where do I turn in my beehive tool?
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  1. #1
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    Default where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Good News! I found a way to kill 100% of the mites.....

    I think that will about do it.
    Previous winter lost my hive that had started from a package. Purchased a nuc last summer from the person that sold me the package. That hive has died as well. It is $150 a pop is too much to kill bees when I can drowned worms for $2/doz.

    I think I am out.

    The hive had plenty of stores (didn't harvest). Then we had a late long warm up. The bees went to the top so I loaded sugar on (it was a fondant that didn't "dant" but still moist enough to hold together).
    Put more on about a month ago.

    Then suddenly they went back down (I assume to few bees to keep the nest warm) - at that point I figured they were on the edge.

    Cracked it open today (was pretty sure what was in there) and dead. Lots of bees, lots of sugar.
    Did notice a good number of short abdomen bees (look completely normal just shorter, mostly in the abdomen - seem to recall that being a sign of something, but doesn't matter much now).

    Guy I bought from treated and late (later than should have) I treated with 1/2 of a MAQs treatment. Noticed no real mite drop (I think it was like 3 mites) - so I opted to stop the treatment (i.e. not complete the other half) and use the time to feed up.

    So I think I am done.
    Most likely will be told 'it was the mites' - maybe, maybe not. Heard to many times 'the mites' - seems for every woe "it's the mites". Don't know what we would do without the mites...

    Thanks-

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Well, it probably was the mites. So if you changed just that single factor this year, it's likely you will have a very different experience.

    A too-late, one-half dose of MAQS isn't going to cut it. Season-long monitoring and on-time treatment are what it takes. Not much more than that, but nothing less, either.

    Yes, I know about all the other risks: pesticides, diseases, starvation, drought, fungi, microsporidia, moths, beetles, skunks, bears, and bad weather. I have to deal with some of them from time to time, too. But I never take my eye off the ball: it's the mites that will kill my bees faster, and more predictably, than any of those other perils. And it is the one thing that is almost completely under my control.

    Pull up your socks, order up some more bees and make up your mind you won't let some tiny little bloodsucker get the best of you this summer. If last summer was your first year, you will be very pleasantly surprised at how well your new bees do on drawn comb vs starting from scratch. Install 'em and step back. And then start a program of weekly sticky boards and/or monthly sugar rolls, preferably both. Then you won't be caught by surprise and you'll see the mite increases in plenty of time to thoroughly slap them down before they can harm your bees.

    ETA: Notwithstanding the mite issue, if I had lost multiple colonies from the same supplier, I would consider a different source. Just sayin'

    Nancy

  4. #3
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Mike
    Sorry to hear it. If you don't do the $150, buy $5 to $7 for some lemon grass oil and use the equiptment for traps. I have more faith in the package or nuc being a sure thing but it really cost you nothing now to try and catch a swarm. It is not much work and will either bee successful or not but won't cost much.
    Wishing you the best.
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #4
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    And if you do get a swarm in the trap ... you know what's coming next ... treat for mites before they have sealed brood. Give them the best start possible.

    Good luck
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  6. #5
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeJ View Post

    I think that will about do it........

    I think I am out........

    So I think I am done......

    I think .... you are frustrated, very discouraged, and feel like throwing in the towel.
    But I sense there still may still be hope that you might give it one more shot. I hope that's the case. You've gone this far, next year might be the one that works like a charm. Good advice above to follow. Finish the course .....
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #6
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Well, it probably was the mites. So if you changed just that single factor this year, it's likely you will have a very different experience.
    Nancy
    Or it wasn't...
    The sugar (which was plenty) left in the hive had a lot of bee excrement on it. But then when a bee spends 6 months in a hive I don't spank them for not being able to hold it forever (i.e. it is not unusual for me to see bee poop on the top frames after a winter).
    No, some may claim - disease, brought on by the mites no doubt...

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    A too-late, one-half dose of MAQS isn't going to cut it. Season-long monitoring and on-time treatment are what it takes. Not much more than that, but nothing less, either.
    Nancy
    Actually - I said, they guy I bought from treated.
    The sugar roll before the treatment I did showed very few mites (very low).
    After 1/2 the MAQs treatment I got (as I said) I got like 3 mite drop (don't recall - seem to remember a sugar roll at that point (believe posted on here) and got like 1 mite.

    So if it was the mite load - they loaded up over winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Yes, I know about all the other risks: pesticides, diseases, starvation, drought, fungi, microsporidia, moths, beetles, skunks, bears, and bad weather. I have to deal with some of them from time to time, too. But I never take my eye off the ball: it's the mites that will kill my bees faster, and more predictably, than any of those other perils. And it is the one thing that is almost completely under my control.
    Nancy
    Pesticide? Beetles? Bears? In winter? - this isn't some southern Cali winter

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Pull up your socks, order up some more bees and make up your mind you won't let some tiny little bloodsucker get the best of you this summer. If last summer was your first year, you will be very pleasantly surprised at how well your new bees do on drawn comb vs starting from scratch. Install 'em and step back. And then start a program of weekly sticky boards and/or monthly sugar rolls, preferably both. Then you won't be caught by surprise and you'll see the mite increases in plenty of time to thoroughly slap them down before they can harm your bees.
    Nancy
    Thank you for the reply - simply don't see how it could be mites -- but who knows (which is my point). People tend to think we know a lot more than reality checks show.

    Been keeping bees since 2009.
    As said above and in the OP - the sugar rolls showed a very low mite load.

    So - if someone doesn't test, and "it's the mites" - and someone tests, and "it's the mites".... When is it not the mites?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    ETA: Notwithstanding the mite issue, if I had lost multiple colonies from the same supplier, I would consider a different source. Just sayin'

    Nancy
    I do not plan to buy any more bees so that takes care of that (at least this summer).
    A farmer we buy hay from claimed some honey bees moved into one of his totes last fall (personally I suspect he was seeing bumblebees - but maybe not). If there alive this spring I will plan to get them.
    Neighbors down the street were/are planning to start bees - maybe wait with a few boxes sitting around

  8. #7

    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeJ View Post
    Most likely will be told 'it was the mites' - maybe, maybe not. Heard to many times 'the mites'
    Did it ever cross your mind that there might be a reason that you 'heard too many times the mites'?
    I think it is wise for you to give it up.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  9. #8
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    WEll hate to say it, but if 150$ and killing a few bees discourages you, you picked the wrong hobby anyway! all bees die.... Thats beekeeping.
    500-1000 hives mostly honey

  10. #9
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    It was the fault of the bees' keeper.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    So how how often during the summer did you monitor for mites? It sounds as if you have sticky boards (because you mentioned a mite drop) and you did a sugar roll? But only doing them only in conjunction with a late-season, half-hearted treatment isn't the same as having a robust, season-long program in place.

    But with those tools in hand, and used regularly, you have a much better chance at discovering when it isn't mites and dealing promptly with whatever problem it is.

    Case in point: last spring I started to see a brood pattern in some of my colonies that didn't look as nice as usual. Then it got worse, with some larvae not maturing and dying, slumped and discolored. Right away, I though it was EFB, but I talked to some more experienced beekeepers about it. They disagreed, and said it was more than likely PMS, instead. Which was very shocking - and upsetting - what with me being such an outspoken advocate for mite control. But I thought it wouldn't hurt to wait a bit and see if it cleared up on warmer weather while I treated for mites.

    And then I realized I was just wasting time, because I had mite count records (drops and rolls) on those colonies, some of them going back five years. The only way it could be PMS is if it happened only between Wednesday afternoons and Saturday evenings, and took the period Sunday morning through Wednesday at lunchtime off while I was sticky boarding.

    Quick run up to my bee supplier and picked up test kits for EFB which, unfortunately, were positive. But that let me deal with the right issue and not waste any more time killing mites when I really needed to kill Melissococcus plutonium instead.

    BTW, I am not in CA, but northern NY state, so we have very similar challenges in keeping bees.

    If you have been keeping bees since 2009, have they all, always died in the winter? I can see why that would be very discouraging - I doubt I would have kept at it this long with those results. But you must be more resilient, or at least more stubborn, than I. I encourage you to give it one more shot. My bees, BTW, were all cut out of the walls of one of my barns, so I am a big fan of mutt girls. So good luck with your farmer's bees.

    Nancy

  12. #11
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Sorry for your losses. I agree that many many on this site say nothing but "it's the mites". So for all the mite people you have already complained about the lack of mite checking (even though it was done). So I don't want your rude responses. I agree with gww about trying to catch swarms or what you were saying about the barn bee's. Hope the best to you with whatever you decide on.

    And remember this site has a treatment free section to keep out the naysayers that say apparently the hive in my tree when I moved in couldn't have made it 2 winters while swarming to keep from having to much winter supply. Ohh they did. How long before????
    I am a newbie but would still be glad to help.
    And again naysayers have already been rude, no more is necessary. If not trying to actually help and evaluate the situation.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?



    >> that there might be a reason that you 'heard too many times the mites'?
    Yes I have. In fact there have been long discussions on this very forum about that topic. A number agreed that the mites tend to get the blame for just about anything.

    >> picked the wrong hobby.....
    Absolutely - if the plan is to see how much I can spend on bees, I picked the wrong "hobby".
    Actually, I didn't take up beekeeping as a hobby, it was to expand on farm income - THAT was the flaw (planning on it as "income"). If I want a hobby I will choose something that takes minimal expense for maximum enjoyment and zero danger of puffing up and keeling over because a sting triggers a reaction. I didn't realize other's found beekeeping enjoyable because they got to replace dead bees???


    >> beekeeper's fault.....
    I've been on the forum 3 years longer but I'm still down by 2370 posts.


    >> Nancy:
    I'm not seeing how a sugar roll before and after a "late-season, half-hearted treatment" that shows very (maybe extremely) low mite loads will be improved by a "robust, season-long program in place."?

    Are the mites going check my record keeping - and if I don't meet their standards, kill my bees? Do mites somehow become more vicious without papers? A low count is a low count. If I do counts every week and then do one before and after a "half-hearted" treatment - the mites will love me and be nice?


    Again - as we see, "it's the mites", it doesn't matter - "it's the mites". Kind of like "it's the Russians". It doesn't appear to matter what is ever said - "it's the mites".

    So the mites killed my hive even though the tests (you know, that thing everyone always wants to know if you did --- which I did) shows a very low load. Lets see 3 mites before the test would be about a 1% load - after the test 1 mite would be 0.3% load....

    It's the mites.

  14. #13
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    Default

    I can tell instantly when my bees have PMS. They continuously nag me for more sugar water. I avoid them for about a week and the situation usually rectifies itself. Hope this helps

  15. #14
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Post some pics of your frames if you want a diagnosis. Plenty of guys here keep bees alive where you are. Occams razor tells us it was probably mites or at least mite related, there is nothing special about you or your bees that you have told us that would make us think otherwise. Maybe try a different mite sampling method. Or maybe just argue with everyone.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Maybe we should count the ways bees die. I'll start with mites that's one, nosema that's two, hey I had foulbrood last year that's three, and I lost over half my hives to foulbrood and they made a nice hot fire. If you can't take your little setback you should go fishing.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    picked the wrong hobby. Your reply was hilarious.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Mike, I am sorry you lost your hive and I understand your frustration. However, my critique will be harsh but I truly am not trying to pick on you. Under the best conditions, with treatment, 20 - 30% of all hives will die over the winter. Having one hive only is a recipe for disaster. Every beekeeper with only one hive will constantly be replacing it. Too many things can go wrong when you have only one hive. I felt the way you do a few years back and decided that if I was going to lose hives, have enough hives to be able lose 50% and still have some that are alive in spring. For me, that meant having a minimum of 6 going into the winter. I bought 3 more hives and split in June with mated queens and had 6 nucs by winter. I never bought bees again. If you decide to quit, I understand and wish you good luck.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    Mike, I am sorry you lost your hive and I understand your frustration. However, my critique will be harsh but I truly am not trying to pick on you. Under the best conditions, with treatment, 20 - 30% of all hives will die over the winter. Having one hive only is a recipe for disaster. Every beekeeper with only one hive will constantly be replacing it. Too many things can go wrong when you have only one hive. I felt the way you do a few years back and decided that if I was going to lose hives, have enough hives to be able lose 50% and still have some that are alive in spring. For me, that meant having a minimum of 6 going into the winter. I bought 3 more hives and split in June with mated queens and had 6 nucs by winter. I never bought bees again. If you decide to quit, I understand and wish you good luck.
    ��
    Totally agree with the above post, sorry for your loss.
    I'm sure I'm only beating a dead horse by bringing this up but the thing is, mites don't kill bees, they may shorten their life but they don't kill them. The viruses that the mites transmit are the problem, low mite counts are great post treatment. Question is, when did you treat? For your hive to have a fighting chance, unless you have a mite resistant strain, means low mite counts for the bees who are raising the bees that raise the winter bees. That means 2 brood cycles before the winter bees get raised your mites need to go. Unhealthy bees have a difficult time feeding larva in such a way as to raise healthy bees. Winter bees that aren't in peak condition just may die 2 weeks too soon (or 2 months), without raising enough brood to take their place or to maintain cluster temp in a cold snap. I would propose that this is a result of viruses weakening the bees who raised the winter bees, or the winter bees themselves. Unfortunately I have seen this first hand this winter. You aren't the only one to loose bees. Where you go from here is up to you, I hope you give it another go, however, plan on monitoring mites and overwintering more colonies than you hope to have. Best wishes

  20. #19
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    I am undecided on whether to respond or not. But on behalf of any future bees that you may have care of, I will.

    Administering only a half dose of the treatment and then deciding against doing more on the basis of incomplete results is not "monitoring". I monitor every single week of the year - and sometimes my numbers look like a sudden disaster in the midst of actually having low levels, and sometimes, quite unexpectedly, they look that my bees have amazingly morphed into mite-suppressing superstars. But because I always check them again the next week (sticky boards) or within weeks, if not immediately (with sugar rolls when weather permits, April through October) I can quickly sort out any unexpected results. That's why occasional, or even just seasonal, mite checks are pretty much useless, in my opinion. It's the overall trend lines which should be informing your treatment decisions. Sometimes there are just unintentional sampling errors, which will revert to the norm the next time.

    And then there's the lateness issue. I don't know what you consider late, but I will treat any month of the year if if my monitoring indicates the need. And I think the riskiest part of the whole year in the Northeast is from mid-late Sept through Thanksgiving because that's when a deadly influx of new mites can arrive due to drifting and robbing of diseased hives. You can have previously treated in August and gotten down to less than 1% levels, but up here you can be back in the weeds in a month if local conditions set you up for that. I am more likely to be treating in Sept., Oct., and/or November than at any other time of year, except for my invariable late December one-shot dose of OAV on all the hives while they are broodless.

    And then there's the MAQS product itself. Though I use it, I don't trust that it works as well as advertised, especially when using the two, half-doses method. I am all over monitoring it like white on rice, because my personal experience is that the results are not as consistent with it as with other products. I have no idea why this is so and its other excellent attributes (kills mites under cappings, and use when you have supers on) outweigh its drawbacks.

    This colony's loss may be due to a combination of lack of information, incomplete treatment, less-than-optimal product performance, but all that probably still comes down to the wretched mites.

    I apologize if you felt I was being rude and I will not keep bugging you about your bees. You can go off fishing, soon. Doesn't the season open on Easter Sunday? Need to get out before the black flies start. Good luck!

    Nancy

  21. #20
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    Default Re: where do I turn in my beehive tool?

    Nancy,
    I fully understand MikeJ's "applied half-a-treatment and then stopped." It is the very natural assumption of "linearity of response" that causes many other errors in this decidedly non-linear world. His previous low count with a sugar roll seemed to be corroborated by the half-treatment count of 1 mite (I think that's what he said, maybe 3). That pitfall is often called "confirmatin bias." Now he knows that half of a full treatment may not give half of a full response. (I can make such mistakes without even recognizing them. You, gentle reader, probably do, too.)

    My own history with bees has some interesting relationship with MikeJ's. My daughter and son-in-law kept bees in my yard for a couple of years. Third year, they relocated out of beekeeper range, and my wife and I took up the mantle in Fall, feeding the bees to keep them over winter with neither assessment nor treatment of mites. All three colonies died out. Next spring we re-established them, 2 purchases plus an incoming swarm. Halfway through the summer I counted three colonies and found it eerily familiar, remembering the previous summer having three colonies that died. In order to prevent another perfect storm, with all three dying out again, I bought some queens did some splits in summer to bring the count up to 8 or 9 (or so). Six survived to spring and we currently have a few more than that. But once again, three of the going into winter colonies died. This time, however, they weren't the only three colonies we had.

    Neither on my kids' watch nor mine have we treated for mites. I have not as yet done any formal mite count. But I expect to do both. I have an OA vaporizer in hand, along with some formic acid strips. I've been relying on some IPM techniques rather than applying anti-mite chemicals, but I have nothing against said chemicals. Hey, distilled water is toxic in large quantities, and we won't even mention di-hydrogen monoxide (oh, darn....slipped out).

    MikeJ: I actively insulated myself against total loss by multiplying colony count by 3 through queen purchase (~$40 each) and supplying boxes/frames for some 3-box nuc stacks. It worked for me, so far. It hasn't been that far, yet. We live and learn.

    Michael (another one)
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

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