Mites finally got me
Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 98
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Mites finally got me

    Went out to check both my yards today as we've had a bit of exceptionally nice weather and discovered I have lost 23 out of 30 hives. The bees were all dead in their cluster and they were over/near patches of brood which basically didn't hatch and those that did didn't emerge, just little holes in the cap, some had their tongues out of the hole. I brushed the clusters off with a goose feather and checked the comb under them in the sun and saw mite feces. All hives still had approximately 65 to 100 pounds of honey on them and plenty of pollen. Last year was the best year I've ever had as far as honey harvest and booming strong hives all season even going into winter. It was the first year I haven't done a mite count in the fall also. I usually don't treat and when I have treated it's with OAV only. I've never noticed any diseases other than mites in my apiary and if the bees were suffering from something I would treat to rectify the situation, but I've been lucky. The end of my 5th season is my worst season. One thing that was interesting was the size of every dead cluster was approximately the same size, about the size of a nice grapefruit. I'll be treating them in the fall with an OAV regiment from now on. I just closed up the entrances of the dead hives after cleaning them out so I could store the honey in the field until early - mid March.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Lebanon Pa
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    bummmmmmeeeerrrrrrrrr

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,625

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    Went out to check both my yards today as we've had a bit of exceptionally nice weather and discovered I have lost 23 out of 30 hives...... Last year was the best year I've ever had as far as honey harvest and booming strong hives all season even going into winter. It was the first year I haven't done a mite count in the fall also. I usually don't treat and when I have treated it's with OAV only. I've never noticed any diseases other than mites in my apiary and if the bees were suffering from something I would treat to rectify the situation, but I've been lucky. The end of my 5th season is my worst season. One thing that was interesting was the size of every dead cluster was approximately the same size, about the size of a nice grapefruit. I'll be treating them in the fall with an OAV regiment from now on. I just closed up the entrances of the dead hives after cleaning them out so I could store the honey in the field until early - mid March.
    sorry to hear this. goes to show if you stumble just a bit with mites, nearly the whole thing blows up on you.
    there is no room for error anymore.
    seems the best booming honey makers fall to mites as fast or faster than other mediocre colonies. have had it happen to me.
    what can you do but pick up the pieces and re populate those hives, and then set some new goals for the upcoming season. the new fall treatment plan you mentioned sounds like a solid one. maybe a spring treatment in those survivors too if show a need?
    hang in there.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    721

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    My best honey producer this year had the highest mite drop and population during the late fall OAV. With the warm winter, all hives will get a very early spring or late winter based on temps OAV. Mites should be brutal this year in my area. I'm not going to let them get a foot hold in spring. Start with as few as possible and monitor is the plan for 2016.
    Dan Boylan, When in doubt "It's mites".

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    That's heartbreaking. I'd be devastated with those losses. I am paranoid about varroa mites & know that they will kill my hives if I screw up. I can easily do that too! I only have 7 hives but treated in July, August, & September with single pad MAQS 4-6 weeks apart. In spite of that, when I treated with OAV a couple of days before Thanksgiving, my dead mite counts after 48 hrs. surprised me. I treated again 10 days later & 48 hr. dead mite counts were much, much better. I checked today & all 7 were alive & well----so far. Only 2 months more to go before I can breathe a sigh of relief & start worrying about swarming. All hives have sugar bricks on them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    3,388

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Always be wary of mites, and assume you have a problem. What happened to you is a classic case of parasitic mite syndrome -- your booming hives with lots of brood raise a nice crop of mites along with that brood, and when the hive population fell off in the late summer the mites infested the majority of the winter bees, and therefore they died off rapidly as soon as it got cold.

    This year I treated every hive in August (including the hygenic ones) with formic acid just as soon as the temps dropped into the treatment range. Got a decent drop, less than I expected, but we had a pollen and nectar dearth last year and only one out of ten hives had much brood, and that was mostly drones. The queens started laying a week or two after the treatment and all the hives did quite well in the fall, had to feed all of them but two, one overwintered and the other a fairly aggressive swarm, but the rest were all first year hives.

    Had all six at my house doing orientation/cleansing flights at some time or other today, nice big fat healthy looking bees, so I don't think I have mite problems this spring. Depending on mite drop, I may treat this spring, otherwise if all looks OK they will get a formic acid treatment in August again.

    Mites are sneaky -- I'd do counts or look closely for signs of viral diseases rather than assume a booming hive has a low mite count, as quite the opposite can be true. Crawling bees, distorted wings, or bees with "k-wing" indicate a strong need to treat for mites well before winter bees are being raised, it won't help you a bit to wait until winter, you will have a hive full of weak bees that will die of as soon as it gets cold.

    Peter

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,967

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Did you check the living colonies? Were any of them healthy indicating resistance genetics?
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Chatham, Va. USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    I gave mine an OAV treatment today. Saw some weak looking bees crawling around on th eground in front of the hive and after inspection saw they had mites. Almost made me sick. I treated in the fall and thought I was good to go but not so. It is going to be in the upper 50s low 60s this week so I plan to hit them again before it cools off. Hope I caught it in time.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Bedford, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Sorry to hear. Hopefully the rest will come through and you can build back up quickly. Do you raise your own queens?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    13,203

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Did you check the living colonies? Were any of them healthy indicating resistance genetics?
    That was my thought. He made a killing on the hives that couldn't survive so why shed the tears? Work with the 7 that are left. Look on the good side, 23 hives took out a lot of mites. I assume you weren't trying to overwinter grapefruit size colonies.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    I can't imagine how you feel!!

    63 degrees and sunny today, with no wind, my two hives were very active. I'm taking down some sugar tomorrow JIC. I've been TF for 8 years and today, looked very closely around and at the bees flying around and everyone seemed happy and healthy. Reading this post and the comments just made me decide to treat with OA tomorrow. How long can blind or beginners luck last?

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,518

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    That stinks. Sorry to hear it. Back when the mites first hit I lost 20 out of 25.....I know how that feels; a sick feeling in your stomach.

    Hopefully you can make some splits with the survivors and build back up.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Did you check the living colonies? Were any of them healthy indicating resistance genetics?
    Honestly Fusion I was going to post this in the TF section but thought it was better posting it in the general forum. I was mostly TF and all my bees were basically local survivor stock. I've hoped for the TF miracle to happen and bred from my best stock but my thoughts that after 5 years I had some good stock and I didn't really have to worry came back and bit me in a harsh way. I'm upset at myself mostly for letting this happen, however, I'm sitting on 1500+ # of honey, I can scrape all my frames (450+ lol) cull any wonky comb, etc. etc. I've already made several calls to people I've done cutouts for in the past and am going to be a swarm trap setting lunatic around town, already planning on when to do splits, raise queens, etc. What to do with all the honey until spring is whats honestly, in my opinion, my biggest problem. Crazy thing is I have the resources to stock 20 - 10 frame double deep hives, just need bees I'll get them, but I could kick myself. I saw maybe 1 or 2 K wing crawlers in each yard and never any in the hives, although I wasn't really looking for it.

    It's one of those things people say, let this be a lesson. I hope you all don't have to go through this ever, but honestly I'm not that bad off other than not having any honey to sell next year.

    Cheers
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,013

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    sorry to hear about your losses rwurster. what strain of bee are you working with, and did you harvest all of the honey and feed back up to winter weight?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,967

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Reading between the lines a bit, but it sounds like you have enough honey to get 20+ good size colonies off the ground. Is there any chance you could get some good queens and split your remaining bees? Or alternatively, raise some queens and do some splits? Between splits and swarms, you should be able to get back up to 30 colonies this summer sometime.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    3,388

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Bees can lose resistance to mites as the queens get replaced and mate with whatever drones are available, so even if you think you are successfully treatment free I would suggest doing mite counts. That way if you do suddenly get higher mite loads than your bees can handle you can do something before they crash on you.

    I don't consider formic or oxalic acids to be harmful chemicals in the hive. Obviously they are nasty, but neither accumulates and neither will contaminate honey or wax. I would prefer not to treat at all, but I'm not going to make a religion out of it and lose most of my hives as a result.

    Peter

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    915

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    That was my thought. He made a killing on the hives that couldn't survive so why shed the tears? Work with the 7 that are left. Look on the good side, 23 hives took out a lot of mites. I assume you weren't trying to overwinter grapefruit size colonies.
    Why do you even post? Do you remember Thumpers mother's saying? "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all." I think that is appropriate in this instance.
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    9,898

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    Quote Originally Posted by rwurster View Post
    I've already made several calls to people I've done cutouts for in the past and am going to be a swarm trap setting lunatic around town, already planning on when to do splits, raise queens, etc.
    Sounds like you are getting straight back up, great positive attitude. All the best!

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    2,411

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    rwurster - as has been said, one bright side is your remaining 7 hives might have some good resistant genetics. Maybe you could build on those. On another note, did you pop any under the microscope and check for nosema? Just curious whether that could have been a factor as well.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,013

    Default Re: Mites finally got me

    looks like you posted the answers to my questions as i was typing them rwurster. did you have your hives in more than one yard, and if so was there a difference in losses between yards? are there other apiaries nearby? best of luck to you with building back up!
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •