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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Larimer, Colorado
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    28

    Default Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    When I was out checking on my hive today I scraped out some of the dead bees and noticed that a couple of them had mites on them. One had at least 4. I am sure it's too far into the winter (at least for my area) for me to do anything but I was wondering if any of you had any good advice on what to do. I am afraid I am just going to have to wait until spring before I can do any real intervention.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Waukesha, WI
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    I'm not sure how to respond I guess since this is the treatment free forum and with that in mind, I'm not sure there is anything you can do. (edit)
    Last edited by Solomon Parker; 12-11-2011 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Off topic

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,722

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Sygdom, give it your best shot, but to be straight up, if there was 4 mites on one bee, you've probably left it too long. Are your bees on large cell or small cell? If they are on small cell there is some debate about the way the mite cycle works and some unknowns.

    If your bees are on large cell, for next season, the way the mite cycle works is like this. The hive, assuming it had a low enough mite count to survive the winter, starts off in spring with a lowish amount of brood, and a lowish amount of mites. The mites start breeding in the brood, but the brood nest keeps getting larger so there are still plenty of healthy bees emerging.

    Once the brood nest reaches maximum size, the mite numbers continue increasing and greater amounts of larvae are affected, producing weak bees. As summer comes to an end, the queen slows her laying, reducing the size of the brood nest. There is an ever increasing number of mites laying eggs an a smaller and smaller number of larvae. In bad cases, all larvae are affected.

    Many of these larvae, if more than one mite laid eggs on them, will die in the cell, this is known as parasitic mite syndrome (pms). The larvae that do hatch, will look reasonably normal. But they are not normal there are two major defects. One is they don't live very long. The other, is that the gland they use to make brood food, doesn't work properly. They can't feed brood. At that point, the hive can still look relatively normal to an untrained observer. But in fact without intervention, the hive is doomed. New larvae are hit by a double whammy. They are not fed properly and they are being infected by large numbers of mites.

    That is why the majority of hives that die of mites, die in winter.

    Maybe some treatment free people can tell you how to save your hive. But if not, ask in a different forum, where treatment options can be discussed.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,791

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    If you see that many mites on your dead bees order a package or nuc for next spring, unlikely this hive will survive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,319

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    sygdom, is it your goal to be treatment free? If so, we can discuss how best to reach that goal. If that isn't your goal, then you will get more detailed input regarding treatments in another forum.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    By the OP's definition I think we would all agree that the "Treatment Free" option for this hive is that it is dead by spring. Wouldn't it be more useful to move the topic out of the treatment free area rather then just deleting the posts that could save the OP's hive?
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Larimer, Colorado
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Well ideally I would like to be treatment free but it looks like I may be past that point now. I do have some apiguard and I guess it's supposed to be somewhat natural but perhaps this is not the appropriate forum to discuss the use of it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,319

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    True, we don't get into discussing the "how to's" here, but some have suggested that if you want to try and save what you have, you may need to treat, given the situation. The alternative is to do nothing, probably lose the bees, and start again in the spring. If you're not fully sold out to be treatment free, I would also suggest you treat and try to save your bees, unless the cost of treating and loss of bees is more than letting them die and buying new in the spring.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    I think more history on the colony is needed other than there was a few mites on dead bees on the bottom board. I find that there is always going to be some dead or dying mites on the bottom board this time of year whether you treat your bees or not. Especially if they are in a broodless period.

    It's your choice to do as you feel is best. Either way you need to give more detail so members can give their best advice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Larimer, Colorado
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    This is the first time I have seen mites and when I went out to look at more of the dead bees I couldn't find any others with that many mites on it most had none. What other information would be helpful?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Do a 24 hr mite drop count. My rule is that if there is enough that you see some on the bees, there are too many. Think of 1000s of bees in the hive this time of year, you cold have 100s of bees with mites and not see them, when you start seeing mites you are over infested.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,722

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Sygdom. You want a full discussion? Start a thread in a different part of the forum. You will even be allowed to post a link to it here so that the participants so far will find it.

    You are trying to discuss treatment. But it must be obvious to you that is not discussed, in this area.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    A new thread was started about two hours ago.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...t-year-beek%29
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,722

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Thanks for the link. Looks like the thread is firing.

    He could always use something non residual such as is being recommended, and requeen with a better bee later, plus his hive will still be good to give treatment free another go in the future, should he wish.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Winter Mite Problem (First year Beek)

    Quote Originally Posted by sygdom View Post
    This is the first time I have seen mites and when I went out to look at more of the dead bees I couldn't find any others with that many mites on it most had none. What other information would be helpful?
    I see from the other thread you have decided on an approach. When and if you get your bees through the winter you may decide to go treatment free. You really need to put a management strategy together for best results. In my view putting some bees in a box and hoping for the best will only discourage you. There is a ton of information on the forums that can help you get there and many members that will help you along the way if they can. Mostly it is up to you to gather the info.
    Good Luck!

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