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  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Default Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Here is the scenario: Over wintered hive with a hybrid Russian queen. Came through winter strong. Thursday I did a sugar roll and got 4 mites. I have also noticed some bees with distorted wings being removed from the hive.

    Is this a high mite count for so early in the spring?

    What treatment free treatments are option?

    Remove queen to break brood cycle?

    Make multiple splits and remove and remove any queen cells made and re-queen 10-14 days later?

    I'm probably just going to monitor at this point and see what happens.

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Fayetteville, Arkansas
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    5,013

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    What treatment free treatments are option?
    I'm sorry, what?
    Quote Originally Posted by TWall View Post
    Remove queen to break brood cycle?
    Make multiple splits and remove and remove any queen cells made and re-queen 10-14 days later?
    I'm probably just going to monitor at this point and see what happens.
    If they are strong, let them go and see what happens. Splitting couldn't hurt as well, gives you more hives to work with.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Treatment free mite treatments....is an oxymoron. Can not have it both ways.

    Sometimes ya just have to do what you have to do to save your hive...if this is your intent. Otherwise let live or die.

    If you are going treatment free, and you are seeing dwv, might as well shake them out and clean up the boxes and order a new package.

    If this is not what you want to do, post in the disease and pest forum for advice

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Treatment free mite treatments,
    I disagree, in my opinion removing the queen from the hive, & starting her in a nuc is a treatment free option.
    I'm not treatment free so I would use powdered sugar a three times per week after removing the queen.
    The only reason I suggest this is because you're hive is in very bad shape, & probably won't make it without some manipulation, & the mildest treatment option.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    1,535

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Quote Originally Posted by KQ6AR View Post
    Treatment free mite treatments,
    I disagree, in my opinion removing the queen from the hive, & starting her in a nuc is a treatment free option.
    Well since splitting is not considered a 'treatment' under this particular forum's definitions, then it's a treatment free option for reducing mites, but wouldn't be called a 'treatment free treatment'.

    It's something I plan to use myself. Taking the old queen out and making a small nuc with her, leaving most of the population in the original hive. Letting the now queenless hive begin to raise their own new queen from eggs will give them enough broodless time to disrupt the mite breeding cycle. If you don't want more hives, you can always re-combine them again later, keeping the queen of your choice, or sell the nuc. This is just one possible approach. It's possible your mite problem is already too severe for that particular hive to be saved no matter what you do- I wouldn't know.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    302

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    and to add to Omie's comment, add a drone comb into the nucleous so that the old queen fills it out with drone larvae. add it to the original hive and now you are in mite catching business.

    I believe the orignal poster meant to say chemical free treatment

  7. #7
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    Nov 2009
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Not trying to contradict you Aram, but if you are making a 5 frame nuc with only two frames of brood and two of stores (and maybe a drawn comb or a frame feeder), I'd think the queen will want to (and need to) be laying worker brood as much as she can at first. I wonder if she'd even bother to lay drones under those severe conditions?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    302

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    your point is not without merit. maybe a drone frame from another hive can be utilized for that purpose then.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Drone brood harvesting can be surprisingly effective if done right.

    Takes a while though so as you already have DWV the time factor may be an issue.
    Is there dead brood? That marks the point when there are so many mites that more than one is going into a larval cell, and sucking the larvae to death.

    However rather than simply let the hive die you could at least give drone brood removal a shot.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
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    395

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    TWall,
    That number of mites would not concern me at this point with my bees.
    What are you running, foundation, natural comb or ?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    24,455

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Wow, really? Seems early in the season for that many mites to me. How many bees were in the sample?

    Sure, you could let it be. Or you could do the drone brood killing method, like Roland does. Killing the drone brood every 15 days by scraping it and replacing it.

    Or the powdered sugar dusting technique.

    Whatever you do, imo, doing nothing will result in more mites earlier than you'd like.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    689

    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    My sample had between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of bees. I was shooting for 300 bees. For discussion lets say I over-estimated and there were only 200 bees. That works out to 2 mites per 100. Doubled for brood gives 4 mites per 100.

    That sounds like it is below any treatment threshold I have read.

    The compounding factor was the evidence of bees with DWV being expelled from the hive.

    Does sugar dusting really reduce mite loads? I seem to remember a study, from UF?, that showed it had no impact.

    I don't have the resources to make splits to break the brood cycle. The idea of pulling the queen with a small split to break the brood cycle is interesting. If we are moving into a nectar flow might this give the added benefit of increasing honey production since there won't be brood to care for?

    I will check drone brood the next time I get into the hive. At this point I'm more concerned about swarming than crashing from mites. That may be naive!

    Tom

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Wether sugar dusting has any impact depends on how it's done.

    Typically around 85% of mites that are in a hive are in the brood, which leaves only 15% available to be removed by sugar dusting. And even then you won't get the whole 15%.

    There was a thread a few months ago by a guy who believed he had cleaned a badly infested hive by constant sugar dusting, every 3 days until he had almost no mites in the hive. But someone asked him if he would do it again, he said he found it an interesting experiment but would not do it again, way to much work.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Another thing to keep in mind is that heavy dusting can cause a break in the brood cycle and even force a supercedure... this is the reason that I personally do not recommend it. Although the mechanics of dusting heavily can indeed remove many mites from the colony, it also can lead to issues within the colony that may or may not be able to be overcome, depending on the type of operation and the hive itself. For a fairly hygienic and strong colony, the dust can be cleared quite quickly, but at the same time, simply confining the queen or moving her to a nuc for a short period can interrupt the brood cycle long enough to have the same effect... again, so long as the colony is fairly hygienic.

    For those that do dust, I would suggest moving the queen to a nuc, waiting nine days, then destroy any e-cells and dust the hive well... repeat three days later, then once again three days after that... give them enough time to clean up... then return the queen to the colony. This will give you the most effective dusting, without risking looking the queen, keeping some fresh brood being reared in the nuc, and interrupting the brood cycle within the colony long enough to work the majority of the mites out of the cells...

    I haven't had a chance to read back into the thread, but was dusting decided to be a treatment for the purpose of this forum? Don't mean to give info on a treatment method on a treatment free forum, just wasn't sure if it was considered a treatment... sorry if I goofed!

    Again, I do not recommend dusting, for several reasons.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Once per week dusting will not lower you're mite load, that's what the studies concluded. 3 times per week, for 3 weeks in a broodless hive will take it very low.
    Last fall someone on here from Berkley CA, had the same problem, & wrote a very detailed thread of how he saved the hives with PS. Don't remember his screen name. I'll try to find it for you.
    Dan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Just checked the rules, sugar dusting is considered a treatment in this forum.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Oops! Scratch that then.

    How about drone culling?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Drone culling is not considered a treatment in this forum.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #19
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Then strike the drone brood every 12-14 days. Get on it! No slacking!!

    Crazy Roland

  20. #20
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Treatment Free Mite Treatments

    Yep. You could do it on regular frames, or you could use drone comb. It takes longer to work the drone comb in, but that's the way that I recommend... hives get really nice and burr free pretty quick... I will post some methods that I have found that work well for creating booming hives that are clean and uniform by using drone comb.

    Whatever way you go about it, just try to keep the hives alive and reproducing naturally (can give some tips on how to do this without losing any swarms)... the longer you can keep this up, the stronger their resistances will become, and the less work you will have to do later on to keep them alive.

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