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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    Well, they are here. And by the looks of the numbers, they have been for a while. 2 hives, #1 appears very strong and lower mite count - but still significant. #2 is weak and high mites. Of course.

    I have not treated. Hives are 1.5 yo. I am inspecting today. Is it too late in the year to create nucs? I'm thinking of splitting up #2. I can get local queens, if necessary. I'm just not sure of a plan of attack. If it's weak, there likely isn't a lot of brood.

    Any recommendations on how to proceed? I want to stay treatment free. I've seen enough info on making nucs - I can wing that. But it's the questions like - what if no brood, is there enough time, etc., that are still nebulous.

    Thanks!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,508

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    "I want to stay treatment free"

    That cuts to the chase. If so, then look at non treatment options. Hive #2 sounds like it's a goner regardless of what you would do. It's quite difficult to try and save hives that are crashing from varroa after the fact. If one is serious about treatment free, one has to get a plan in order long before the time of crisis. Kind of like how we teach our kids to handle peer pressure in school to do damaging things (sex, drugs, and rock&roll . . . well maybe not rock&roll!) We have a plan to implement before the situation gets out of hand. Same with bees. Have you implemented anything from the start that would help you sustain a treatment free program? I know this doesn't answer your question exactly, but it is something that needs to be mentioned over and over again.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,288

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    You have time for about 2 brood cycles before the queens will stop laying. If you can get a mated queen you can make a 5 frame nuc that will have a chance to overwinter. When you make your nuc (or nucs) try not to weaken the donor colony too much.

    You did not say what your mite counts were, or what type of queen bees you have in your colonies. If you sugar dust or Hopguard your nucs when they are made it will help reduce the mites they carry into winter. They are your bees so do with them as you wish, but it is my opinion that colonies that reach the point they will die without assistance should be helped. When you requeen you change the genetics of the colony so you gain nothing by letting them die. There are treatments that don't contaminate the combs so why not use them?

    If you use a good hygenic line of queens almost any colony will go at least 3 years without the varroa killing them. Your honey crop will not be as great as a treated colony, but they should live.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
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    1,076

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    Barry, I tried BWeaver queens, neither took. I'm sure due to my lack of experience rather than an issue with the queens. That was my "plan." That, and hoping for survivor stock from which too breed. I have done some sugar dusting, but not ongoing and regular. Have also used HBH and Vitagreen.

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    ... it is my opinion that colonies that reach the point they will die without assistance should be helped.
    I agree. I just haven't worked into what that looks like yet. You THINK you have an idea of what it looks like until you meet the problem head on and then face bee losses.

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    When you requeen you change the genetics of the colony so you gain nothing by letting them die.
    I don't understand what you mean here.

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    There are treatments that don't contaminate the combs so why not use them?
    . I will read about hopguard. I know it's new. I had considered API-Var-Life (?). Your recommendation is hopguard?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    If you use a good hygenic line of queens almost any colony will go at least 3 years without the varroa killing them. Your honey crop will not be as great as a treated colony, but they should live.
    I am not honey oriented, so I don't mind the loss of honey production.
    Last edited by Seymore; 08-16-2011 at 06:15 AM.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,288

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    Some people feel you should not treat but just allow the colony to die. They say you must remove the "bad" genetics from the gene pool and the only way to do it is by allowing the colony to die and are against treating for any reason.

    I would use Hopguard because it can be used no matter what the temperature is and is not hard on the brood. If you can time the treatments of the thymol and formic acid products so they are within the temperature range for good varroa kills, they are very good also. In August it is hard to get the temps right. Formic acid products and Thymol are not as easy as Hopguard to use on nucs.

    I seldom treat my bees for mites, all of my field colonies have gone 3 years +, some 7 years with no treatments. I have a mix of races in my yards and I add a few new queens and change races about every 3 to 4 years. Commercial queen lines have everything necessary to be mite resistant now, it is just necessary to select the ones that carry the resistance. I have found that if I buy 20 or 30 queens only about 1 out of 4 or 5 have the traits I want. I evaluate and select queen mothers and raise queens from the ones I like and replace the ones I don't. Any beekeeper can improve his stock by keeping records of mite falls, honey production, how good a colony is at drawing comb and how gentle the bees are.

    I don't worry about honey production either, harvest time is just a pain in the back! It is a necessary yard stick to measure colonies by, though. If they make winter stores I am happy. Hobby beekeeping should just be done for the fun of it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Benton, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    I have used Hopguard and powdered sugar earlier this year. In my smaller hive, I have been able to dust with powdered sugar and knock the mites back. I have done this twice. In my larger hive the mite counts by sticky board just kept climbing. So I applied Hop Guard strips. The mites counts fell from in the 60's to 6. The weather was in the 90's and 100's and we were in a drought. I would say it works very well. When I powdered sugar dusted I removed every frame and dusted each side very thoroughly. I tried the green drone comb, but since I didnt paint wax on it prior to installing, they didn't draw it out very well. The other hive did draw out about half, and I did removed it. I plan to try some wax drone foundation next year. Good luck to you with your bees!!
    As for splits I think AR Beekeeper is right. I made a 5 frame nuc up about 2-3 weeks ago.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Edwards, Ms, USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    Hey there Seymore. To fix your problem with mites without using any chemicals or sugars. You would need to go queenless in your small hive for almost 3 weeks. I have done this before in test. Sugar dusting stops brood cycles and causes hygenic behaviors with the workers. I can cause this without sugar dusting. Stopping the brood cycle is a sure way to get rid of the mites. First pull a nuc from your stronger hive. Place the queen from the weaker hive in cage into the nuc. Two days later release her. The bees from the stronger hive are probably more hygenic than the weaker. Place foundation or drawn comb back into the strong hive. The weak hive will have E cells in it. Keep them queenless by cutting the cells out. Add emerging brood to the box with no eggs or small larva from your strong hive to keep alive. Just swap frames. Make sure its free of mites. This is when you need to start doing might counts. When your mite count drops to near zero requeen from your local source. Like I have said before I have done this in my Chemical free yard time and time again. Your old queen in the nuc has some hygenic behavior because they are pulling brood. The problem just got to bad for them to handle. Also keeping one drone frame in each hive prevents burr drone comb. Aka mite heaven. Hope this helps. Phillip

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Varroa. August in central Ark. Make nucs?

    Thanks, AR B and AR C! Good information on the HopGuard. I am considering that - sounds very "natural." It will be curious to see if resistance occrurs.

    PDG, I have never heard that sugar dusting stops brood cycle - Really??? I do know going queenless breaks the mite cycle, which is why I started thinking nucs. The timing worries me a bit.

    Mite dropping look much better after dusting. Strong hive had some drone cells, which I opened and saw no mites. I took that as a good sign.

    So...what you are saying is pull queen from #2 (weak) so it can go broodless. Keep queen alive in nuc - just in case? - and get new queen in weak hive after 3 weeks,

    Add emerging brood to the box with no eggs or small larva from your strong hive to keep alive. Just swap frames.
    I am adding these to the nuc, not the hive, right. This is very interesting. But since I've just come out of a drought, I'm a little fearful that I will be weakening the strong hive by stealing too much brood, since it's just building back up. Why wouldn't I just add eggs and larva and let the nuc make a queen? That would be 30 days till eggs from new queen. Timing sounds close either way, if I understand correctly. I guess a purchased queen is a better gamble?

    Thanks for the input, all!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

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