Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5
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  1. #1
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    Default Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    I've run a course of treatments (5 treatments 5 days apart) across four hives and did an alcohol wash yesterday. The results weren't encouraging...

    My worst hive was at 11% and the best hive was at 3%. The other two were at 8%. I'm aware of the implications of doing OAV with brood in the hive but I was hoping for better results.

    That said what are folks opinions on next steps? I'm just west of Richmond, VA and it looks like we have good weather for formic acid starting this weekend. I'm also wondering about Apivar (I had terrible luck with it last year but I didn't test so not sure whether it worked and I got mite bombed or if it just didn't work for me) since it would run for 7 weeks and take me up until the end of September.

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    I've had absolute garbage luck with OAV. But I keep trying, even bought the ProVap (which is an awesome tool). I remain unconvinced, however.
    I don't know if it's humidity or what. Have had great luck with Apivar, though. With MAQS the results seem really hit and miss.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Davidr, did you see large mite drops after treatment. I have had this experience before and came to the conclusion that I was not getting good coverage of the inside of the hive boxes and I went and did a second regimen of treatments which brought my mite counts down to an acceptable count. I have always maintained that one needs to check for mites after the treatment regimen to prevent losing hives from mites thinking that your treatment has taken care of the problem. I sometimes treat my colonies with OAV up to 12 times per year to make sure they are low on mites. I also have a theory that the vapor has to displace the air within the hive boxes and sometimes does not get good spread in the upper boxes as most of the air leaks out downwards through the bottom board area. There is also another possibility that you are importing mites from other colonies around you. As to the use of formic I would be a little careful in temps over 80F.
    Johno

  5. #4
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    I hope someone more experienced chimes in with a good respond for you because I'm seeing the same thing you are I ran 4 rounds of oav 5 days apart on 20 hives thru july and still had 2 hives with 6% on washes and 4 hives with a 3% washes and the other 14 were under 1% but i dont think it was because the oav i think it more had to do with the hives i split with a cell after the flow(the 14 with low counts) and that all the hives with low mite counts are daughters from my good Russian queen or the daughter of the cut out I did which her mite counts have never been over 5 mites in a 300 bee wash so I think that has more do do with the low percentages on the 14 than the oav working and the hives that had a 6% after the 4 rounds of oav in the wash before I did the treatment had a 3% and the other 4 hives with the 3% just stayed even from before and after treatment I wish I would have did a wash before and after now i was planning on using Formic pro on the ones with the 6% I figure they need something that will be quick since it's getting late I would think that apivar would take to long with counts over 5% hope you get some help from someone experienced i will be following the thread

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Davidr, did you see large mite drops after treatment. I have had this experience before and came to the conclusion that I was not getting good coverage of the inside of the hive boxes and I went and did a second regimen of treatments which brought my mite counts down to an acceptable count.
    Johno
    Johno that could be part of my problem and David r-va not sure for him but I didn't seal the entrances up good or for long after treatment. But why did you think you weren't getting good coverage? do you seal up entrances after ? I guess what I'm asking is how do you get a good coverage?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Davidr, did you see large mite drops after treatment. I have had this experience before and came to the conclusion that I was not getting good coverage of the inside of the hive boxes and I went and did a second regimen of treatments which brought my mite counts down to an acceptable count. I have always maintained that one needs to check for mites after the treatment regimen to prevent losing hives from mites thinking that your treatment has taken care of the problem. I sometimes treat my colonies with OAV up to 12 times per year to make sure they are low on mites. I also have a theory that the vapor has to displace the air within the hive boxes and sometimes does not get good spread in the upper boxes as most of the air leaks out downwards through the bottom board area. There is also another possibility that you are importing mites from other colonies around you. As to the use of formic I would be a little careful in temps over 80F.
    Johno
    You raise several good points. I tested after the fourth treatment, just yesterday. I also applied the fifth treatment yesterday based upon what I was seeing.

    As far as other colonies that's interesting. My neighbor lets a beekeeper keep 7 hives in his yard. That beekeeper is very experienced and his hives were overrun with mites 2-3 weeks ago. In desperation he slapped in MAQS as some hives were at 16%. He told me that dropped his infestation levels by 93% so it looks like he got his under control. It's possible that my hives picked up more mites from his hives before/during the MAQS treatment but I'd hoped that with his coming under control and me applying regular OAV treatments these past two weeks that things would look better.

    I do see vapor coming from my bottom boards and occasionally around the towels I use to stuff the entrance. I'll pay more attention to it next time I treat. Have you found anything effective to seal the hive up better?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    A very experienced beekeeper next to you just did something that was extremely effective, yet you continue repeating something that has failed you and has been proven to be ineffective time and time again ?
    Last edited by msl; 08-15-2018 at 10:00 AM.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    A very experienced beekeeper next to you just did something that was extremely effective, yet you continue repeating something that has failed you and has been proven to be ineffective time and time again rather then learn from the example?
    I've never used MAQS but the beekeeper next door referred to it as "chemotherapy". I've also discussed it with other beekeepers who refer to it as hard on the bees - dead brood, failed/dead queens, and Randy Oliver in his review refers to the grass dying in front of the hives he tested with. Extremely effective but also pretty scary from a collateral damage standpoint. If that's the only solution I'll do it but I'm hoping to get some opinions on other treatments that might be effective. If formic is the only way to recover the hives then I'll do it this weekend.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    A very experienced beekeeper next to you just did something that was extremely effective, yet you continue repeating something that has failed you and has been proven to be ineffective time and time again ?
    what would you do on this hive if it were a nuc where Formic wasn't recommended or if you are in a place like I am where temps will be borderline 85 all week.i think a lot of people are scared to lose there queen if they only have a few hives I'd probably not even think of using Formic if I didn't have mating nuc with queens in them that need a home before winter vecause of that im gonna use formic on the ones with really high counts thay arnt nucs even tho temps will be close to highest recommended temps but then what do you do if you have a nuc and Formic isn't reccomended?

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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Oh one other point I forgot to mention. I sampled one of the hives (just had two then) a month ago and it was at .8% (3 mites, 355 bee sample) so I'm suspecting drifting/robbing as well as reduced population causing things to skyrocket. I have four hives now and I started the OAV cycle assuming that I'd see things get worse.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by mybodyisatemple76 View Post
    Johno that could be part of my problem and David r-va not sure for him but I didn't seal the entrances up good or for long after treatment. But why did you think you weren't getting good coverage? do you seal up entrances after ? I guess what I'm asking is how do you get a good coverage?
    Here's what I've been doing regarding sealing the hive up. All my hives are ratchet strapped top to bottom so the boxes are tight. I put a sheet or towel draped over the top to limit the leakage from there. With my bottom entrance hives I stuff a rag in the opening as best as possible. I definitely see leakage around that at the corners...difficult to get a good seal there. For my top entrance hives I open the bottom and vaporize from there using rags to seal both entrances.

    My vaporizer recommends 2 1/2 minutes to vaporize (and I do see complete vaporization during that time, no residue left), 2 minutes in the hive with power off and then 10 minutes with the hive remaining sealed. So in total my hives are closed up for 14 1/2 minutes when I vaporize.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I've had absolute garbage luck with OAV. But I keep trying, even bought the ProVap (which is an awesome tool). I remain unconvinced, however.
    I don't know if it's humidity or what. Have had great luck with Apivar, though. With MAQS the results seem really hit and miss.
    Hi JW, do you mean you're doing sugar or alcohol counts and still getting very high numbers? Are you monitoring mite falls? Thanks for any info.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    I sampled one of the hives (just had two then) a month ago
    (5 treatments 5 days apart) across four hives
    I am having trouble flowing your time line.
    were did the other 2 hives come form? and if you had 0.8 at 30 days why start treatments 5 days later?

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Davidr when I vaporize I want to see the vapor coming out of the top as well as the bottom of the hives then I know that the vapor is covering most of the inside of the boxes. Some guys are making a shim and using their pan vaporizers from the top however with my type I just vaporize from a 1/4" hole above the second brood box. Now the problem with formic acid is that you could lose queens and bees as temperature is important among other things. I gave up on formic as the results were never consistent. You can do another round of treatments with OA as the OAV does not seem to effect the colony except with the pan type you could fry a few bees. When you have completed a round of treatments always check for mites even if it is from a sticky board after your last treatment. But it is always possible to get re infested from neighboring hives.
    Johno

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    I use full-sized Bounty paper towels to close up my bottom entrance around the Varrox wand.

    It takes five towels for 10-frames hives and four for 8-frame hives.

    In a 10-frame stack, a single towel covers the stalk of the wand, and the other two pairs are on either side of it. Having a single towel around the stalk area allows me to withdraw the wand with minimal leakage of the "vapors" before the 10 min. closed-in period. It's a bit trickier to do that cleanly on 8-frame equipment.

    SBB above solid boards and all slots taped shut. Upper entrance (a 1" diameter hole in a shim) plugged with a plastic plug. Any noticeable leaking between boxes is taped shut on the fly. 3-M Original Blue Painter's tape is my stickum of choice.

    If you've still got high numbers, slap on some MAQS/Formic Pro as soon as you have the temps for it. Low temps (within the max temp range) are the key to queen safety IMO. You can even use a half dose to knock 'em down for now and repeat a few weeks later.

    As much as I like and depend on OAV, I don't think an endless series of treatments is a good idea. Four, or maybe five, and I give it a rest and will look for something else as a stop-gap.

    Right now, if you've got the low-80s (max daily high) temps for it, MAQS/Formic Pro is a better choice for treating than OAV because it gets the mites under the cappings, can be used without regard for harvestable supers being on the hive, and as a bonus it will whack down any tracheal mites that have sneaked into your hives under the cover of the Varroa-hysteria. And it only takes a week.

    Just make sure to follow the directions exactly, including how much packaging is to be removed (hint: not as much as people sometimes think) before placing the slabs. And of course follow the ventilation requirements to the letter. Your bees may not be happy for a few days, but think of their long-term health, not their short-term grumpiness. Be sure to confirm queenrightness a week or so after treatment ends. (Don't wait until queens are hard to find/raise.) Be sure to confirm lower mites numbers, as well.

    But don't consider even a well-timed MAQS as the end of your treatment-needs. You need to keep monitoring, and if necessary treating from now until Christmas. From mid-Fall onward (when the queen risk of using MAQS is heightened by the difficulty of discovering and remedying any queen loss due to MAQS increases) I use OAV, as needed. Ending up with the Most Important Treatment of the Entire Year: the broodless one after the Solstice. Getting that one done right on time sets you up for a much easier time of it next season, particularly if you are in the north where your bees will be confined to your apiary from December through most of March. Think of it - that's almost a third of the year when your bees will essentially have a holiday from mites and the troubles they bring. Priceless!

    Nancy

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    I am having trouble flowing your time line.
    were did the other 2 hives come form? and if you had 0.8 at 30 days why start treatments 5 days later?
    Yup, I wasn't very clear. A month ago I had two hives. A local beekeeper was retiring to Florida and I acquired two more hives from him so I went from 2 to 4 right after I took my first sample. Although I was at .8 I felt like two things pushed me to go ahead and treat...

    1) This was my first time doing an alcohol wash on my own. I've read, watched youtube, talked with folks, and been mentored in it but had never done it before. Coupled with the factor below I thought it was prudent to start a treatment regardless.

    2) Previously I've lost hives to mites as colonies around me collapsed. The past two years I've had other folks hives collapse around mine and that's usually resulted in losses of my own several months later as bees drift, rob, etc. I'm learning so based on that experience, given the mite load next door and the likelihood of hives failing, I thought it was prudent to run a course of treatments somewhat in parallel with what he was doing. In some regard, view the hives as the "same" yard in terms of treatments but I started about a week later due to travel/life etc. I went with OAV because the weather wasn't great for MAQS (temp's forecasted in the high to mid 90's and I wanted something with less side effects.

    Hope that helps. I've talked with several more folks and am leaning towards applying formic this weekend. The weather isn't perfect but it's forecast to be okay for about a week and a half. Low to mid-80's for the key first three days.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    David, the weather channel has us mid to upper 80s after Friday so you may be good for Formic Pro. Really suprised mite counts are so high after 5 rounds. What kind of drops were you getting? OAV is working well so far for me but I look for drops and haven't done alcohol washes. My follow up to the OAV is Apivar which goes in two weeks from now. Last year a lot of people treated at the beginning of August and were mite crashing in early November. I'm switching it up this year, OAV first, followed by the Apivar, then another round of OAV in November after the hive goes broodless.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    but I look for drops and haven't done alcohol washes
    drops tell you your killing mites, washes tell you what the effect is, this is why I don't like drops
    Ie if you are rolling 10% on a hive with 50k bees thats around 250 mites a day emerging from the brood ... you can do a round of treatments, drop 5,000 mites and be back were you started in a mounth even tho you "saw a lot of dead mites"
    drop 8,000 and be back were you started in 2.5 mounths
    9000 and be at 10% in 3.5 months
    rather then trying to figger out if you killed 5000, 8000, or 9000... a post treatment wash showing 5%, 2%, or 1% (respectability) is easier to interpret for most and often much more acceracte


    davidr-va not challenging your disstion to treat, just wanting to under stand the processes behind it( witch is spot on in my book) helps me tailor the advice to suit you...

    I am going to go out on a limb and say the 0.8 was an off test, to pump that much OVA and be 3% or higher a month later seems off. Even with out treatment and at the high end what study's have shown for reinfection rates it would be a stretch.

    you have plenty of outher options then formic pro
    you could fly back split and OAV each side when broodless, you could OA trickle, apivar, pinch your queens and order resistant stock hit them broodless, etc

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    I use old holey wet socks to close off the entrances when I use my OAV wand.Dry they leak OAV but wet very like OAV leaking out.If you are like myself you have plenty of holey socks!!! OAV has done good for me.

  21. #20

    Default Re: Mite counts still high after OAV - 5x5

    Quote Originally Posted by davidr-va View Post
    I've run a course of treatments (5 treatments 5 days apart) across four hives and did an alcohol wash yesterday. The results weren't encouraging...
    What sort of device are you using?
    My limited experience with oav during brooding has not been consistent. At this point, I donít trust it. I do a midwinter oav when brooding is at a minimum but I also need a serious knockdown during the seasonÖ.sometimes two knockdowns.
    I use tried and true treatmentsÖ.either Apiguard or Apivar. Apiguard during high heat is disruptive but I still use it for colonies that arenít yet showing significant pms. Apivar is the least disruptive and I use it on any colonies that appear to be in any sort of distress.
    Iíve not used MAQS.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

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