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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Oakland, California
    Posts
    3

    Sad I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Hello,

    After an epic week of remedying a robbing frenzy, I've discovered Varroa mites in my hive. I'm extremely skeptical of using any chemical remedies and would like to keep treatment as natural as possible. Suggestions? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    You will always see them at different levels, the key is keeping them lo. I would first recommend a screened bottom board if you don't have one. I'll let Micheal Bush or one of the old timers take on from there.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    There are probably few, if any, hives in the U. S. A., or for that matter, most anywhere in the world, that don't harbor at least a few Varroa mites. Back in the early 1990's it had been awhile since I had a chance to talk to other beekeepers or read a contemporary beekeeping periodical, and I hadn't noticed them, until after I read about their presence in both Bee Culture, and the American Bee Journal. I remember reading about them for the first time, then on my next inspection I kept an eye out for them, and there they were -- yuck. Most of the time it is difficult to find them, but if I give it a good try, I can usually find a few. Many beekeepers seem to be inspired by the simple presence of Varroa mites to apply various "treatments", to their bee colonies in attempts to subdue mite populations. So far I haven't bothered using any mite treatments and have seen almost no deleterious effects, unequivocally caused by the mites.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    As stated above, probably all honey bee hives have mites to some degree. But, what you need to determine, is how many that yours have and then make a few decisions on if to treat and if so what with. Oxalic was what I used and was very pleased with the results.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    I use mite away quick strips. You had mentioned chem free that would be Micheal Bush or Micheal Palmer, those guys have been chem free for years. I don't use chems unless they get sick and I feel I need to.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Here's something that I will pass onto you that I read this week regarding Varroa and how long it takes to kill a hive.
    1.0 It may take up to 5 years for Varroa to kill a colony in colder regions.
    2.0 In warmer regions Varroa can kill a hive in one season!
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,700

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    I would like to add to what Bees4u said...
    In colder climates it can take less than a year for varroa to kill a hive

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Which of the two methods did you use for the application of oxalic acid?
    Thanks,
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    732

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    I just did an oxalic dribble yesterday on 5 hives. 24 hours later I had a couple hundred mite fall on the strongest hive.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    You've asked a question with no straight forward answers. But I'll try to give you one anyway. (vbg)

    First, you need to determine if the Varroa load is heavy enough to require any treatment. A few mites are nothing to worry about, lots of mites at this time of year CAN be a death sentence for someone who chooses not to use "chemical remedies." (And the chemicals can "fail" too)

    Second, once you've determined you have enough mites to warrant treatment, you need to decide what you are going to do. Options include doing nothing (Sometimes called the Bond Treatment), using cultural practices such as a screened bottom board, using substances generally regarded as safe (powdered sugar), using substances generally regarded as organic, or using a full blown chemical treatment. Each method has advantages and risks (will they kill enough mites for the colony to survive, residues) and you have to determine for yourself what your risk tolerances are.

    The weather in Oakland may limit your treatment options at this time of year. Adding a screened bottom board now will not in and of itself control enough mites to substantially reduce the mite population.

    Take a look at Randy Oliver's web site scientificbeekeeping.com for more information. Randy is a commercial California beekeeper and write lots of articles (primarily for ABJ) copies of which are on his site.

    As an aside, one bit of information presented in another reply to this thread is incorrect: Mike Palmer does treat for mites.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    I haven't ever treated for Varroa mites (though I do have them), and have yet to lose a hive due to Varroa mites. It's been more than twenty years now, I'm still wondering when the mites are gonna kill my bees. I certainly can't say that Varroa mites don't kill bees, just that they haven't killed mine, yet. My only "treatment" is that I use lots of PF120 frames (small cell) and foundationless (a wide mixture of different cell sizes - some small and some large).

    I also use Certan (Bt Aizawai) to help control wax moths and sometimes a little Copper gluconate in syrup I feed some of my nucs (it's a nutritional mineral supplement that is supposed to increase colony vigor). Bee's blood (hemolymph), supposedly has a copper component when it has optimal health.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 11-28-2011 at 08:37 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
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    734

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    I would treat them for mites, because there are a bulk load of other illnesses that come from mites. Each one weakens the hive and eventually they can't make it. My choice is hopguard with my own off label use of it. I apply 2 strips per brood box in weekly intervals for 3 weeks in a row. Works well and gets the capped brood as well. My weaker hive had a fair amount of mites, and the bees population exploded rather fast after treatment. They were happier within a week of treatment. Best it is a natural treatment.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Can never have enough info about mites so I'll bring this one back up...

    One thing that I heard of is leaving a frame or two for the bees to build brood in, since the mites like the large area, and then at 15-18 days you take out the frames and freeze them. This kills the brood, but also kills the mites that are with them.

    Any thoughts?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
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    720

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    There are as many answers/suggestions as there are people that post on this site. Also you really didn't define your definition of 'chemical'. SBB with tray, powdered sugar dust, drone comb, small comb and hygenic stock are some of the many totally 'chem' free ideas. Organic chems like formic, thymol & hops are others.

    Most suppliers here in the south couldn't make a living without a pretty aggresive plan that includes chems - however you want them labeled. I use a SBB with tray, sugar dust a few times during the early year and formic pad treat as soon as the weather permits - late fall here. Everything else is too labor intensive for me. When they have made it thru a few winters, I feel good.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrHappy View Post
    Can never have enough info about mites so I'll bring this one back up...

    One thing that I heard of is leaving a frame or two for the bees to build brood in,
    I believe that should specifically be drone brood.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Katharina View Post
    I would treat them for mites, because there are a bulk load of other illnesses that come from mites. Each one weakens the hive and eventually they can't make it. My choice is hopguard with my own off label use of it. I apply 2 strips per brood box in weekly intervals for 3 weeks in a row. Works well and gets the capped brood as well. My weaker hive had a fair amount of mites, and the bees population exploded rather fast after treatment. They were happier within a week of treatment. Best it is a natural treatment.
    I follow the identical approach and have been happy with the results. I only treat colonies that have a high mite count using either the alcohol or sugar shake to determine the loads.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    713

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Katharina

    I was under the impression the HopGuard does not kill mites in capped brood. At least everything I have read to date indicates that's the case.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Marysville, WA
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    477

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    Katharina

    I was under the impression the HopGuard does not kill mites in capped brood. At least everything I have read to date indicates that's the case.
    That is my impression as well.....which is the reason mutiple treatments works well to rid them by catching the different brood cycles.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    oakdale conn. usa
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    HI Michae B this is sinkerone from ct, do you run double hive boby if so do you break the hives apart when you med. yours bees or do you med. just from the top of your hive this time of year or before spring. I thought it had to be hot wether to med. bees thanks Dave

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Re: I've got Varroa Mites!! Yikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by beehonest View Post
    Micheal Bush or Micheal Palmer, those guys have been chem free for years.
    Michael Bush is treatment free. Michael Palmer is not.

    I have been treatment free for nine years. If you must treat, do it with something which will not contaminate the wax. Probably the least contaminating is powdered sugar in my view.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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