Simple (I think) Question
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Westchester, NY

    Default Simple (I think) Question

    First year BK with two hives, A has two deeps and med honey super still on and B is a 4x4x4 Nuc. Both seem to be doing really well this late in the season. Lots of bees out and about during these very mild NY December days.

    Any - the question - do people typically treat in the spring? I treated with Apivar late this year (long story) and did see hundreds, if not thousands of dead mites at the entrance reducer.

    Does the mild fall/winter change the answer to that question because bees will probably be rearing brood a lot sooner, if not already?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Yuba County, California, USA

    Default Re: Simple (I think) Question

    That is a matter of personal management practice, some people do, some don't, others don't treat at all, and those that do treat, have many options of what to treat with.

    If you do decide to treat in the spring, the warmer winter might change the timing of said treatments.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Bellflower, Montgomery,Mo,USA

    Default Re: Simple (I think) Question

    I'm planning on using OAD for the first time near 12/21. The presenter at our club last month said he's been doing that for the last 4 years with good success. That being said someone posted recently that this year due to the later warmth this year the girls were brooding up already. That means treatment may not get all of the mites.

    Information that I've read says queen typically lays in early December and again in late January anyway. So I'd guess that idea that the colony hibernates is just an old beekeepers tale.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Simple (I think) Question

    How about an OAV a week from now. It may not get all the mites if the bees are brooding but it will get a lot and not hurt any brood.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA

    Default Re: Simple (I think) Question

    Oxalic acid, using either method, is terrific for a treatment right about now in NY.

    It's a one-shot tretament, so easy to do.

    When the bees are broodless (as they likely are here in NY, notwithstanding this brief burst of warm weather which will be over by the end of the week) all of the mites are phoretic, and thus susceptible to the treatment. (OA doesn't cross the cappings barrier where mites are predating the pupae). This means that only at this season you will be able to kill a very high percentage (some say in the 90% range) of all the mites in the hive in one treatment.

    This leaves the hive nearly mite free during the cold winter when the bees are stressed. And in the north where there is little flying and drifting for months, the hives stay mite free for a really long time (compared to summer, of course.)

    But it has the other benefit that when the bees resume brooding in January and February (yes, even up here they do that in winter) the first rounds of brood are born into a very low- to no-mite environment and are raised strong and healthy without that parasitization. These early rounds of brood are the going to be the nurse bees for your production bees/new queen cells, so you'll get the continued benefit far into next spring in terms of overall vigor and lack of exposure to the mite-vector viruses.

    The larvae you may be planning to using for making increase may not need to be treated either, so you'll get the long-term benefit of having those queens not being exposed when very young to treatment chemicals, either.

    And finally by reducing the mite load so severely now, you will likely see that next spring/early summer when you might otherwise be pushing thresholds for another round of treatment, that your mite numbers are still low enough to delay, or skip a round of treatment. (Never assume this, keep testing all the time, to verify the levels.)

    In some ways I think treatment with OA at this time of year is the most important one I do all year. My year-long mite program hinges on this. The rest of the year I just have to keep things suppressed - and it's easier to do when the bees emerge from winter with very, very low mite levels.

    If you choose to do OA vaporization please don't skimp on personal protective gear, including the proper respirator. OA dribble requires the opening of the hive and squirting a measured amount of OA/sugar solution on the bees. OAV is done w/o opening up the hives. Both can be done in quite cool temps: even below freezing for OA dribble, and down to about 37F for vaporization.


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Clinton, Iowa

    Default Re: Simple (I think) Question

    I think (and our state apiarist agrees), that if you knock down the mites after supers are pulled (mid-August or early September) and follow it up with OAV in December that you can likely avoid doing any spring treatment when the timing of supering makes that somewhat difficult. I haven't be at this long, but that was my plan after struggling with mites this year and it was echoed in the wintering talk our state apiarist made in September. The key is keeping in front of them, regardless of your control method. Because getting back in front of them is time consuming and a big drain on resources. I'll be interested to see how my bees look coming out of winter this year. A few are going into it with some pretty big clusters and presumably very low mite loads compared to what they had last year.

    I did MAQS in early September this year and just did OAV the last couple of weeks while making my rounds. Varying amounts of mites from the MAQS... surprisingly small from one hive in particular (which I feel is the one that deals best with varroa). Really really high from my Italian package bees (a few generations removed). But they all seem to winter well if they have food and manageable mite numbers. Will requeen in the spring for the ones that had a lot of mites. May use them to make up mating nucs. Haven't fully decided yet... but that's what winter is for, right? Making equipment and fanciful plans.

    The hives that did well with mites had very nice brood patterns. The ones that didn't do very well looked bad enough that I sent samples for EFB testing. It came back negative. Once the mites were under control the pattern cleared right up.

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