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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Brunswick, Maine, United States
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    17

    Default Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Hello

    I am in the process of regressing my colonies for foundation-less bee keeping.. All my bees seem very hardy and were splits from what appears to bee a strong locally adapted hive I have had for about 3 years. These original bees seem to be resistant, so I began to make splits in the spring. All split seem very strong and I am regressing them to pull foundation-less comb and YAY they are doing this well. The original hive is not regressed on any frames. Should I treat this fall? If so what "soft" chemicals would you recommend.

    Secondarily I have a screened bottom board on only one colony. Can you leave the screen exposed all winter? and can we generally use SBB in Maine as it is such a cold winter climate.. All advice appreciated as usual!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    706

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    You cannot determine if you need to treat by looking at how well your bees are doing now. You need to get a mite count. A 24 hour natural drop count or a powder sugar roll count will tell you if you need to treat.(look up threashold) There is a lot of disagreement on what "soft" chemicals are. When I treat I use oxalic acid. Some say it is a soft treatment, some not. I use it because it works very well, and mites cannot development resistance to it.

    I recall this being discussed in the past. I seem to remember most northern beekers close their SBB for the winter. Try a search.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    889

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    I would not go with a SBB for overwintering. Some will tell you that you can. however I find than in the northern latitudes above the 40th parallel the bees burn lots of stores trying to heat the cluster. Vent the top and put a solid bottom board under the SBB.

    As far as the mites I use 10 on a sugar roll, and 30 on a 48 hour natural drop as my threshold

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
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    17

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walliebee View Post
    You cannot determine if you need to treat by looking at how well your bees are doing now. You need to get a mite count. A 24 hour natural drop count or a powder sugar roll count will tell you if you need to treat.(look up threashold) There is a lot of disagreement on what "soft" chemicals are. When I treat I use oxalic acid. Some say it is a soft treatment, some not. I use it because it works very well, and mites cannot development resistance to it.

    I recall this being discussed in the past. I seem to remember most northern beekers close their SBB for the winter. Try a search.

    Thanks Walliebee. I am intending to do a mite count and do understand if the threshold indicates to medicate. My question is specific though to whether colonies in regression process to foundation-less frames should be treated routinely until next year when I can complete the regression process. This may mean I would medicate regardless of low mite counts. I did see on Michael Bush's site that he did medicate while in this regression process. Also I know very little about oxalic acid. Could you forward me information on application procedures?

    Thanks
    Marcy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
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    5,018

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    I would let it ride, but that's just me. Seems like it would be counter productive to the process and you will throw things off balance, pH, microbiological population, even with so called soft treatments.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    As far as screened bottom boards, I suggest you check out the Bee Informed National Survey. http://beeinformed.org/wp-content/up...-board-use.pdf

    The data available shows no significant difference.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,437

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Using a SBB successfully will depend on how far you are from the coast. Fog = moisture & moisture and bees are not a good combination. If you are determined to pursue OA as a treatment check with Tony Jadczak on how it should be applied. I recall he had information on how OA is used in Australia. OA has not been approved as a miticide in the United States. That may or may not be important to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Thank you as it is always good to look at the data.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,492

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    > My question is specific though to whether colonies in regression process to foundation-less frames should be treated routinely until next year when I can complete the regression process.

    If you can't quantify the problem, how would you know if the treatment is even working?

    > This may mean I would medicate regardless of low mite counts.

    Which would accomplish what?

    > I did see on Michael Bush's site that he did medicate while in this regression process.

    I would not say that. I would say I ran several simultaneous experiments from not treating at all, treating with FGMO and treating with Oxalic acid vapor. Some were not treated at all. Some were treated with Oxalic acid vapor at the end of the season to measure the success of the small cell. Some were treated with FGMO during the season and then with Oxalic acid vapor at the end of the season to measure the success of the FGMO. I was still evaluating if small cell would even work.

    > Also I know very little about oxalic acid. Could you forward me information on application procedures?

    http://talkingstick.me/bees/oxalic-acid-evaporator/

    The problem is in order to have healthy treatment free bees you need a healthy microbial ecology in the hive which the oxalic will totally disrupt.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmorethan.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
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    17

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    Using a SBB successfully will depend on how far you are from the coast. Fog = moisture & moisture and bees are not a good combination. If you are determined to pursue OA as a treatment check with Tony Jadczak on how it should be applied. I recall he had information on how OA is used in Australia. OA has not been approved as a miticide in the United States. That may or may not be important to you.
    Hi Andrew

    Always great to hear from a fellow Mainer
    I am in Brunswick on tidal water so yes I have moisture. I have been keeping bees here since 2004 and have always used solid wood bottom boards. I admit I rarely do mite counts but when examined my count has always been low. I used to medicate each fall but noticed I had a very strong colony of bees that has made it through unmedicated and they do seem to be reisistant so I began making splits and now have more very strong colonies. I have been regressing these bees to be on foundationless frames and all is going well. I would like to get out of the medication loop so this is why I am asking about the SBB as it helps keep mite loads down. I only have one hive on a SBB now. I would think the SBB would help rid a hive of moisture but I am unclear what your advice would be on this. I have not noticed a moisture problem in the past with wood bottom boards.

    As far as OA is concerned I am not certain if I should be pursuing this or not. I have noticed on some of the forums and Michael Bush's site that people with a mite problem that are also interested in alternative and natural methods seem to use this approach. I assume this is because it is considered a "soft" chemical. My main question/concern is whether or not to medicate this first winter of regressing the hives to foundationless frames.

    Thanks for directing me to Tony!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Brunswick, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Hello Michael

    Thank you for the clarification concerning your experiments.

    I am headed out to do current mite counts on my colonies, and am running various experiments on each one. Generally though I am regressing all but one at the moment which is the original hive of what appear to be resistant bees. I would hate to lose any of these colonies of course through the winter, but do feel heading to natural disease resistance on foundationless frames is the way to go.

    I found the link to your "More Than Just Bees" page http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmorethan.htm fascinating. It may be worth mentioning here that I am an Ayurvedic Health care practitioner. This practice is holistic and relies on the natural balance of the human body ie. putting anything in your body may cause an imbalance and might manifest into a disease.

    I suppose I am honing in on my own question of when to stop medicating these bees. I am looking for opinions from those that have regressed. I would say I only have 5- 7 frames of foundationless going in each colony. The comb is lovely and straight and they are very strong hives just choked full of bees and behaving as the original strong colony that I split them from. I am trying to get the opinions of people here to not medicate this season and just bear the losses? or is there a "soft" treatment that does make sense to try one that would support them through this first winter season on some naturally drawn comb and some standard size cell comb in the hopes of mitigating the losses.

    All advice appreciated.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    2,437

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    Tony (Maine's State Apiarist) will tell you that you have to treat - I diverge from his path in that I believe you must both have and follow a plan for dealing with mites. My personal belief is that regression won't help you with mites but that natural comb isn't going to hurt so if that is what you want to do - go for it! I bought this summer 20 foundationless frames but I found it too late in the summer to get them drawn out. So I'll wait until next spring to give them a try.

    I am located in Jonesboro - just shy of Machias - and have a tidal river as one boundary of my property. Yesterday the fog lasted here until after noon. As you may have seen in another of my posts, I use the Mike Palmer 2x4 style hive stand so my hives were exposed to the fog all morning long. A SBB would have my bees too wet for my liking.

    I'm glad to see another Mainer with some experience doing what they can to minimize treatments. I have bees that I treat and bees that I don't - I'm relying on genetics for the ones I don't treat and thus far this summer monthly alcohol washes on one hive show Varroa not to be a problem. Russians didn't work out for me, so I'm pleased that this stock is looking promising.

    I am a long time member of MOFGA though I am not sold on the safety of USDA organic farming. I keep bees on two organically managed properties and on one had to do some take steps to keep the bees from exposure to pesticides.

    I am also an At-Large Board member of the MSBA if I can help you with anything on that front.

    And yes Michael I am the person who was seated next to you at last year's meeting - I was in the midst of some health issues (which I didn't know at the time) and was even more quiet and reserved than I usually am.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Maine Bee keep hive regression in process. Should I medicate this fall?

    >or is there a "soft" treatment that does make sense to try

    The problem with all of the soft treatments is they kill microbes. Some with differing mechanisms, but all of them do. The organic acids (formic, oxalic, acetic, lactic etc.) shift the pH of the hive dramatically and kill off microbe because of the environment they are now in. The essential oils (which would include thymol, wintergreen, neem, tea tree, lemongrass etc.) are all antimicrobials and will kill off a broad spectrum of fungi, bacteria and yeasts. The essential oils will also confuse the communication of the hive by interfering with the sense of smell and sometimes like in the case of lemongrass essential oil, they actually mimic some of the communication of the hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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