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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Belgrade, MT
    Posts
    74

    Default V Mite Questions

    Posted here as there is more activity than in Diseases

    I lost a hive last week. Here one day gone the next. After tearing it apart it was Grand Central NYC for V Mites. I had Apigard on it for a week but it must have gotten way ahead of me. Apigard on the other 7 hives and they "appear" to be strong. They have large quantities of very active bees, clean hives, and relatively clean bottom boards. I have 2 nucs that were cut down from weaker hives and I plan to winter them in the shop this year to see if I can keep them going til spring. Changed them to winter boxes and found 6-8 dead mites on the bottom. Nucs are 25 yds from other hives. Weather is now 15-25 in the AM and 50-60 in the afternoon. Questions: 1. Is there a low level of V Mites that hives can live with? 2. Nucs live with? 3. With weather cooling, queens laying less, and Apigard should I see what happens this winter? Have not had to deal with V Mites before and believe these hitched a ride with the nucs I bought this spring. All advice is appreciated. TIA
    Peter W., Belgrade, MT, Elv. 4420 Zone 4a
    Sheepshank Honey, 4 yrs & 27 hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    I do NOT treat. All of my hives and all of your hives and all the hive in the us have mites. Its the hives that have learned to deal with the mites that live in my yards. Have not lost any hives to mites.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    I completely echo what wadehump said, I have never treated, my hives have had mites and DWV for years and years but deal with them, they are "all" extremely productive hives and have never lost a hive to mites. Some bees can't deal with them on their own, but many do. I think treating in any form is wrong in my opinion. It prevents the bees from figuring out how to deal with the mite when they are under pressure. I think weeding out the genetically weak bees is the answer to mites in the long run. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,864

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    Rxmaker, I can't offer you much advice other than saying that yes, there is most certainly a level of mites that "some" bees can deal with. The hive you lost was not one of them unfortunately. Of course, by treating them you are never going to find out which hives you have left can deal with mites on their own. It is a decision that every beekeeper has to make at some point, to treat or not. If you decide to not treat, then you must be prepared to replace all your bees if they can't deal with the mites, its as simple as that. And you may have to replace them multiple times until you get bees that can deal with them, sounds pretty harsh and depressing doesn't it? Hope you find the right solution. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    Varroa mites will eventually co-evolve with European honey bees to live with them much like the bee louse (looks much the same, but longer legs). It's a great advantage in the evolutionary sense to NOT kill your host if you are a parasite.

    I think we are starting to achieve some lowered parasitism on the part of the varroa mite along with more bee adaptation. I've seen much more vigorous grooming of the swarms I caught this year than with the package I bought last year, and have not seen a mite on the sticky board since June. One swarm never had any, but we shall see in the spring.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,967

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    It is hard to keep bees and let them evolve if you don't have any because the Vorroa have killed them all. Sam Comfort one of the gurus of don't treat only keeps ahead of the mites by constant splitting and brood breaks. If your nucs are heavily infested consider an oxalic drizzle when they are closest to brood free. I bet you understand exactitude in dosing if your call name is reflective of what you do. It is very effective when done properly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,406

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    Peter,
    Almost every beekeeper at some point in time will have to deal with mites. You took steps to address it and they should be good for the winter. As mentioned, an oxalic drizzle in late fall during the broodless period would help to clean up most of the remaining mites.

    If you plan to go treatment free in the future I suggest that you purchase queens from a reputable breeder who has a line of bees which have already been selected for their resistance to mites. With only 7-8 colonies if you try to breed selectively from your own stock you will probably have some very disappointing losses ahead. Buy queens from someone who has already gone through the process of eliminating the undesirable stock and save yourself some grief.
    To everything there is a season....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,824

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    This would be a good place to follow Mike's advice.
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eders-for-2012

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Belgrade, MT
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    Thanks guys for the guidance.

    Vance G: You are right on the name. Better living through chemistry. Not hard in my profession to get menthor or thymol. I am wondering, and may try, if camphor would have the same effect. If I still have some mites next spring, I may get up the nerve to try.

    Mike: Except for some Apiguard this fall, I plan to let the rest of the hives do the natural genetic selection process and see how strong they are in the spring. I do not like to treat much, just a little of the basics. Bees are bees and they have been here longer than we have and still continue to dazzle us. I like to let then do what nature programed them to do when they need/want to do it. They just opened a can of suprise on me this fall, will make notes, and learn from it. I must say that this is the most fasinating and addictive hobby I have ever encountered.

    Regards everyone
    Peter W., Belgrade, MT, Elv. 4420 Zone 4a
    Sheepshank Honey, 4 yrs & 27 hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: V Mite Questions

    I think we should be clear as to how one can "genetically" weed out weak bees. The ONLY way is through a new queen. Once a queen has mated the "genetics" of that hive are permanently set, no amount of varroa or other stress will weed out the weak bees and allow the "strong bees" to be produced by the queen. Since the queen mates with more than one drone your hive might have a percentage of strong bees, but if that percentage isn't enough for the hive to survive varroa, you'll just have a queen that produces brood that from which only a small portion will be productive. If you don't treat a succeptable hive with something (I suggest an acid or thymol based solution such as MAQS, Hopguard, or Apiguard if that is the thymol one), then you are simply making a varroa factory in your neighborhood, putting more varroa stress on all the hives around you. If you hive has high mite counts and is in danger of dying the only responsible course of action is to treat them to bring the varroa population down and requeen with a hygenic queen. Mark


    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    I completely echo what wadehump said, I have never treated, my hives have had mites and DWV for years and years but deal with them, they are "all" extremely productive hives and have never lost a hive to mites. Some bees can't deal with them on their own, but many do. I think treating in any form is wrong in my opinion. It prevents the bees from figuring out how to deal with the mite when they are under pressure. I think weeding out the genetically weak bees is the answer to mites in the long run. John
    Last edited by MarkBee; 10-09-2012 at 11:35 AM.

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