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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
    Posts
    110

    Default bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    i have had my bees for 3 years they are NWC. i have never treated them i have 3 hives that are strong for this time of the year. i am worried they will swarm they are so full of bees. i thought i would add empty frame, so i pulled out a frame and add a empty frame to keep them busy. the frame i pulled out. i took a tooth pick and uncapped some of the brood and it had mites. i uncaped and pulled out all the larva i found 8 mites in the frame of brood. should i be getting worried.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    If they have survived this long, what is to be worried about? Furthermore, what will worrying do? It's not going to accomplish anything, so don't do it.

    What is your objective in being treatment-free? Is it an end unto itself? Have you been doing it because it's the easiest method? Have no treatments been used simply because none were necessary? Do you have a commitment to being treatment-free, or is those individual hives' survival of paramount importance? Your motivation does matter in this type of endeavor.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    i dont want to treat my bees. if they die guess i will look for another strain of honey bee.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    In that case, worrying is still fruitless and pointless. Seek instead to learn as much as you can from the situation. You may be able to learn what is the threshold for the number of mites those bees can handle before succumbing to the pressure. You may find as I did last winter that some hives can have a massive mite load, mites visible crawling around everywhere, and yet still survive. You may see as I have that at various points the mite load is high but the bees are naturally able to weather it and the population will subsequently drop later. You know your bees better than I do, it is your choice.

    If you are still concerned, you could try some methods of mite control that don't involve treatments as defined in this forum like scraping (or striking) drone brood so that the brood is cleaned out and the mites reproduction cycle is thwarted.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    i dont know if sue cobey nwc are VSH, but i do notice my bees pull out alot of larva for some reason. i look at the larva they pull out i dont see mites on them, but i would think the mites would leave the larva once pulled out of the hive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,997

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    Solomon, don't you think he should determine what the mite load is, not just that they are there?

    What cells did you see mites in ashb82? Worker cells or drone cells?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    I have no reference for the number of mites in brood. In PA the inspectors perform a sugar roll test. They count mites shaken from a half cup of bees covered in confection sugar from a mason jar with #8 hardware cloth in place of the center disk into a white pan. I couldn't find their specific procedure or interpreting the results, but a search online revealed similar. Here's a resourced that helped me: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files...rroa-guide.pdf I prefer the formic acid based treatments.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,860

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    ashb82,

    If all you found were 8 mites in the frame of brood, that's nothing to worry about IMO. I'm going into my fourth season with some of my hives that have had mites every year but they handle them and are productive colonies, this is what treatment free beekeepers are looking for, bees that can handle the mite load. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    East Windsor, CT
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    In the early Spring I see what appears to be high mite numbers in my untreated hives. What it really is though is that the queen has not ramped up her egg laying so the phoretic mites that came through winter are concentrated in a smaller amount of brood cells, sometimes in workers. Once the queen starts to kick some butt with egg laying the ratio goes way down and you do not notice them as much. 8 mites on a frame seems pretty low. Although I do not know if in North Carolina it is still "early spring" for you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: bees been treatment free for 3 years now they have alot of mites do i worry

    There have been many posts suggesting that if you see DWV, in numbers, then your hive is doomed if you do not treat. DWV is a virus in bees and can be/is exacerbated by mites. I see DWV, but by doing mite counts, one can decide if it is mite numbers or not. Along another line that was in the previous post,#20, I picked up a swarm last June. Did great till fall. Did a mite count. I quite at forty! I was looking to "cull" some hives that I didn't think would make it as I had to feed most of my hives. Most advice leaned toward they were doomed so why waste energy. I believe it was Michael Bush that posted with, "How do you know what they can do unless you give them the chance." Something to that effect. Stress induced response. They have made it through the winter and are dragging pollen in like the rest. I wondered the same thing as poster 20. Mites run to the small brood numbers and starve. At least some of them. If this queen does what she did last summer, they might just recover. I'm not going to start mass producing queens from her, but she will be interesting to watch, make a split, and see what the daughter does from this yard. Just my observations and thoughts.

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