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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    476

    Default Treating new bee packages

    With alot of people buying packages and the general consensus being that they come loaded with mites, what are all of your thoughts on treating the bees while still in the package? This was a topic being discussed in our journeyman beekeeper meeting last night. Some were saying they were going to use a Hopguard strip which I don't feel will work well unless you intend to leave them in the shipping package for a while. Other thoughts are powder sugar dusting. My suggestion was oxalic.

    It would seem like a good time to wipe out the mites while there is no brood.
    Any thoughts?

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    >what are all of your thoughts on treating the bees while still in the package?

    IF you're going to treat, powdered sugar would seem like the least dangerous thing for the bees... nothing you use will wipe out the mites, but you may be able to dislodge some, or kill a few.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,025

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    Quote Originally Posted by mmiller View Post
    With alot of people buying packages and the general consensus being that they come loaded with mites...
    While I'd agree mites are everywhere, I'm not sure there's a "general consensus" that packages are "loaded" with mites. Many packaged bees are treated prior to shipment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    If you want to treat a package prior to install you can use Oxalic Acid.

    Mix up 1 qt of 1.1 syrup, add 75 gm of OA crystals and mix well. Put it in a clean pump sprayer and spray the sides of the packages, shaking the bees down so they get a good coating without soaking them. The mix will be enough to treat a dozen or so packages, so don't spray it all on just one or two. You can cut the recipe in half for fewer packages.

    OA works the best when there is no brood present concealing mites. Spaying the packs will knock down most if not all of your mite population in the package.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pickens, SC, USA
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    hmmm, I've always thought package bees should have fewer mites than purchasing a nuc or full hive with brood involved. I've never used OA, it sounds interesting.
    Charlotte Anderson - SC Master Beekeeper
    "Obviously, my bees have not read the same beekeeping books as me !"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    They do have fewer mites than a nuc, because they have no brood, and the producers treat their hives before they shake packages.

    But they will have some mites usually, and if the OA knocks them out and you don't have any other hives near by to recontaminate them. You can have Varroa free bees for a while.

    Spraying with OA I adopted from "shook swarm" treatments done in Denmark.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    Quote Originally Posted by cdanderson View Post
    hmmm, I've always thought package bees should have fewer mites than purchasing a nuc or full hive with brood involved. I've never used OA, it sounds interesting.
    Your correct, the load will be lower than an existing hive. For several reasons. first commercial shakers treat. And the hive that is shakken is in the middle of the huge spring buildup when the queens are way ahead of the mites.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Evanston, Wyoming
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    This question mirrors the question I have thought about since reading an article in The American Bee Jurnal, discussing the benifits of early mite treatment in Canadian hives. I considered a sugar shake for a package, giving the benefit of mite removal and a baseline mite count for the new hive. Does anyone see a downside to such a practice such as stress, dehydration, etc. that would out weigh the benefits noted above?

    Article is "Simple Early Treatments of Nucs Against Varroa". By Randy Oliver of ScientificBeekeeping.com. April 2013 American Bee Journal pg. 389.
    Last edited by Sunnyboy2; 03-27-2013 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Article cite.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Treating new bee packages

    The problem with powder sugar on a package is that it doesn't kill the mites... they will drop, then promptly climb aboard another bee.

    It mite work if you lay the cage sideways over some blocks of wood so that the mites fall through the screen, but you will need to remove the syrup can first or you will turn the bees into a sticky mess.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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