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Thread: Mite count.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Baker Oregon
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    2,358

    Default Mite count.

    Well in order to better evaluate my colonies I did alcohol washes this weekend. (3/4 cup of bees, washed for 30 seconds)

    I. TBH, started spring 2012. 4 mites Production package queen. No excess production, barley survived winter 2012.
    II. Lang, started spring 2013. 0 mites Production Package queen. No excess production.
    III. Lang, re-queened summer 2013. 4 mites Olympic Wilderness Apiaries queen. No excess production
    IV. Lang, re-queened summer 2013. 7 mites Olympic Wilderness Apiaries queen. No excess production
    V. Lang, re-queened summer 2013. 6 mites Olympic Wilderness Apiaries queen. No excess production
    VI. Lang, started summer 2013. 7 mites Raised queen, Old Sol genetics. No excess production
    VII. Lang, started spring 2013. 6 mites Production Package queen. 30lb honey production.
    VIII. Lang, started late spring 2013. 5 mites Old Sol queen. No excess production
    IX. Lang, started late spring 2013. 7 mites Old Sol queen. No excess production

    I placed insulation in the top of the hive and will wrap them up in November.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,135

    Default Re: Mite count.

    Decent numbers, imo. Best wishes for wintering.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    very cool rio. i'll be doing mine soon.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    626

    Default Re: Mite count.

    Your numbers look pretty good to me!

    I did detergent washes today but I shook and reshook until I was pretty sure I got all the mites. I've never done it before so I may have missed a time shaking requirement. I had one that was really low (around 1%), another low (1.7%), one intermediate (3.5%) and two high (9.8% and 11%). The lowest one is a Minnesota Hygienic X Missouri Mutt queen (early summer split after the original queen left with a swarm) and the rest are requeened (all but the highest were splits) this August using Ferguson Buckfasts. The Buckfast with the lowest count has the runniest queen and workers but they are gentle. The intermediate count colony is my favorite, they are really gentle and not runny in the least. I also observed them chewing out mite affected larvae once during an inspection.

    All five are nucs and my hope is that I will come out of winter with two or three colonies. From the numbers it looks like that may be how it works out.

    I hope yours do well and make a lot of surplus honey for you next year!
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 10-12-2013 at 10:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Thank you, I hope for more next year as well. However as long as I have enough for personal use I am happy.
    How are you calculating the percentage?
    Best wishes for you as well.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2012
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    For the test I counted the bees in the sample so mites over bees equal x over 100. The sample I took from the last one was twice as big as it should have been so I processed it in two batches (and remember the numbers offhand). I found 11 mites in the 630 bee sample so 11 X 100 ÷ 630 = 1.7460

    Like I said, I may have done it wrong as it was my first time. I washed each sample at LEAST 6 times, until I was pretty sure if there was a mite I counted it. (I didn't want those bees to have died in vain!) All samples were taken from brood areas in the middle of the brood nest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Thank you.
    I asked the question in the wrong way, but you answered what I wanted to know. I meant to ask what the sample size was, not how to do the math.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,553

    Default Re: Mite count.

    The mite numbers sound good but your production numbers need help. Best wishes for great over winter survival and production numbers next year. Now that you have drawn comb and hives to work with, I'm sure the production numbers will rise for you.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    Thank you.
    I asked the question in the wrong way, but you answered what I wanted to know. I meant to ask what the sample size was, not how to do the math.
    LOL. Sorry! Yes, that would be simpler. (Doesn't hurt to have my math double checked though!) The nuc with the highest mite count was 381 bees and the lowest 248. The remaining two were in the mid 400 range.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Abq, NM
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    21

    Default Re: Mite count.

    Sugar roll a few weeks ago was under threshold of 8 mites per 100 bees so I didn't treat. Cut to a mite sugar roll test yesterday that was at 12 per 100 bees. Decided against Mite Away and went with sugar roll instead. I used separate containers to hold bees so that I wouldn't be shaking the same bees again. A total of seven bars were shaken, but I did not weigh the sugared bees. The container I used was a metal cooking pot with a metal screen for ventilation and to keep them from flying out. A little under 110 mite drop from this one sugar roll. This process took less than an hour to complete.

    Last edited by mountainbeek; 10-25-2013 at 01:06 PM. Reason: Image link

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    very cool rio. i'll be doing mine soon.
    Have you done yours, and if so what are the numbers?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    believe it or not i was still harvesting honey when i wrote that rio. my plan was to do a really good fall inspection after the goldenrod was finished to include mite counts, but the demands of the day job and bad luck with the weather not cooperating on my off days left me only able to get hive weights at the end of october.

    i was really hoping to get them to see if there was a relationship between mite count and winter survival in my tf yard. so far i still have 19 out of 19, but i think i have one that is dwindling based on not much cluster roar with the stethoscope compared to the rest.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Squarepeg, to bad but I certainly understand. Timing can be tough.

    Any other TF folks have mite counts for the fall? It would be nice to see the relationship of fall mite counts and winter survival, along with what genetics are involved.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mite count.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen O. View Post
    Your numbers look pretty good to me!

    I did detergent washes today but I shook and reshook until I was pretty sure I got all the mites. I've never done it before so I may have missed a time shaking requirement. I had one that was really low (around 1%), another low (1.7%), one intermediate (3.5%) and two high (9.8% and 11%). The lowest one is a Minnesota Hygienic X Missouri Mutt queen (early summer split after the original queen left with a swarm) and the rest are requeened (all but the highest were splits) this August using Ferguson Buckfasts. The Buckfast with the lowest count has the runniest queen and workers but they are gentle. The intermediate count colony is my favorite, they are really gentle and not runny in the least. I also observed them chewing out mite affected larvae once during an inspection.

    All five are nucs and my hope is that I will come out of winter with two or three colonies. From the numbers it looks like that may be how it works out.

    I hope yours do well and make a lot of surplus honey for you next year!
    Good observations! Have you been making two counts, one in spring and the other in fall? Then you would be able to measure the increase of mites.

    Swarming helps bees a lot. It is a kind of natures way in an emergency situation: imagine the situation where there were no humans on earth. If a beehive would have too many mites, bees would change the queen or search for a new location. The new queens would all mate with drones from that area. The drones would have been selected through huge mite loads in all hives. That´s why heavily infested bees change their queens often. They reckon it is a way out of the misery. With new queens they would be better of with hopefully better (selected) genes in their new offspring. And as extra plus there is pause in brood rearing.

    The hive with the highest mite load was not a split. That is why making nucs is a standard prosedure in TF beekeeping. At least in the first 10 years.

    Were the bees chewing the brood in the cell or were they pulling it out?
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Good observations! Have you been making two counts, one in spring and the other in fall? Then you would be able to measure the increase of mites.


    Swarming helps bees a lot. It is a kind of natures way in an emergency situation: imagine the situation where there were no humans on earth. If a beehive would have too many mites, bees would change the queen or search for a new location. The new queens would all mate with drones from that area. The drones would have been selected through huge mite loads in all hives. That´s why heavily infested bees change their queens often. They reckon it is a way out of the misery. With new queens they would be better of with hopefully better (selected) genes in their new offspring. And as extra plus there is pause in brood rearing.

    The hive with the highest mite load was not a split. That is why making nucs is a standard prosedure in TF beekeeping. At least in the first 10 years.

    Were the bees chewing the brood in the cell or were they pulling it out?
    Thanks! I'm trying to learn and get better at this so reading a ton, inspecting fairly often, and taking notes.

    I restarted this spring (2nd year) so the fall count was my first. I hadn't thought about doing a spring count too but that is a great recommendation. I started an overwintering spreadsheet and originally set out to do the count for that but realized the value of the information as soon as I finished the first one.

    After some reflection as to the mite counts I found, it occurred to me that I had added bees from the original hive to two of the nucs. One got significantly more bee infusions than the other and the mite counts reflected that with the second highest getting the most and the intermediate count hive getting some as well. The two nucs with the lowest mite counts were already established and didn't need any additional resources. The one with the highest count still went into winter the strongest and I didn't see mite vectored viruses showing up so it will be interesting to see how they do.

    The mite I saw being removed appeared to be chewed out. I was inspecting and saw a piece of larvae drop onto the top of the adjacent bars. When I checked it out I saw the mite on it. It happened long enough after requeening that I know it was this queen's genetics so between that and the source of the higher mite numbers likely being from donated comb and bees I have some hope for this nuc. I must admit to really rooting for them though because they are the nicest to work out of this bunch.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Mid winter report. 9/9 alive. I placed 10 lb of sugar on the top bars about 3 weeks ago mountain camp method. Today was 32 degrees out and full sun, all the colonies are taking cleansing flights. I popped the top to check last week and they had decent sized clusters and seemed to be doing well. Most were on the sugar. I can see two possibilities, they did not have enough stores or they are above the stores. I will have to wait to spring to find out.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    awesome man. maybe we're over the hump. i lost a couple of dinks earlier this winter, but the remaining 17 are humming along. my biggest concern at this point is that they are queenright.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    For doing alcohol washes what is the approximate volume of 100 bees and what mite count per 100 bees is the threshold for (1)treating, for (2)panic for (3) comfort zone ?
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    For doing alcohol washes what is the approximate volume of 100 bees and what mite count per 100 bees is the threshold for (1)treating, for (2)panic for (3) comfort zone ?
    a half cup is approx. 300 bees. threshold is one of those things that varies among sources.

    you might be interested in these:

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick...oring-methods/

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/an-i...a-mite-washer/
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Mite count.

    RiodeLobo, that is great! Do you plan to do a spring count?

    I lost the one with the second highest mite count (9.8%) but it was also the smallest cluster/weakest. The one with the highest mite count/largest cluster is doing really well so far. (Surprisingly. No evidence of viruses either but they haven't started brooding yet.) The one with the best mite count seems to be doing well but I didn't open it up when I checked the others so I am basing that on bees flying on warmer days and being able to feel the warmth from the cluster under the wool over the bars. The remaining two are in trouble with small clusters but the queens are still there so I have them in the garage to try to help them through the coldest days while I get a smaller nuc box built that should be easier for them to keep warm. If they weren't the nucs with my favorite queen and the queen with the best mite count of my Buckfasts I wouldn't go to such extreme measures. We'll see what spring brings but at this point I think I will have at least two colonies coming out of winter. If the other two make it I don't think I will get any honey off them, they will have a way to go to rebuild.

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