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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Sandy Ridge,NC
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    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
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    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
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    Sandy Ridge,NC
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    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
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    Denver, Colorado
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    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
    27,092

    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
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

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

    Mark B,

    I am sure there are treatment free beekeepers who monitor mite loads, but I'm not one of them, what satisfies me is seeing colonies thrive year after year knowing they have mites, they just keep plugging along producing good crops of honey. John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,092

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

    I just figured that 8 mites from unknown to us which kind of brood cell wasn't much indication of mite level. But I understand your rationale. Pretty much mine to, only from a different tac. tact?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #10
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sandy Ridge,NC
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    110

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

    i did not find one single mite in a drone cell all were in worker cells. also my bees have all natural drawn comb so there where alot of drone cells in my first super. i am cheap i dont buy wax or treat my bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,127

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

    Back before I got them all regressed I would find eight mites in one drone cell...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,660

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

    It sounds like you have some great hives there. You may want to take out an insurance policy on them, by splitting off a summer nuc from each one this year. If one of the main hives fails or starts failing for any reason, you can pinch and slip. Pinch the old queen and slip in a nuc into the center of the broodnest area of the hive.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,299

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

    If you've been treatment free for 3 years, and the bees were sold as being treatment free, I wouldn't worry. I'd suggest swarm prevention measures now, maybe splits for nucs or complete hives... You do want more hives, don't you?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Sandy Ridge,NC
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    110

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    It sounds like you have some great hives there. You may want to take out an insurance policy on them, by splitting off a summer nuc from each one this year. If one of the main hives fails or starts failing for any reason, you can pinch and slip. Pinch the old queen and slip in a nuc into the center of the broodnest area of the hive.
    A guy that lives 1/2 mile from my house runs 600 russian mating nucs. what would a nwc/russian cross be like. i am sure his drones would mate my queens. he tells me he has been treatment free since the 1990s.

  16. #16
    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

    I've been three years with my/these hives. I too figured why do mite counts if committed to treatment free. Last year I started doing the counts. I decided I wanted to know if the bees were living with high numbers, or dealing with them in some fashion keeping their numbers down. For me, that is good info to aide in selecting hives to make splits from. JMO

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,092

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

    If one does have a desire to select colonies to raise queens from as part of a treatment free beekeeping style, wouldn't finding the hives w/ the naturally lowest mite count be a selecting factor. I would think that low mite counts in treatment free bees would indicate something positive, which one may wish to select for.

    Maybe not the OPer, w/ so few a number of hives, but others, like Randy Oliver selects colonies to raise queens from in that manner. Granted that he isn't totally treatment free. Never the less.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    2,864

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

    sqkcrk, yes if you are going to raise some queens from your "survivors" then counting mites might be a good way to find the very best colony among them all that have survived many years with mites. John

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,092

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

    And, sometimes it's just nice knowing something whether knowing it influences ones descision making or not. As long as that knowledge doesn't lead to paniced descision making.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  20. #20
    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.

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