Powdered sugar treatments on a Warre
As my first season winds to a close, I'm fully engaged in the battle with Varroa. First my count was 3 per 24 hrs. I was happy. Then it crept to 8, then 10. I was still OK. Then, 20 and on to 40. Ouch! Exponential growth? Check. I thought I was going to make it the first year without having to battle the pest. Alas, no.
I started doing PS treatments when my count was about 20 in 24 hrs, but it didn't seem effective. Following the recommendations of thewarrestore.com, I tried dusting from the top bars of my top box. (The bees have filled 3 boxes, and have a 4th empty underneath that I'm about to remove for winter.) It seemed like the powdered sugar never really "went" anywhere. I didn't see a lot of sugary coated bees in the brood box (I have windows), and not much came out through the SBB onto my counting grid. The mite count kept climbing.
though I aspire to the standards Warre set and want to keep my hibe in the most "organic" way I can, I got desperate and actually opened the hive, pulling each box off so I could treat each set iof top bars individually. (Warre is rolling in his grave, I'm sure. ) I seemed to get more PS on the counting board, but mite counts stayed high, and even climbed up to around 40 per 24 hours.
I got super desperate and did a thyme oil/mineral oil treatment (as recommended by thewarrestore.com) after tearing the hive open and dusting with PS the third time. It seems the mite count is staying high (40 in 24 hrs, 3 days after treatment, 30+ 4 days after treatment).
So, after all that, the questions: How may of you have had success with PS treatments? If you have, have you applied all of the PS from the top bars of the top box, or do you open your hive to treat? How many of you have found PS to be ineffective in your Warres?
Finally, the BIG question: What to do going into winter? Do PS for a couple more weeks (I've done 3 weeks now.)? Repeat thyme oil treatment? Let the bees sort it out over winter, keep my fingers crossed and plan to buy a package of VSH bees this spring if things don't go well? Suck it up and admit my bees are not up to battling Varroa and get some MAQS? Moral support and opinons, please...