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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    Our two hives are new and were package installs on May 1. Currently have two deep 10-frame and one short super 10-frame on each hive. The supers are newly installed - added last week. Our west hive lost its queen early on and struggled for a while until it reared a new queen. Now that hive is booming along with fantastic growth. The east hive still has its original queen, but is not growing nearly as fast. Lately it seems to be very slow on activity. At our last inspection this east hive appeared to be working internally just fine, but the numbers were much lower than the west hive. It had good brood pattern with lots of capped brood, open larva and eggs being worked as well. So, out of a concern for this hive, we removed the bottom boards and replaced with freshly cleaned and oiled boards this past Monday. Yesterday, at 24 hours from board install, I removed the boards and counted the varroa mites. I found a grand total of eight (8) mites on the board from the west hive (healthy hive) and fifteen (15) mites on the board from the weaker east hive. (We did not do anything proactive to dislodge mites....just checking the natural mite drop)

    So, is this enough evidence to suggest we need to do a sugar roll test and make preparations for varroa treatments? What are the limits for mite counts before treatments need to begin?

    Also, we had stopped feeding for a couple of weeks thinking the fall flow was starting. But, due to the lack of comb construction, we decided to begin feeding again. Added 1 gallon of 1:1 to each hive on Monday. 24 hours later, the healthier west hive had consumed the entire gallon. The weaker east hive had consumed about 80-90% of its gallon in 24 hours. Is it safe to assume the flow has not started yet this fall?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
    Posts
    451

    Default Re: Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    I am just a 2nd year guy so take my comments with a grain of salt. You should get some good direction from some veterans soon.
    The sugar roll test is just another way to do mite counts as is the sticky board you already did. Read the link below from Randy Weaver’s discussion on mite levels. I think the 24 hour sticky board is the most accurate count there is. There will be some numbers in there to guide you as to how serious your mite levels are.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/mite...t-update-2013/

    Regarding feeding, I only feed a first year colony in the Spring until they stop taking it. Other than that I would only feed in an emergency such as going into the Winter with honey stores low. With the Fall flow coming, personally I’d give the bees a chance to build up their own stores. Then reassess maybe in October.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,106

    Default Re: Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    I'd say a sticky board natural drop is just a rough guide, but those numbers in 24 hours are enough to do a sugar roll.

    I have one hive that has been raining varroa onto the sticky board (170-190/week), but producing modest mite counts in a sugar roll (2-4). I suspect I'm seeing hygenic behavior from the new queen's offspring. I'll probably treat just to find out how many of the little devils are really in there.

    The first time you do a sugar roll you may need a while to get everything together. The most difficult things are finding out where your wife hides the mason jars and powdered sugar, and tracking down a store that sells #8 hardware cloth. The equipment and technique are simple. There are guides all over the internet telling you how. I personally shake the sugar out into a white dishpan with a little water in it as a convenient way to spot the mites.

    This time of the year I think everyone should do an actual count using a powdered sugar roll, ether roll, or alcohol wash. I started back in June just so I didn't have to scramble in mid-August.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    FrankThomas and Phoebee
    Thank-you for the quick responses and great info. I will begin preparation this evening to do either a sugar roll or alcohol wash. Will probably do the roll as I don't have one of those nifty canning jar double ended lids for the wash. We have the canning jars, lids, sugar, and such at home already. I will run over to the hardware store and pick up some #8 screen.
    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    769

    Default Re: Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    I have one hive that has been raining varroa onto the sticky board (170-190/week), but producing modest mite counts in a sugar roll (2-4). I suspect I'm seeing hygenic behavior from the new queen's offspring. I'll probably treat just to find out how many of the little devils are really in there.

    The first time you do a sugar roll you may need a while to get everything together. .
    Seems to me that you would see very spotty pattern from where they uncapped the larvae if this was a result of hygenic behavior. Are you sure you are doing your test correctly?

    The Irish are doing a little breeding study and as a result have some nice instructions on the sugar roll. In my experience letting the jar sit for 5 minutes is unnecessary, and shaking should take a minute or less...but I guess they are being very thorough. They have nice instructions and a video here- I used a square Tupperware container- but their idea of a bucket looks like it works great.
    http://nihbs.org/wp-content/uploads/...s-Aug-2014.pdf
    karla

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,106

    Default Re: Newbie and Varroa Concerns and Fall Flow

    Quote Originally Posted by winevines View Post
    Seems to me that you would see very spotty pattern from where they uncapped the larvae if this was a result of hygenic behavior. Are you sure you are doing your test correctly?
    For that very reason I plan to treat this hive anyway, to see what the case really is. But I would expect the bulk of the brood they were cleaning out would be drones. They've had a few here and a few there all over the broodnest until very recently, which would make it hard to spot patchy drone brood. They finally started using the green drone frame a couple of weeks back ... big lovely batch of them. I pulled and froze that. The capped brood was so new it had no "eyes", just worms. About 70 of those crawled out before I could freeze them and on those I found 25 single female mites ... they had not had time to raise any. So there are mites on about 1/3 of the capped drones. The drone larvae still capped was so mushy they were almost impossible to pull intact.

    How those numbers translate to actual infestation rates is the mystery. My guess is roughly 1% based on the sugar rolls.

    My high drops to the sticky board include a lot of very light-colored mites, making me think they're being dropped from extracted pupae. This started shortly after I combined a queenless hive with a frisky VSH nuc, so my hope is that this is an indication of VSH behavior, but I can't find anyone who seems to know about it.

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