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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hodgenville, Kentucky, USA
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    29

    Default need help selecting varroa meds

    I would like everyones opinion on the different brands for treatment of varroa mites. Most of the hives I have were treated with apistan strips in the past. Just didn't know much about the other brands and type of application, pros cons etc.. This is my first year and at this moment I haven't done a mite count to see if I even have to treat. Just trying to plan ahead after I take my supers off for the month of August.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,056

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    If you are going to use chemicals you will need to rotate or switch chemicals on a regular basis. Mites and everything else developes resistance. So rotating chemicals will extend the period that they might have any effect.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,034

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Treatment ranges from doing nothing (only the strong survive) to using strong chemicals such Apistan and Checkmite (fluvalinate & coumophos). In between are a wide variety of options. Many beeks wanting to avoid chemicals use powdered sugar. There are also thymol products such as ApiGuard. New this year are HopGuard and Mite-Away Quick Strips. Other beeks use formic acid or oxalic acid. Do some searches on any of those and you'll have plenty of reading.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,562

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    I did a little presentation to my bee club on this subject a month ago, which caused me to investigate this exact question. Here are my thought, for what they are worth, which I will leave to you to decide:

    The first question is whether you want to treat at all. I'm not going into that subject, which is really a matter of personal philosophy. You can run over to the treatment free forum if you want to read about the benefits of not treating. However, I would add that, if you are a starting beekeeper with a few hives, a good way to get discouraged would be for all of your hives to croak. I would also add that you would be way ahead in the game if you would find a source for queens from a queen producer that does not treat. It is becoming clearer and clearer that genetics alone can conquer varroa problems.

    I will not get into the small/natural cell debate. I would suggest that if you are interested in that, read Michael Bush site but also do a search on here for Jennifer Berry's small cell studies, read everything and make up your own mind. (I would also suggest that you read Michael Bush's site whether or not you are interested in small cell beekeeping, because he's got a ton of good info that applies to general beekeeping.)

    I will say that my personal approach is to count mites, only treat those hives that need treatment and to also requeen hives that need treatment. My goal is to keep hives alive but still try to eliminate the genetics of hives that can't cope with mites on their own.

    If you decide to treat, then, IMO, Thymol products, Apigaurd in particular, is probably the all-around best approved mite treatment. The new Hopguard sounds interesting, but I've never used it and I've yet to see any very clear statistics about its effectiveness. When it gets approved in my state, I will give it a try. My understanding is that thymol may be slightly less effective than some other options. The reality is that there could be a significant difference in the rebound of the mite population between a 90% kill and a 97%, so this is a real consideration.

    MAQS is effective, but it's pretty hard on the bees, IMO. There is a chance you will lose your queen if you use MAQS. That is not really a problem if you intend to requeen anyway.

    Oxalic acid probably is a good treatment option, but it is not approved. Unless you have a fogger, then the best way to use that is to dribble an OA solution over the bees, but that is done in winter when there is no brood, so OA is not a good option for hobby beekeepers in the summer.

    The reality is that Fluvalinate/Apistan is not "hard" on the bees and actually is less toxic to mammals than some of the so-called "soft" treatments. However, it builds up on comb and resistance is an issue. You could have mites that are resistant to fluvalinate, and treating with it will not work. IMO, the terms "hard" and "soft" treatment to refer to synthetic vs. natural are misleading terms. I personally do not care if a treatment is synthetic or natural -- I want to know whether it works, is safe and does not cause problems for the hive/bees. That being said, Apistan has issues, just mentioned, that keep me from using it.

    Coumaphos/Checkmite is much more toxic, at least to mammals, than is Fluvalinate. It has the same problems as Fluvalinate -- builds up in comb and resistance. Also, Coumaphous and Fluvalinate may interact, making residual Fluvalinate more poisonous. Basically, the bees (and people) have an enzyme in their bodies that deactivate Fluvalinate, and Coumaphos blocks that enzyme. I would pass on Checkmite for that reason.

    Resistance, so far, has not been an issue with essential oils (thymol and others) or with organic acids.

    Randy Oliver did some tests on powdered sugar dusting, and he basically determined that it does not actually work very well unless you do it very frequently, like weekly. I suspect it could be used effectively to knock down a mite population if the hive was broodless and you did it a few times over a short period.

    A non-treatment option that does work is drone comb removal, but you need to do that in the spring. It is also labor intensive, and there is an inherent loss of resources in the hive by discarding the resources that end up being devoted to raising the drones that get discarded.

    If I had one recommendation, it would be to count mites and use thymol.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Sucraside is another option. They will never develop resistance against that method. Dadant sells it, but there are other companies out there that sell it as well. It gets sprayed onto each frame including the bees. Needs to be repeated so each brood cells had it inside of it. It contains an ester so you have to wear eye protection, but it is not toxic otherwise. Some say trenching in honey-b-healthy with sugar water works well. This is where they use a high concentration of this HBH. I have never done it so I don't know how well it works.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/kbbafb/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Mesa County Colorado USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    I have never used Chemicals, nor would I recommend it. If I had mite problems, here is what I would do.

    Get a container small enough to slide into the entrance of the hive, and fill it 1/4 full with Diatomaceous Earth. Then put several holes in the lid, small enough that the bees can't get in, and big enough that the mites can get in. The mights will the Diatomaceous Earth, and it will kill them, and not the bees, and it won't matter if it gets in the honey.
    Here is one place you could get it.
    http://www.earthworkshealth.com/orga...FQYObAodqy552g

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,305

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Boone,
    You need to do a search on the life cycle of the varroa mite, your solution has no hope of working.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    I have seen only a very few mites that were not on bees or in cells. Their main mode of transportation is bees. They will not crawl into a hole that is the size they can get in, as they are not attracted to holes, they are attracted to bees and bee larvae and that's it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,058

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Good information in this thread. Thank you Neil for posting such a detailed explanation.
    What is a oxalic acid fogger? Is there any more information availible on this? I saw a you tube video were a guy built a "bee bong" out of a pipe and smoked/vapored his bees with a torch.
    It looked kind of ......well you be the judge

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSmxY...e_gdata_player

    I think that's how you pronounce it! Hehehehe!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Apiguard!!!! TK

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Benton, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    As you know there are lots of choices. As a first year beekeeper, you can take my advise with a grain of salt. What I have experienced is that without a mite count you dont know if they need treatment or not. I do realize that experienced beekeepers see signs in the hive when the mite count is high. I am not to that point so I rely on sticky board mite counts once a month. I have 4 hives. 1 is established and is my largest hive. 2 hives had mite counts that were higher than I wanted. The sticky board was left in place for 3 days the 2 hives with the higher counts were in the 40's and mid 30's. The other two hives were in the teens. I powdered sugar dusted both the hives with the higher counts. This is purely a mechanial means. The grooming of the bees knocks off the mites. Please be aware that if you dont have a screened bottom board or if the bees can get in they can pick the mites back up from where they fall. This worked for my less populated hive, the mite count 4 days after dusting was in the teens for a 3 day count. The more populated hive however, the count kept climbing. If you have alot of bees in the hive, it can be hard to get the powdered sugar on all of them. This is a laborous process. We took out each frame and dusted powdered sugar on both sides, then down in the box where several bees were on the bottom and sides. Sorry, back to the large hive. Since, I have 3 honey supers on this hive I wanted to use a product that I could safely use with the supers on. I ordered Hopguard. It is too early to tell you what my mite count is after treatment. I put on the Hopguard on last week. Last fall I used Oxalic acid dribble. This is not approved, but did reduce my mite count. Apistan strips proved to be not effective for me any more. Checkmite resistance in my area has also been reported. If you cant do a sticky board count you can do a powdered sugar roll, ether roll or sample some brood with a uncapping scratcher. you probably already know that the mites like the drone brood the best. Hope some of this helps. I am sure there are alot more options and ideas, these are just my experience. Good luck to you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,305

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    arcowandbeegirl; were those mite counts a total count or were they for each day of the 72 hour period?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    I have a slight different approach at the moment, but this may change if I find mites. For now I do not have mites as far as I know. What I do is take digital photos of each frame, which I later evaluate on the computer looking for mites etc. I also open up drone cells to check for mites inside of them. So far I'm in the clear, but this may be just a question of time. On the upside, I'm over 10 miles away from the nearest beekeeper and town. We are in an isolated valley surrounded by forest land. My hope is that they will not catch mites. There is a good possibility for that, because one of the beekeepers in our club has a similar situation and has been free for over 10 years so far. We also have an organic beekeeper and he ditched all those chemicals for Sucrocide. He treats his bees twice per year and reports very low mite count and less illness on the bees since he has been doing it. This treatment will be my first choice. Mites to not grow resistance against this product.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Benton, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    The numbers are the totals at the end of 3 days. I know this is not considered high by some, but the trend over several months, had the mite counts increasing by 10-15 per month for this hive, and I didn't want them to get out of control. Some say if the mite count per day is in the double digits you may want to do something. This is the approach I have chosen to take.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Here is an explanation of most of the varroa mite treatment options including timing of treatments.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: need help selecting varroa meds

    Quote Originally Posted by newbee1025 View Post
    I would like everyones opinion on the different brands for treatment of varroa mites. Most of the hives I have were treated with apistan strips in the past. Just didn't know much about the other brands and type of application, pros cons etc.. This is my first year and at this moment I haven't done a mite count to see if I even have to treat. Just trying to plan ahead after I take my supers off for the month of August.
    And the can of worms has been opened My opinion would be to attempt/try the treatment free brand. However, it is not for the weak...,, bees that is. And your bees have already been subject to apistan strips, so it may be even harder to keep them alive without treatments. Perhaps, on your next swarm (not to say that swarm has never been treated, but at least not by you), you can do a comparison of not treating a hive. Or locate some treatment free bees in your area. You just might find, like others here, with about the same time management, that bees can survive without treatments.

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