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Thread: Huge mite drop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Boone County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Huge mite drop

    First year. I went most of the summer thinking I didn't have a mite problem. I got 2 nucs June 3rd and put them in 10 frame deeps. On June 25th I did a sugar roll with the State Bee inspector and we found no mites. Aug 15th did a 3 day sticky board count and found 2 per day in one hive and 7 per day in the other hive. According to local beeks that was low and in general "mites were not a problem around here this year". Sounds great, right? Sept 29th did another 3 day sticky board test and got 32 per day and >70 per day from the 2 hives. That now starts to sound like an issue. I tried to find out what the treatment threshold is around here but didn't get an answer but a recollection I had from a local meeting was either 50 per day or 50 per 3 days, I can't remember which, was stated. In either case it looked like I met the threshold. I treated both hives with OAV 3 times, five days apart and I was truly astounded by the mite drop. I was further astounded by the mite drop after the third treatment. I figured the first 2 treatments would wipe out most of them but the 3rd treatment seemed to give the greatest drop. Why? Were they the tail end of the mite population explosion?

    If I inserted it correctly, here's a look at the sticky board from the 3rd treatment and this is the 24 to 72 hr mite drops, I cleaned off the 24 hr mite drop before thinking of taking the pic.

    IMG_0909.JPG

    Is this a typical scenario, the huge mite drops after treating with a 50 per day mite count? Did I wait too long? Should I treat at a lower mite count number? Is the explosion in mite population from mid-Aug to late-Sept normal?

    Overall it was a great first year. I got nearly 100 lbs of honey. The hives will overwinter in double deeps with a med super of honey/syrup on top. I just weighed them and they are roughly 140 to 150 lbs with lots of bees. I'll OAV treat again at Thanksgiving.

    Thanks

    Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,961

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    It's all about timing and when capped brood is emerging. A lot of fresh brood might have hatched after the second treatment and out came a fresh batch of mites which you hit with the 3rd round. OAV can be slightly ineffective if the brood cycle doesn't mesh up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,137

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Your experience illustrates how mites multiply and become a problem in a short time. I am always worried about mites!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    84

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    One lesson I definitely learned during the first year is, the better your hive is doing, the more opportunity there is for the mite population to explode. That's a little counter intuitive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,545

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    One lesson I definitely learned during the first year is, the better your hive is doing, the more opportunity there is for the mite population to explode. That's a little counter intuitive.
    Good job, you figured it out in just one year. The refrain is often heard on here and is always the same, "but they looked so good the last time I checked them".
    I liken mite increases to the old analogy of how much money you have after 30 days if you start with a penny and double it each day. It all seems inconsequential until the last couple of days. its why it is so important to start the season with low numbers it just might buy you enough time at the end of the season
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Here is a link to a concise article on mite count methods and treating thresholds from Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Your mite drops are much higher than what they recommend.

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...a-sampling.htm
    Frank

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,827

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Honey bees pay attention to the length of days. The last week in June is the longest length of days, the summer solstice. By the first of July the queen has started reduced egg laying, and it gets less and less eggs per day, and in many places actually stops, by the winter solstice at the end of December.

    The varroa mites don't pay attention the the length of days. The varroa mites reproduce inside of capped bee pupae, slipping in the day before the larvae is capped. There is an average of close to 2 mites raised in each bee pupae that gets infested.

    As the queen laying and therefore brood rearing slows during the last half of the year, the percentage of varroa per brood number increases. The end of September is the fall equinox, and at that time the bees really start reducing brooding, over and above the slow down they've been having since the end of June. The varroa have been increasing in numbers all along. By the time September and October get here, the mite percentages per brood has really exploded. By this time, it can become quite apparent to the beekeeper that something is not quite right in the beehive.

    I have found that I can not go treatment free here where I am in this location with the genetics of bees I have been getting in the area. I must treat, or I will experience very heavy hive losses, and the hives that do live through into March, are not worth counting as a hive.

    Some areas with some bee genetics are reported to not treat and also get a good honey crop. Most areas and bee genetics can not do that, not that I've seen or heard of. I've had to make a choice, my choice is to treat and change my management practices in order to have any decent looking hives in March time frame.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    767

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    One lesson I definitely learned during the first year is, the better your hive is doing, the more opportunity there is for the mite population to explode. That's a little counter intuitive.
    Not really counter intuitive- mites reproduce in brood cells- so the more brood building, the more opportunity for mite reproduction
    karla

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Wayensboro, Virginia, USA
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    147

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    "According to local beeks that was low and in general "mites were not a problem around here this year". Sounds great, right"

    I myself have never experienced a year when mites were not a problem.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,247

    Big Grin Re: Huge mite drop

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    its why it is so important to start the season with low numbers it just might buy you enough time at the end of the season
    Stop.... we have a winner.

    Dang.... It's Jimmy again.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    84

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    Not really counter intuitive- mites reproduce in brood cells- so the more brood building, the more opportunity for mite reproduction
    Sure - I understand what is going on. I am just saying it is a bit counter intuitive. The better the hive is doing the more likely they'll have serious mite problems.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Waiting till the evidence is undeniable and late in the season, puts you in a hard place to defend.
    Frank

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Boone County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. The point of a strong hive being more susceptible to mites is a good one. They have more brood being processed and there are more bees in the hive and I suppose that would render sticky board counting even less accurate than a sugar roll. It holds true in my case too since it was the stronger hive that had the higher count numbers and the greater mite drop after treating.

    Crofter - thanks for the link to the Ontario Ag doc. Clearly they take a more aggressive line on the treatment threshold, a position that I will adopt. Even at that though, my August count was below their threshold but if I had tested even a week later in August I suspect I would have been over their threshold numbers.

    I had read on Randy Oliver's site that mid-August was a critical time to test so I went along with that. I would likely have not tested again and waited until late November to treat if I had not heard a well-respected local commercial beek state that if you see 14 mites over 3 days on a sticky board you better think of treating. I thought that was a little too aggressive but that did prompt me to do another sticky board which was what ultimately demonstrated the explosive population growth of mites in my hives. It may have been too late by the end of November...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Waiting till the evidence is undeniable and late in the season, puts you in a hard place to defend.
    Yes! I agree 100%
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    2,356

    Default Re: Huge mite drop

    OAV is changing what I previously perceived as reliable mite counts. Since I've started with OAV my mite counts after usage have always exceeded by a large margin what I expected to find after a sugar roll, ether roll, or alcohol wash. I no longer use those tests as I have found them unreliable to what I actually find in my hives. Now, I treat when I see mites in drone brood, 3 times (once every five days) during Sept-Oct and once again at around Thanksgiving when the hive is basically broodless.
    Last edited by snl; 10-13-2014 at 08:40 PM.
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