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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Horseheads, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default First Mite Count

    1st year with the bees and ‘gave the girls a bath’ this weekend. Both hives were new from packages this year (May 1st) and both have two deeps. I didn’t separate the boxes and used 2 cups of powdered sugar on each by sifting through a large screen and then brushing what ended up on top of the frames down. I put an oiled board under my screened bottom boards and counted after a half hour. Hive 1 had 35 and hive 2 had 70. I cleaned and replaced the board and after 24 hours found 20 on hive 1 and 38 on hive 2. Most of them were dark and found a few tan ones. Are these numbers in the acceptable limits and should I (when?) do it again before winter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,779

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    Depending on how big the colonies are, the numbers are probably fine. I would do it again in a week and then a week after that. You're knocking down mites from bees while there's still plenty of mites in the brood. As the brood emerges, you'll have more mites to work on. Also, I don't depend on single drop counts. Best to get a feel for your mite load over a few drops.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,287

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    And shouldn't one do mite drop counts w/out the sugar treatment too? I believe that the natural mite drop counts will indicate something too.

    How effective are powered sugar treatments a killing mites? Does anyone have an idea of what percentage of adult mites are killed by this treatment method?

    I wonder what sort of numbers Watchdog would have had had an ether roll or alcohol wash test been done?

    I think Ravenseye is right. Once a week.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,779

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    Straight drops are important as well. Sugar doesn't kill them, just helps them lose grip and drop off. During the summer, I use sugar and don't always count. I just let them drop through the screened bottom board. To me, the trend is more important than the actual count. And I also think that sugar is only part of an overall approach to mites.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,194

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    I've heard
    A 10-15 minute accelerated powdered sugar drop, is similar to a 24 hour count. When doing it that way there's no reason to grease the board.
    Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Horseheads, ny
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    Thanks everyone. I'm not in a comfort zone for a wash test yet, maybe next year. I'll do sugar again next week and the week after. I'd like to keep the bees as chemical free as I can, is there any other mite control options that don't involve chemicals?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,287

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    Well, there are chemicals and there are chemicals. Formic acid and oxolic acid are chemicals. Their use is not considered detrimental to chemical residue build up in wax or honey. Formic is already present, from what I understand.

    There is always the nontreatment method. Check out Michael Bush's site.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: First Mite Count

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchdog2020 View Post
    I'd like to keep the bees as chemical free as I can, is there any other mite control options that don't involve chemicals?
    Yes, you can buy a special drone-size foundation frame and put it in your top brood deep. Then when there are a lot of capped drone brood, you scrape the tops off, thus killing those drone brood. The bees will drag the dead brood out of the hive, along with the developing mites that are attached to the the dead pupae. Varroa mites tend to prefer breeding in drone cells, so this system helps cut down on mites breeding. Usually there are quite a few drone cells naturally scattered on other frames as well, and I just leave those be. You do need some drones around. But culling a large percent of drone brood on the special drone frame is another way of combating mites without using chemicals.

    I have been culling drone brood, using open screen bottoms, but not using sugar dusting. I also sometimes use essential oil grease patties...but that's technically 'using chemicals'.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

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