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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Did you know that female mites react very sensitively to high relative humidity such that they almost never reproduce at levels above 80%? If you could keep your hive at 80% RH, it would be virtually impossible for an infestation to occur.

    I believe you can most certainly use this to your advantage when overwintering and during spring buildup. The hive is a very humid place. Why do you need an upper entrance? It's to prevent all this excess humidity from condensing over the bees and dripping down onto them. Well, why not just heavily insulate the top of the hive (more so than the sides) such that all condensation forms on the sides of the hives? That's exactly what I did this year.

    I decided to go without an upper entrance in order to maintain the hive at the highest humidity level possible. I could care less about condensation (and I have a lot of it). As long as the condensation forms on the walls of the hive, I figured I would be OK.

    My results (so far) are fantastic. Very good orientation flights out of both of my hives yesterday (temps in the 60s). I pulled the bottom boards and could not find a single mite. Believe me, I know how to find mites.

    This overwintering technique would be very similar to a hive overwintering in a tree.

    Now, I believe at this time of the year my queen should begin laying in earnest for the spring build up. I'll keep you guys informed on my results.

    Ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    What's the source for this information?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    What's the source for this information?
    Many scientific papers. Just Google "varroa high humidity"

    http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/...5/UUindex.html

    http://link.springer.com/article/10....050382?LI=true

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,925

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    How does this translate to controlling mites during their peak when it's hot and dry?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Okay, I admit I haven't followed the links, but as a former Florida beek, this doesn't jibe with my personal experience. Humidity along Florida's west coast is normally quite high. I was inland, yet still only about 8 miles from the Gulf. I had mites. Boy, did I have mites. And SHBs. They both seemed to be worse in the summer when my pastures were still underwater (often for weeks at a time), They were also present in the winter months, which are drier but cooler and there was less brood, so the mite numbers weren't as high. But they were still there. And the SHBs were there all the time! Even then the treatment strips didn't seem to me to help very much. I lost a hive to SHBs in January my last year there.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    That sure makes it hard to explain our problems in SE Louisiana. It gets below 80% humidity a couple days a year during the winter but other then that, hot and damp.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Ken,
    Very interesting, I assume Lang ? height ? insulated top only ? wrapped ? Please do keep us posted.
    Cheers,
    Drew
    "Nature does nothing uselessly." Aristotle

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    Humidity along Florida's west coast is normally quite high.
    I'm with you Rusty. This simply doesn't ring true for me. The study referenced above Kraus, and Velthuis was done in 1996 in the Netherlands with V. jacobsoni. If high humidity were a solution, then pretty much the entire southeast coast of the US would be mite free. If you don't believe me stop by for a visit in July, but bring a few extra changes of clothes.

    I wouldn't bet the farm on this......
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,335

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    One study that may support this idea is here:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10....Fs001140050382
    however, they want you to pay $40 to access the document.

    Before you decide to pay $40, you might want to read this:
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/hive-hu...-reproduction/
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by c10250 View Post
    This overwintering technique would be very similar to a hive overwintering in a tree.

    Ken
    Interesting. I have done some cutouts in trees. The bees are in there because the inside rotted out. Usually right below the colony is a lot of colony deitrus. If the outside of the tree is thinner, there should be hive condensation that will run down and rot out the tree even further. During this summer this material is drier, but I could imagine it being much wetter in winter.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    80% would give a decided advantage to the SHB though...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Something you probably didn't know about mite control

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    80% would give a decided advantage to the SHB though...
    what's the source of this information?

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