A Sad Week for Pooh Bear
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  1. #1
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    Default A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Yes it's been a rough week for Pooh Bear; the second year hobby beekeeper. This week he discovered that he lost both his hives. What can I say - I am gutted.

    After treating the hives in August September with OAV and ensuring that they had ample stores - they did. I pretty much left them alone for the last 4 weeks and didn't do any inspections. They seemed all set up for winter so I left them alone to propolize, winterize etc. Yesterday noticing a lack of activity at the entrance (no guard bees) I found one hive completely empty of bees and honey. Plenty of pollen stores, no signs of any brood disease but no bees just yellow jackets and the odd damage from SHBs that had infiltrated. All of the honey had been raised and there were signs of robbing. There was still some capped brood, some partially open, some with bees with tongues sticking out. Couldnt really tell if there was mite poop on stuff as it was getting dark when I was inspecting. I suspected it fell victim to a massive robbing from yellow jackets but now I'm not so sure. This hive got 3 OAV treatments

    The other hive still has a handful of bees but they are surely gone. I can't see how they could prossibly keep themselves warm when the temp drops below freezing. It still has lots of stores and honey and has not been decimated like the other hive. What I did notice of the tray beneath the SBB was a huge amount of dead mites. A lot more than I ever killed with the OAV treatments of which this hive received 4. I didn't do any mite counts but with that many treatments I thought I was in good shape. I've done everything possible to keep these bees healthy to get thru the winter and now they are gone. I'm a beekeeper without bees and thata sad. Going to have to figure out what to do with all these frames and honey (can't use since treated) and eventually figure out what to do about getting some new bees. Donations are welcome

    This weekend I'll do some more investigative work so if anyone has any tips on what I should look for I would appreciate it. Just as an FYI, both hives seemed fine last week at least from visual outside appearances

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    What shape were the colonies in when you treated? They could have already been to far gone for the treatment to save them.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  4. #3
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    I didn't do a mite count so don't have that to share. All I can say was that both were booming and at least with the hive with the SBB was able to notice a reduction in the mite kills after every treatment. I treated with OAV from the top of the hive so am wondering whether that was a factor.

    Next year perhaps I'll start earlier and for longer

  5. #4
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Outside observation is not a successful strategy for mite assessment. You need to count. I do sticky boards and I run them for 72 hours, count the mites, and divide by three to get the average daily. If you do this each week you can see the numbers ramping up and actually time your mite treatment so you are infront of the economic impact number. Keep in mind the mites are going to roughly increase by a factor of five per every brood cycle (remember they prefer the drone brood as its incubation is shorter but there are fewer of them). So you can see how their numbers ramp pretty quickly. If you use sugar shake or alcohol wash the important thing to keep in mind is that the bees must be sampled from open active brood so the mite counts are referential to the actual numbers. Good luck with it. I lost a cut out earlier in the spring and I could lose the other hive as well. Its a tough business, what works one year may have nothing to do with the next year.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Them durn mites. This spring someone posted a link to a short talk by Randy Oliver and it made me realize what I should be doing for mite control. So this year I treated in the spring to get the number of mites as low as possible. Starting with a low mite count at the start of the season and treating as soon as the numbers start to rise before the mite overtake the hive. I also use different treatments depending on the time of year right now its the OAV.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Dan - what other treatments do you use?

    What perplexes me with this is that I know another beekeeper a few miles away that doesn't treat and hasn't lost a hive. I did treat but apparently that wasn't even enough

  8. #7
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooh Bear View Post
    What perplexes me with this is that I know another beekeeper a few miles away that doesn't treat and hasn't lost a hive. I did treat but apparently that wasn't even enough
    Where did his bees come from? How are his harvests?
    David. The way you want to keep bees is most likely at least as good as any way that I could suggest. Probably better.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    You never can tell with bees.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordak View Post
    You never can tell with bees.
    ^ Best answer for every question that has ever been asked on BeeForum.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  11. #10
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    If you see dead emerging bees with tongues out, that's a good sign of mite collapse as well, sick bees trying to emerge don't have the energy to make it.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Honey on the hive MAQS. No honey on the hive Apiguard. No honey on the hive and they are almost brood less OAV. I haven't found any bees that can survive the mites and be strong enuff for my winter. Beeweaver bees almost did it last year.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooh Bear View Post

    What perplexes me with this is that I know another beekeeper a few miles away that doesn't treat and hasn't lost a hive. I did treat but apparently that wasn't even enough
    I would get some splits from his hives and then use appropriate treatments timed with the seasons. I just came back to this board after a year or so away and am shocked at all the OAV late summer/early fall treatments going on. Last I was here this wasn't registered for mite treatment yet and it was only done during the winter broodless cycle.

    I usually only treat in Late Jul/Aug after I pull the honey supers and begin to feed--we have no fall flow here. I used Apivar this year but have historically used MAQS w/ an empty super above. Problem w/ MAQS on my timeline is that some years (like this year) you don't get a string of sub 80 F days to get the treatment on and off. Above this temp queen loss supposedly becomes more of an issue. Thinking of trying OAV this winter for the first time too. My bees do good but never seem to get as big as other hives and I suspect it is because I only treat for mites pre-fall.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooh Bear View Post
    What perplexes me with this is that I know another beekeeper a few miles away that doesn't treat and hasn't lost a hive.
    >I know a few like that too. The streak lasts for 2 years at best. Then the cold winter freezes them out
    >No bee I have brought in, most with the highest mite resistant reputations, has proven themselves able to survive mites. Don't believe the fluff.
    >There is a steep learning curve on how, when and with what to treat.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by clyderoad View Post
    No bee I have brought in, most with the highest mite resistant reputations, has proven themselves able to survive mites. Don't believe the fluff.
    My findings as well. I've bought various "mite resistant" queens early on from different breeders through the years. My first year I ignored mites with my 2 hives and they did fine. My 2nd year I played around and tried a few things and had a loss with my then 5 hives. Third year I was up to 8-9 hives and lost 2-3 but still didn't get serious. Year 4, 15 hives and went cold turkey. Lost 14 of them and the 15th superceded the queen early in the season. Having to buy 14 hives worth of bees taught me my lesson well. For those who don't have to treat or manipulate to control mites, great!, I'm seriously happy for you. If I didn't have to treat or manipulate for 20-30 hives, I'd be ramping up queen production to sell them for stupid money in small volumes. Since I've gotten serious and treat and feed going into winter my losses are negligible (-10% on 30+ hives & nucs) and easily handled by my treated and overwintered nucs.

    Chin up Pooh Bear this in nothing but a bump in the road that can be learned from. Mites are serious and by the time it's obvious, it's too late.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  16. #15
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooh Bear View Post
    Going to have to figure out what to do with all these frames and honey (can't use since treated
    Save and freeze all the comb if you are going forward and get more bees use them next year. Drawn comb and comb with honey will get new bees or a nuc off to a real good start

  17. #16
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Thanks for the input. I believe my faith in the efficacy of OAV treatments has been blown by this experience. I don't think I will rely on this again as the sole treatment method and will instead use MAQS or Apivar for late summer treatment but with OAV in reserve for winter or spring treatments. Last year I used Apivar and was able to get one hive and a mic thru the winter. A sobering experience these last few days have been

  18. #17
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    Just curious, what model vaporizer do you have and where did you get your OA ?
    To everything there is a season....

  19. #18
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    +2 on the treatment free stuff. The only time I was semi-successful was when I spit them every spring and let the mother hive die out every second year. In fact, I still have a hive from this stock and it was run of the mill package bees too. The queen stock that I bought supposedly bred up the road from me (and quite expensive) died the first year. I stopped doing the treatment free thing as I felt too bad for the bees. Don't go treatment free on my dogs and wouldn't on any livestock I may get for the retirement farm so why the bees? It's all about the use of multiple approaches--integrated pest management--to minimize any need for the use of a chemical compound.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    One thing I noticed in one of you earlier post is that you said you treated with OAV from the top. Not sure that would have had the same results as treating from the bottom. Treating from the bottom allows the gas vapor to rise through the hive and do it's work. Once it vapor has cooled and begins to fall and recrystallize I not sure it has any effect on the mites. If you treated from the top then you most likely only treated the bee in the super an didn't get a full hive treatment. Just a thought.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: A Sad Week for Pooh Bear

    I think you will have much better results vaping from the bottom board. Vaping with OA has made a huge difference in my hives health. Hitting them one more time on the next nice day.

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