don't treat unless I detect a real problem, like I may have now. I now have 14 hives and all are decendents of swarms that I collected so I want to do everything to maintain the natural vigor of the hives. Treat or let only the strongest survive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,162

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    I don't know if you could treat with anything but powdered sugar, if you want to harvest the honey.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    If you medicate then reproduce the next generation is likely to need the same treatment. Sound husbandry requires you reproduce only from the strongest strains. 'medicine' in this case is like heroine. Its a drug that fixes a need, but doesn't solve a problem

    If you have beekeepers in your area who medicate they will be weakening your bees with their drones. If you have wild bees they will be strenthening yours. Do what you can to strengthen your wild bees.

    Bear in mind we will have varroa with us for a long time now. The trick is to have bees that can live with it. If you medicate you will tend to raise bees that can't live with it.

    You''ve started out right. You may fail.

    Read this:
    Producing Varroa-tolerant Honey Bees from Locally Adapted Stock: A Recipe, By E.H. Erickson, L.H. Hines, and A.A. Atmowidjojo http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/publ/tolerant2.html

    and look over my website (url below)

    Good luck,

    Mike
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 07-10-2009 at 04:52 AM. Reason: excessive quote
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Mike, is pretty smart, but he is bit of an extremist so relax.......

    To keep and use the honey powered sugar dusting is the only good plan. Get a window screen, and sift about a cup. to a cup and a half over the hive.. It will trickle down..... Do it once a week for three weeks (4 is better) A bit of powdered sugar will be in the honey, but such small amounts its not an issue.

    That should knock the Varroaback far enough to let teh hive get back to at least close to normal.... Also look into some drone comb for mite control for later. probably won't help much this late in teh year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Powdered sugar just releases some of the phoretic mites and then they crawl back onto the bees.
    Buy a queen with some good genetics and start using an IPM approach.
    I can not tell you how many hives have been lost because of the powdered sugar.
    Regards,
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    Buy a queen with some good genetics
    Being a new beek, I was just wondering how you would know if you were buying a queen with good hygienic genetics? Are there queen producers who specialize in that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Quote Originally Posted by GatorBeeGal View Post
    Being a new beek, I was just wondering how you would know if you were buying a queen with good hygienic genetics? Are there queen producers who specialize in that?
    Yes there are....... many. There are specific lines that
    are bred for hygienic behavior. Like Prof Spivak's Minn
    Hygienics, Russians, or the new VSH/SMR lines.

    Here's a link to Glenn Apiaries and they sell AI queens.
    The info on the lines is helpful though.

    http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/smr.html

    Also adding powdered sugar to bees during a flow can contaminate
    the honey with sugar....... a small amount, but it can.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Yes, we are ahead of the game of improved genetics compared to 1980!
    Regards,
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gainesville, FL, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Holy cow! That's an expensive queen!!! I'm sure it's well worth it though.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    They sell queens intended for breeding purposes.
    Unless your wealthy you don't just pop these in
    all your colonies.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,304

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    I can not tell you how many hives have been lost because of the powdered sugar.
    I've got to call you on that one. If you have a screened bottom boards (SBB) the mites that are knocked off fall out of the hive. I've been using powdered sugar treatments (PST) for 4 years now and with sticky boards I can see how many mites fall off with and without PST. Is it effective as the only varoa control? No. It is effective though at reducing numbers of phoretic mites. I do also use drone removal as well a OA vaporization (late Fall) but to quickly reduce the mite load without contaminating the honey flow with a chemical pesticide the best bet is PST. I use PST, SBB, Drone removal and OA vaporization effectively for my hives.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Quote Originally Posted by GatorBeeGal View Post
    Holy cow! That's an expensive queen!!! I'm sure it's well worth it though.
    yup..... But they are good people to deal with..... however look on there site for breeders.... (there is a link) and get a 20.00 queen from one of the breeders... almost same genetics but not AI breed....


    As for mites crawling back on bees after the sugar, NOT if you use Screened bottom boards....

    THat is also the reason to do it 3 weeks in a row... you reduce the adult mites (who lay the eggs) each week as new ones hatch. Setting the mites back and interupting the brood cycle of the mite. It will get you thru the season so you can get a new queen up and running.

    Check OUt MDA splitter .com.. Mel Dissolken does a great job explaining mite lifecycle there.... Keep in mind your trying to get the hive thru honey produection and mid summer....

    Your only real option with a sever mite load and still saveing the honey is the sugar, or removeing supers until meds like apistan take hold .... which defeats your stated goal.....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    I tend to agree with Mike on the no treatment thing. I'm straight edge on my bee hives, cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, dogs and cats. Sheep are a great example of how man has created a huge dependence problem for livestock. Many breeds of sheep cannot birth anymore without human intervention in the birthing process, i.e. the sheep cannot birth successfully without assistance. This is the result of thousands of years of humans aiding sheep in birthing process. My sheep are expected to birth without assistance. If I have one that has a problem, she goes to the sale if she lives through it. Consequently, in a short amount of time I have sheep that can birth themselves. I think we need this approach in bees.

    Don't medicate. Select for survival.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    If I have one that has a problem, she goes to the sale if she lives through it.

    Don't medicate. Select for survival.


    How do you select for survival from non-surviving bees? Sometimes you have to medicate/intervene to still have living bees to select from. Medication, powdered sugar, drone brood removal, splitting, etc are all human intervention which help keep populations alive.

    Bumble bees make honey, and I haven't heard of varroa devastating bumble bee populations. Selection for survival may leave us only bumble bees for honey production. (Keep in mind bumblebee honey production is measured in ounces per year.) Do we really want that?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,673

    Default Re: Varroa Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    If I have one that has a problem, she goes to the sale if she lives through it.

    Don't medicate. Select for survival.


    How do you select for survival from non-surviving bees? Sometimes you have to medicate/intervene to still have living bees to select from. Medication, powdered sugar, drone brood removal, splitting, etc are all human intervention which help keep populations alive.


    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    Bumble bees make honey, and I haven't heard of varroa devastating bumble bee populations. Selection for survival may leave us only bumble bees for honey production. (Keep in mind bumblebee honey production is measured in ounces per year.) Do we really want that?
    Bumblebees are selected naturally. Those strains that live, reproduce. Those that don't live don't reproduce. Future generations come from the strains that have lived and reproduced. Please do TRY to understand.... It is SOOO simple!

    Mike

    Producing Varroa-tolerant Honey Bees from Locally Adapted Stock: A Recipe, By E.H. Erickson, L.H. Hines, and A.A. Atmowidjojo http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/publ/tolerant2.html
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads