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  1. #1
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    Jun 2010
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    Default How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Previously,,,I just treated for mites seasonally as directed by the miticide I was using. I am moving to "as needed" so I need to do mite samples. I see pics with bees in jars and various containers and different means,,,sugar,alcohol,ether,,, to dispatch the mite from the bees and count the mites. A thread here showed 1/3 cup or 300 bees with a formula a % to make decisions etc. which seems reasonable place to start.
    On a hobbyist scale, checking each hive might me possible but it would seem a large scale hobbyist might find it impractical. Would you sample 1 in 5? Do you take your samples from the brood nest or if you could snag them from the entrance, would that be an acceptable source. If you knew you were the only beekeeper and there were no feral hives in your area,,,,set up a feeding station, collect a sample from them use it and expect as accurate results as any other sample?
    How do you get the bees in the sample container? The obvious is brush them in. I going to wear the leather gloves to do this since this will most likely agitate them. I can just see my clumsy self with big gloves, jar in one hand, brush the other, brush them in, try to pick up the lid and get it screwed on
    Thoughts?????Ideas??? NOOOOO,,I'm not getting out of beekeeping
    thanks
    Rick SoMd

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
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    829

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Rick why you’re not evaporating OA one time? It takes you not longer than 2 minutes per hive and you know how many mites you have in the hive. You will find them on a sticky board in a few days and they are DEAD. OA kills all mites outside closed cells. With the other methods you also can find out how infested the hive is but they are still in the hive damaging bees.

  3. #3
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    Jun 2010
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    I'll plead ignorance here what is OA? Plus, I do not use SBB.
    Thanks
    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    276

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Hi Rick,

    Here`s how you do it. Take bees sample from brood frames, not honey frames. Shake bees off 2 or 3 brood frames into a wide container. I use a square plastic tub. Make sure and I repeat MAKE SURE the queen is not among these bees. If possible find the queen first to make sure you are not taking her in your sample. You have to work quickly because the shaken bees will have a tendency to fly away but enough of them will remain in the tub for the sample. You want to take 2-3 frames so you get an overall picture of what`s going on in the hive. After you shook the frames take the tub and bang it on the ground to force the bees in one corner. Now scoop them up with a 1/2 cup measuring cup and put them in a mason jar.

    The trick is to work quickly and purposefully. Once the bees are in the mason jar just add about a half of a cup of wood (rubbing) alcohol and shake the bees for a good 10 minutes. I mean shake them. Don`t just swirl them around. You want to dislodge the mites from the bees. Then drain the mess through a coarse sieve to catch the bees but let mites go through. Strain them into another white container otherwise you won`t be able to see the mites. Count the mites. Treat as per your area and season thresholds.

    Luc
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    1,696

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    You know those urine sample bottles....get the larger one...ask your lab for a few.
    Take the bottle and a brood frame...no queen...and either in an upward motion or a downward motion...seen both done, move the jar across the frame of bees, close lid....next hive...same jar. You need a sample of about 300 bees. That is about a 2/3 full jar. Then add some windshield washer fluid...good to -30C or rubbing alcohol.
    Shake the tar out of the jar for 8 minutes, or let set for 1/2 hour.
    Then take a wide mesh strainer. Strain the bees from one jar to another. The mites will go through the strainer, not the bees.
    For the first few times count the bees and then the mites. Once you have an idea of how many bees = 300, just count the mites and divide. Re use the liquid.

    Now if you are a larger beekeeper, one takes a sample from 15% of the hives in a yard. A good cross sample though..some weak hives and some strong hives to get a fairly accurate reading.
    If you are a smaller operator you can take a sample from each hive.
    http://www.capabees.com/main/files/p...athreshold.pdf

    You can also make a shaker jar....take two plastic jars of the same size. Cut the lid tops off so all you have is rings. melt the rings together after inserting screen which will let the mites and the liquid pass. Then you fill one side with liquid, collect bees with the other side put both lids on the jars and shake and then tip and count...wish i could find a pic...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Nassau County, New York, USA
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    239

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    I'll plead ignorance here what is OA? Plus, I do not use SBB.
    Thanks
    Rick
    I think OA is Oxalic Acid. But it is not legal in US. Heavily used in Europe.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rochester, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Here's a way to do it, without killing the bees.

    http://www.extension.umn.edu/honeybe...aMites_155.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    O.K. I'm going to stick my neck out to be cut I guess. Worst is I partly wasted my time and efforts and all that thought me maybe having something on the ball will be dismayed
    When I use to collect insects for my college courses,,,,I made an aspirator collector. A plastic jar with tube out and a shorter tube for a mouth piece. Fitted a faucet screen on the mouth tube so, obviously, you didn't inhale your specimen. Figured why wouldn't this work for bees Put one together and played all yesterday "suckin up" yellow jacket on my Hummingbird feeders. Worked great.( you should have seen the HB applause as I carted those B@#$#$%ds away) Put the as yet un-named contraption in the freezer,,,10 min. later,,,Jacket cicles. BTW,,,There were no YJ today.
    Put on my veil and gloves,,,,figured I'll be makenm mad with what I going to do. I siphoned bees from up inside the hive and the washboarders between two different hives next to each other. Got what I felt was 1/3 cup, put it in the freezer. Ten Min. later, put the bees in a measuring cup. Sure enough,,1/3 cup. Lucky! Put the bees in jar,,,,added alcohol,,,,shook violently for 8 - 10 min. Bees into sieve over a 2 cup measuring cup,,,,,,washed bees with sink sprayer. Poured that into funnel with paper towel. Repeated process with water.
    1 mite
    O.K ,,let me have it
    Rick

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,625

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Rick,
    Get yourself an empty used one pint mayonaisse jar and a can of starting ether. Open your hive and go into the brood chamber. Find a frame of capped brood w/ lots of adult bees on it and w/out the queen. gently scrape the jar across the face of the comvb scooping up bees and not digging into the comb. Easier than it might sound. When you have as many as you want grab the cap, grab the starting fluid, shoot a spritss of fluid into the jar and put the cap on. whioch will take some practice so you don't just shoot the bees out of the jar. Holding the jar by the lid end of the jar shake it back and forth for a while and then let the bees fall to the cap end of the jar and count the mites on the glass. Then throw them away.

    After all that, what is your deciding factor on whether to treat or not?

    Don't take your sample from the face of the hive when bees are bearding. It won't give you a good reading. I did once and found no mites and didn't believe it so I took the sample as described above and got 15 mites.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Hey Mark thanks,
    Most everything I gleaned from the forum and other info suggests 10 or more from a 300 bee sample should treat. The jar scoop is an obvious tech but you have to see me in action know why I might look at other techniques before venturing down the drag the jar across the frame road. The bee sample this time wasn't from bearding bees,, was hoping the young hive bees in the front and just inside would be a suitable sample. Rain tomorrow, so Thurs I'll go in and try a jar tech to compare what I got today,,,,May do the aspirator in the brood to check my data and technique. After all that, i did I got one mite. Hope it's accurate.
    What seems easy for one can be difficult for another. Suppose it's that way for most things we do.

    Rick

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    nix the water.
    did good. strain the alcohol and mites through the strainer...and count

    your asperator idea sounds cool. Our universtiy guys use a shop vac with the same idea. A collector and cup on the end of the hose. They bring an generator for power.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Tx HS
    I think I'm going to play with it some more as long as I can be confident with the results. I've got a hive at another location that has two deeps full of honey. I wouldn't treat with the supers on but it would be nice to sample w/o having to dig down to the brood nest on that one. Be nice to set up multiple bottles that you could disconnect the two tubes and connect to a new sample bottle. Takem home a do them all at once.
    We'll see.
    rick

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Generally your field bees don't carry a representative number of mites, I was ging to say any mites but didn't want to get into an argument, so don't take your sample from near the entrance. Of course, you could always do all the different sampling techniques, keep records of results and report to us which one you liked best.

    I've gotten to where I like the "Don't Look, Just Treat" method. Because, from experience, I know that there are mites present in my hives and even a small number is worth cutting in half or better.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    You can also make a shaker jar....take two plastic jars of the same size. Cut the lid tops off so all you have is rings. melt the rings together after inserting screen which will let the mites and the liquid pass. Then you fill one side with liquid, collect bees with the other side put both lids on the jars and shake and then tip and count...wish i could find a pic...

    Is this what you are looking for?
    http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2009/diary092009.htm

    If you scroll down to the Tuesday September 22nd, 2009 diary posting, Allen Dick details how he was doing the alcohol wash for mites for the Canadian provincial inspection program he was working for.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,574

    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    ... gently scrape the jar across the face of the comvb scooping up bees and not digging into the comb. Easier than it might sound.
    Hey Mark, try this next time:

    Instead of "scooping up", start at the top of the frame and "roll down" the frame with the edge of the jar gently rubbing over the bees.

    Marla Spivak described this technique in a talk, and it didn't make sense to me. I don't do mite counts, so I rarely have a need to scoop bees off frames...but when we were in Arizona for the organic conference, Dee asked me to grab a jar of bees for the apitherapy demo. I figured I'd give it a shot...and it works amazingly well...the bees roll right into the mouth of the jar.

    deknow

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How do U collect bees for mite sample?

    Thanks deknow, I don't do mite counts anymore either, so don't have need of scooping or scraping. But I did do it for 20 years for NYS Ag&Mkts so I have the technique down pretty well and don't do any damage. But thanks for the advice.

    I'd love to get into a bee yard w/ M. Spivak someday too.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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