What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?
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  1. #1
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    Default What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I attend a rapidly expanding "hobby" beekeeper club. The overwhelming majority of its members are planning a "natural" beekeeping method. Most members are 1st or 2nd year newbees.
    In an online poll I initiated in August, 4 of 170 were anticipating using MAQS, 2 of 170 would use Oxalic, and 1 of 170 had Amitraz in the cabinet. (I am including myself in those numbers).

    One of the 4 using MAQS posted an image on our local FB group after installing the strips.
    14311368_10153874429007322_7994268667405780007_o.jpg

    I uploaded an image following my 4th sequential OAV treatment.
    14324105_1181299471943425_2630378765629839779_o.jpg

    One would think images like that would convince everyone that mite treatment is a necessity.... but, no.

    So, what actually changes peoples minds about Varroa? What evidence actually is convincing ?

    Do folks have examples of 1st year beekeepers changing course, or is the decision to be "natural" set in stone?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Good grief did they use the same bottom board for every hive and let the mites pile up?

    Either way, pretty safe to say MAQS works!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    York, York County, SC
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I attend a rapidly expanding "hobby" beekeeper club. The overwhelming majority of its members are planning a "natural" beekeeping method. Most members are 1st or 2nd year newbees.
    In an online poll I initiated in August, 4 of 170 were anticipating using MAQS, 2 of 170 would use Oxalic, and 1 of 170 had Amitraz in the cabinet. (I am including myself in those numbers).

    One of the 4 using MAQS posted an image on our local FB group after installing the strips.
    14311368_10153874429007322_7994268667405780007_o.jpg

    I uploaded an image following my 4th sequential OAV treatment.
    14324105_1181299471943425_2630378765629839779_o.jpg

    One would think images like that would convince everyone that mite treatment is a necessity.... but, no.

    So, what actually changes peoples minds about Varroa? What evidence actually is convincing ?

    Do folks have examples of 1st year beekeepers changing course, or is the decision to be "natural" set in stone?
    I approached it with the idea that if natural was possible then good. If not then, I have something for that. I also monitored using a sticky board. I have posted a few mite counts from a 72 hour run very recently. My numbers were super low before treatment. I put a new IPM board in the day I put the Apivar in. That was a week ago Saturday. I will pull that board and count again to see what effect its having. I will also start another board behind that to run a 72 hour test and see where we are each three day cycle. If my numbers go up on my seven day test I will know my treatment is working and that will cause me to adjust my thoughts on sticky boards. If they go down or remain the same I may conclude I was premature on my application (I wanted to avoid the dead out) and next spring I will continue with a au natural approach until I need to go back to treating as perscribed by a rising mite count on my sticky board or alcohol wash if I loose my faith in sticky boards.

  5. #4
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    Jun 2016
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    Denmark, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    JW,
    I too am a fairly new hobby beekeeper. I started out wanting to be completely natural/ TF. I don't think it was actually other people showing me images of their hive with mites, or talking about it, or reading about that made me
    Consider treating. It was a personal decision, that I want to keep my package bees alive that have already been treated. I think once bees rely on un natural methods to fix the mite problem they rely on it. Which most of my/ everyone's bees already do. What most influenced me was thinking about the bee population and how to keep the bees I have at this time alive. Reguardless of treatment methods I think this is the goal we should all strive for. If you buy a full ackage of bees from a large operation that treats regular basis, these bees will not survive without our intervention which could be a few things. Either re queening with a TF queen that can raise brood not dependent on mite treatment, or use treatments. In the end I thought having my hives around next spring, would be beneficial to the bees and my wallet. I want to start a sustainable apiary from these package bees that everyone says you can't do. I want to take them through our long northern winter with plenty of food and mite free and continue to grow my apiary with the bees I have. That's what made me want to treat, I want my bees to be alive in the spring. Bottom line.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Louisville, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I had trouble convincing my friend to keep up with treatments. That is, until total losses two years in a row.
    He would say: They look OK, I don't want to stress them with those treatments.

    My neighbor lost all his hives THREE years running before he got me to help with the treatments.

    So to answer the question on What actually works?
    Death.

    When the mites hit Colorado in '98-'99 I lost 20 of 24 hives. A real eye opener. A bee club friend lost 194 of 200.
    That, along with allergies, knocked me out of beekeeping for about 10 years.

    Dead hives send a powerful message. Sadly.

  7. #6
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Being an ideallist (at least in some areas) my self I know what makes me see reason - failure by my own misstakes.

  8. #7
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    Jun 2012
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    Suffolk Co, NY, USA
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    So, what actually changes peoples minds about Varroa? What evidence actually is convincing ?

    Do folks have examples of 1st year beekeepers changing course, or is the decision to be "natural" set in stone?
    I have equipment from many who bought bees every year for a good number of years and finally threw in the towel. Sadly, the story told of dead bees is one of frozen bees in winter, or contaminated environment not fit for bees or pesticide spray (from any number of sources) or CCD or horticultural outfits watering with neonics.
    I get asked by them all the time how my bees are doing . My bees are doing OK, I tell them. I treat for varroa and feed them when necessary. The looks of disapproval I get would stop a badger in it's tracks.
    Set in stone? for a great many, yes.
    Last edited by clyderoad; 09-16-2016 at 04:56 PM. Reason: grammer

  9. #8
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    So to answer the question on What actually works?
    Death.
    Unfortunately, that is so true.

    I wasn't a newbee beekeeper but about 10 years ago I tried to go the "no treatment' route, ignoring the warnings from other local beekeepers, and it ended in a disaster. Almost total losses. Sometimes painful lessons are the best teacher. No matter how many times you tell a child not to touch a hot stove, they don't really get it until they end up with burned fingers. Then they understand.

    The best you can do is warn them about what could happen. Let them know the best "new route" they should take when it does occur, and be there to help them through it.
    To everything there is a season....

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    So, what actually changes peoples minds about Varroa? What evidence actually is convincing?
    IMHO, nothing. TF is a religion for many people. Thus, facts and evidence have nothing to do with the decision.

    JMHO
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  11. #10

    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    When I was starting out, what convinced me to treat were story's here on beesource about treatment free beekeepers losing 80% of their hives. It seemed like losing that many hives would just be too expensive.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post

    One would think images like that would convince everyone that mite treatment is a necessity.... but, no.
    Pics of mites on a sticky board might not have much of an impact on a newbee. They have no history or frame of reference as to what those mite counts actually mean. If slides were presented of mite related dead out hives, with frames of dead bees scattered across the comb, it might get through to some of them. For a newbee, mites on a sticky board means little if you have no end result to link it to.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #12

    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I teach a relatively comprehensive beginning beekeeping series. We meet once a month beginning in December and running through May with a follow up session in August. Lectures on all things bee. Equipment workshop. Three sessions in a beeyard and one in a honey house. Anyone who has taken the class will probably tell you that I am obsessed with varroa. Yet I tell everyone to follow their personal philosophy.
    In our March beeyard workshop we made two splits. As nearly identical as we could. Queens from the same source. In our August workshop we do sugar rolls and address end of season concerns. The week before the August class I put an Apiguard tin in one of the March splits and a 'real sticky' sheet on the bottom board. On the day of the class I removed the sheet and counted nearly a thousand mites. I advised the students that this was only the first quarter of the treatment and estimated that there were probably a total of three thousand mites in the hive. Then we opened the sister hive and I challenged them to find any mites. No treatment...probably three thousand mites. To their credit they spotted one.
    The long and short...the lady who came to class that had started a hive with tf bees and insisted that she didn't have any mites, went home with two tins of Apiguard and a shim and promised to let me know how many mites they dropped. I've never heard back...so I'm assuming that she changed her mind.....but I got close.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  14. #13
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I present the analogy that a mite on a bee is equivalent to a large cat on a human sucking out blood and passing viruses during the exchange.
    Sometimes it works other times....
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
    OA Vaporizer. The fastest vaporizer on the market!

  15. #14
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    Mercer county pa. Usa
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I once went to inspect a women's hive because her bees kept dyeing. Her bees were infested with mites and I told her she needed to treat. She refused, and said her bees were varroa resistant and she was a organic beekeeper that blamed all her problems on the poison that everyone used around her. After a couple more years of failure she quit, but never changed her mind, that it was not mites that was the problem,but all the other people who refused to be organic like her.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Church of the divine bee.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    I believe everything worthwhile has already been said here but I must agree, Arnie's response is right on the money. I have come to believe that the TF philosophy is a good one but should ONLY be tried by experienced beekeepers. Beginners don't know the signs of a hive in trouble and by the time they recognize it, total loss is imminent.

    Treat the new beekeepers like children. No child ever has respect for fire, until they get burned by it.

  18. #17
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    Boyds, MD
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Those itty bitty red dots on a sticky board don't seem to significant. But when you show people the critters up close and personal, different story. This image is too large to post, but you can take a peek by clicking here.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ethanhogan View Post
    JW,

    . In the end I thought having my hives around next spring, would be beneficial to the bees and my wallet.
    Now that is the right attitude.
    54+ years 30 colonies Treat using OAV
    http://99-40.com

  20. #19
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Famous last words "the last time I checked them they looked really good".
    Here is a simple test anyone can do this time of year. Pull a frame of brood out of the middle of the brood nest. Do they have a "shotgun" pattern and perhaps brood side by side in all different stages, instead of a solid pattern of similar aged brood? If so, they are in trouble and their bee populations are almost certainly in decline.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  21. #20
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    Default Re: What actually works to convince Newbees to treat mites ?

    Part of the issue is we know we prefer mite-resistant bees and splits. But wishing doesn't make it so; most beginners don't source their bees that way, and don't have the skills.

    I also try the analogy --
    I establish that mites are bee ticks (Jerry Hayes -- "the size of our first attached to our neck") and ask what we do about ticks on our kids or pets -- few of us would just leave them on our kids or pets. Nor do we insist that the kids/pest remove them without our assistance.
    And even if the beekeepers are not going to remove the ticks, they need to know how many there are --beginners can at least use a sticky board, even though imperfect, 3 days each month.

    And while we are on the subject of comparisons, if the cows have grazed the field down in August, the farmer doesn't let the cows starve but instead gets them some food, even if not as good as fresh forage.
    And just this week I saw a former student -- last summer I told her if she didn't treat her bees she would lose them. (You know what happened.) I'll be telling that story.
    8 years, 8 hives

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