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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,256

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Squarepeg, understand your question, no problem at all. Let me address them individually.
    Soft Treatments - only thing I've ever done that might qualify is feed them HBH a couple times over the years. Nothing else, and absolutely nothing for the mites. I don't consider a screened bottom board to be a treatment, it's management to me. Don't pull drone brood, don't use small cells.

    SHB loss - I doubt mites had anything to do with this... hive was in full sun, was delayed in getting my traps into the colony which was a split. After a couple of months I noticed something wasn't right, opened the hive. Sigh... bees were still functioning as a colony, but the shb had pretty much taken over and slimed slimed slimed. So I saved what I could, united with a stronger colony, and put the rest in the full sun. then burned it... wasn't sure what else to do, but those frames were a loss.

    Starvation - those hives succumbed late winter/early spring. Previous fall no indication of mites. I always look for deformed wings, and haven't seen any in my colonies for a couple of years. (That hive worked thru it, and did quite well, still going strong). I guess one could interpret the colonies weakened by varroa, but remember, hives were lost before varroa appeared.

    Now if I had a colony collapse June, July, or August, yes, I might suspect the mites.

    Whenever I find a weakened colony, I either requeen or commit regicide and unite it with a stronger colony. If it is an impending starvation, of course I feed. If circumstances warrant, entrances are reduced, ventilation provided, shb traps installed (have used up to six in one colony), sugar syrup given. But beyond that, haven't done anything.
    Hope that helps.
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,041

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    perfect steven. that helps alot. i watched closely for deformed wings this year, and i would see a rare one here and there. maybe i haven't the experience yet to recognize a mite problem short of an alcohol wash. i really like the idea of requeening or regicide/combine. thanks.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,471

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Squarepeg - You guessed right, should have been "scoop". We do see mites, but the average 'worse' is two in a full scoop at the end of the season. It is very rare to find two in the same cell on one scoop, but we have found that. Always striking the drone comb seems effective , but more effort. The one down side is that the year before last we felt we did not have good queen mating due to the lack of drones. We now give them one "Free Pass" in the spring before beginning to strike.

    Crazy Roland

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Stevg, which shb traps do you find to work the best?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,041

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    thanks roland. i looked at drone larvae earlier in the season. my more time consuming way was to use a pair of tweezers and pull the out one by one. i felt like if i pulled out 5 and didn't see a mite, they were doing good. if i found one or two, i might pull out 5 more.

    since i didn't see too many, i thought all was well. but i only did this early in the season. i got busy, complacent, whatever..... my goal is to be more dilegent about it next season.

    sounds like you have your mites under control roland. can you share your secret?
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,426

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    my goal is to be more dilligent about it next season.
    Looks like a good tag line. Mind if I steal it?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,041

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    it's all yours my friend!
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    You have to keep in mind when pulling drone brood, that pulling a handful of drone brood and seeing nothing doesn't mean much. You usually need to pull quite a few, and then you need to look very closely, as only the adult mites are brown/red. The younger mites are white or pale. As a beginner, take a big section of drone comb - maybe one or two hundred cells - and carefully take them apart and examine them with a magnifying glass under a good light.

    You can learn a lot. I took the time to tear apart an entire frame of drone brood last spring in the sun. I had been doing small amounts of drone culling and didn't see a thing. Then I decided one day to pull a whole drone frame out, as there was this migratory bird camped out eating my bees, so I figured I'd feed it the drone brood.

    Well, when I realized just how many mites were in that comb, I was blown away. It was teeming with mites. And I had treated with oxalic acid during the winter. It was that day that I decided to try treatment free.

    I put the comb of brood under my hedge near the hives, and that bird ate everything.

    Adam

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,041

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    very interesting. and looks like you are safe adam, i don't think anyone would consider feeding drone larvae to a migratory bird a treatment.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,440

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Normally I find mites scattered here and there in drone comb. But re the sexual reproduction thing, last year I pulled a drone comb (deep frame, all drone cells), from a hive and pulled a few cappings scratcher fulls of brood, and found no mites. I was about to declare the hive mite free, but decided out of interest to pull every larva in the comb. All the larvae were varroa free, except two. And each of those two larvae had 8, and more, foundress mites. I know they were foundress mites because the cells were recently capped there had not been time for reproduction.

    I can only assume there was a strategy for the mites to group together to allow sexual reproduction between families.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,256

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by sfisher View Post
    Stevg, which shb traps do you find to work the best?
    Sorry about the delay in reply, but I was out of town for the holiday.
    For cost, ease of use and cleaning, I like the Beetlejail. If there are shb in the hive, there are always dead ones in the trap.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: mite counts in tfb

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    James Bond as in live and let die. A Bond beekeeper does not do any mite treatment and if the hive is going to die he lets it. The theory is the strong survive and you breed from them.
    Wow I didn't know there was a term for us, thanks!

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